Tragedy strikes Seattle Stars Women ahead of Sunday’s NWPL Final

Seattle Stars FC of the Northwest Premier League met Thursday night and decided to go forward with Sunday’s NWPL league final after the tragic death of player Haylei Hughes.

The Stars will host the Washington Timbers on Sunday July 30 at 4:45 PM at Starfire Sports Complex.

They will do so while still reeling from the loss of their player. Hughes was lost in an accident on Wednesday night at Wallace Falls. Most-recently she had featured for the Stars in their 3-0 semifinal win over Fuerza FC at French Field in Kent on July 23rd.

Hughes was much-loved and admired in her home town of Las Vegas where she excelled at multiple sports. She is being remembered online as well for her competitive spirit, kindness and strength.

The NWPL released the following article:

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Haylei Hughes (back row, first player on the right) with her Seattle Stars teammates last week in their playoff win over Fuerza FC.

BREMERTON, WA—Seattle Stars FC and the Northwest Premier League are in shock and mourning after the tragic death of player Haylei Hughes on Wednesday night. Haylei was with a group hiking at Wallace Falls in Snohomish County when reports say she fell into the water.

Haylei joined the Seattle Stars from Las Vegas, where she was a star athlete for Cimarron-Memorial High School. She was slated to be a key player with Highline Community College soccer in Des Moines this year in the NWAC.

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People gather for a vigil in memory of former Cimarron-Memorial HS student-athlete Haylei Hughes, who died in a hiking accident in Wash.

 

Seattle Stars players were told of Haylei’s passing on Thursday night while at the same time in Las Vegas many of her friends were gathering to lend each other support. The Las Vegas Review-Journal posted this story.

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Haylei Hughes (center) with Stars teammates during last week’s NWPL Semifinals win over Fuerza FC. (Rick Edelman)

Seattle Stars Women’s Head Coach Chris Wells recruited Haylei for his Highline Thunderbirds side. Wells said on Facebook:

2017_Stars_clear“Haylei was truly special in so many ways. Soccer, for sure. She loved the game more than anything and the game loved her back. She was well on the way to being the most special player I’ve ever seen at this level.”

Hughes concluded, “I’ve never been closer to a recruit in my 4 years as a college coach. She was a kid who you only wanted to help and do anything you can to help her be happy in life. Haylei will never be forgotten and always loved. She will be a part of me for the rest of my life, and for that, I am truly thankful and blessed.”

The Seattle Stars will host the Washington Timbers on Sunday July 30 at 4:45 PM at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, WA in the Northwest Premier League Championship Match. Seattle will dedicate their performance to the life and competitive spirit of Haylei Hughes.

Memories of Haylei’s life are currently being shared at the Twitter hashtag #RIPHaylei.

A Go Fund Me account has been established to assist Haylei’s family.

 Rest easy Haylei. We will always remember your beautiful smile, that big heart of yours and your fearless competitive spirit.