Stanford soccer player Katie Meyer died at 22, the school announced Wednesday. Meyer, a goalkeeper and team captain, helped the Cardinal to the 2019 NCAA Division I championship.
“We are exceedingly saddened to hear about the death of Katie Meyer, a beloved, talented and respected Stanford student, athlete and Santa Clara County resident,” the statement said (via People). “The Medical Examiner-Coroner extends sincerest condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Katie Meyer.”
“Katie was a bright shining light for so many on the field and in our community,” a pair of Stanford officials, Athletic Director Bernard Muir and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole, said Wednesday in a joint statement. “There are no words to express the emptiness that we feel at this moment.”
Brubaker-Cole had revealed Monday that an unidentified student had died in an on-campus residence and that, according to police, there was “no ongoing safety threat to those on campus.”
The Stanford administrators hailed Meyer as “extraordinarily committed to everything and everyone in her world.”
Noting the availability of support resources to those on campus affected by Meyer’s death, they stated: “We can all help by checking in on friends and loved ones. Be caring to yourselves and one another. We will grieve this great loss together, and we will be here for each other.”
In Stanford’s 2019 triumph, Meyer made a pair of saves during a shootout to lead her squad to a 5-4 win over North Carolina after a scoreless draw through regulation and overtime. She drew national attention for a demonstrative celebration after her second save.
When an ESPN Twitter post on the save several months later drew some disparaging comments, Meyer tweeted: “Some tough replies under this one … but if you told my 9-year-old-gk self that ESPNFC would show a SAVE SHE MADE? I think she’d find a way to get over a few mean comments. girl power forever.”
A redshirt junior last season, Meyer helped the Cardinal reach the NCAA tournament for the 23rd time in the past 24 years. She notched a 13-6-1 record in 20 games, and her goals against average of 0.91 was fifth in the Pac-12.
Before embarking on her Stanford career, Meyer competed on the U.S. under-16 national team, and she participated in domestic camps with the U17 and U18 teams. Per her school bio, she was born in Burbank, Calif., and went to high school in nearby Thousand Oaks, where she graduated second in her class. In addition to her parents, Meyer leaves behind an older sister and a younger sister.
The tragic news sparked an outpouring of emotion and tributes from the soccer community. The National Women’s Soccer League offered its “deepest condolences,” and U.S. Soccer stated, “The thoughts and hearts of the entire U.S. Soccer Federation are with the family, friends, teammates and loved ones of Katie Meyer.”
“Your amazing heart & smile will be missed,” tweeted Lauren Sesselmann, an Olympic medal-winning former member of the Canadian national team.
Before a preseason match Wednesday, members of the NWSL’s Orlando Pride and Kansas City Current gathered together at the center circle to share a moment honoring Meyer.
“Katie was a legend on and off the field, she was a leader, and her infectious energy and smile carried over into everything she did,” the Stanford women’s basketball team, which described Meyer as “one of our biggest supporters,” said in a statement. Before a Pac-12 tournament game Thursday against Oregon State, Stanford players came onto the court wearing T-shirts with the women’s soccer team logo and wristbands adorned with Meyer’s initials and jersey number.
“We love and we miss you,” the team wrote in the statement. “Stanford is not, and will never be, the same without you.”