Canton High School soccer team honors teammate killed in crash Christmas day
CANTON, Conn. (WFSB) - Rahiem Nelson was an all-state caliber soccer player who had only joined Canton this year.
His classmates and teammates paid tribute to him with a beautiful game.
Depending on who you ask, 5 months is a lot of time.
At Canton High School, it was all they had with Rahiem Nelson, a native of Jamaica who transferred to join the boys’ soccer program.
Nelson died in a car accident along with his mother on Christmas morning, shocking a team and community that embraced him from the start.
His teammates took it especially hard.
“For the short time I saw him and met him, I really, really loved him. He was really important to us - great player, great energy, and always had a smile which always kept the team aroused,” said Miles Deiulis, Canton HS Senior.
“We all came down to this turf around 10:30 at night, which is pretty late, but we all just got together and circled up just thinking about Rahiem,” said Jake Dean, Canton HS Senior.
The Warriors turned words and thoughts into action by organizing a soccer fundraiser to raise money for Rahiem’s family.
They even invited other programs to be a part.
“It could have just been the Canton kids here but they reached out to Granby and the other NCCC teams and invited them and said “hey come and play,” the Hartford kids he played with last year they wanted to be here to,” said Bill Phelps, Canton Boys’ Soccer Head Coach.
“He’s been around these guys for five months… it seems like 5 years to me. The love, I mean I can’t really put it into words. But the love that I feel here… is… outstanding,” said Jessie Judkins, Rahiem’s Stepfather.
But even with the outpouring of support, family and friends can’t help but mourn what could have been.
“He was on a track to be a collegiate player not only athletically, but the kid was incredibly smart academically. He worked so hard in both aspects and only worried about that just to give himself a better life and his mom a better life,” said Khalil Thomas, Rahiem’s cousin.
“I hear they called him “the dream” and while now he’s dreaming, I think he’s left us with a lot of memories, a lot of good memories” added Ricardo Allen, Rahiem’s brother.
On and off the pitch Rahiem Nelson was regarded as the type of student-athlete you’d want to keep forever.
But even though he was only with Canton for 5 months, he’ll be a warrior for life.
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