Today we mourn the passing of Olympia native and our Artesian teammate Austin Kelley. His family announced this morning that he was recovered in the Salmon River in Idaho after an 11 day search. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Kelley family, all of his friends and everybody that he touched during his 26 years. We loved the sacrifice that Austin made, juggling work, family, coaching and more to play for his hometown team last season. He was a natural leader and a calm presence on the field that made everybody around him play better and we looked forward to having Austin back with us this season as a captain. Everybody in the Artesians family is heartbroken by his loss and he will be greatly missed.
From Artesians goalkeeper Evan Munn, who played with and was coached by Austin:
“Thank you for all those car rides, for all those minutes on the pitch, whether it be a Sounders jersey or an Artesian’s jersey. Thank you for understanding me and everyone around you. Thank you for listening to me and thank you for allowing me to get to know you. Thank you for your knowledge and your willingness to share the beautiful game with everyone. I can’t say enough positive things about the way you impacted my soccer and the lack of judgement upon everything else in my life. That alone wraps up who you were to me.
I’ll see you some day Austin Kelley and I can’t wait to say thank you once more.
Rest in peace, brother.”
From Matt Stalnik, original Artesians player and 2015-2016 head coach:
“In such a short history of The Artesians, our club has been through so much. We have tragically lost our teammate Austin Kelley. He was recovered from Salmon River recently. When you share the field of play you form a bond beyond words. You compete, sweat and bleed for each other, and even disagree at times with one another. In the end your team is your family and I have been thankful that many of my teammates from all over have remained in contact over the years. Austin you will always be with each and every one of us every time we step on the field. Prayers with him and his family, you truly have touched so many in this life. Oly Oly Oly, Oi Oi Oi !!!!”
-We will have more from Artesians players and staff soon-