KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - A fundraiser for a scholarship was held Saturday in memory of Samantha Watkins. She was a Kilgore High School soccer player who died when she stopped breathing after a seizure in 2016.
Family and friends gathered for a friendly soccer tournament in Samantha’s honor.
It’s not the biggest soccer tournament around, but it has a pretty noble cause: to help out someone in continuing education. Samantha Watkins’ mother, Barbara Watkins says the money raised will go to:
“Currently a senior soccer player at Kilgore High School and then we hope to venture out because Sam was always doing something to help in the community. So we’re starting there because her passion was soccer,” Barbara said.
But Samantha wasn’t just about soccer.
“Sam loved music. That was her thing. It was always dancing and soccer. And so we have a DJ kind of keeping it small and fun event,” Barbara explained.
It attracted a lot of people who knew Samantha, like teammate Leslie Bennett, and personal soccer coach Jacob Estel.
“I played with her my freshman through junior year. Well, she passed in my junior year," Bennett said.
“I played high school soccer and club soccer and everything and Sam’s mom and my mother are actually really good friends, and her mom had contacted me and asked me if I’d do any kind of private coaching,” Estel stated.
“I have my Sam bracelet on still from like two years ago. I still wear it. I played college soccer this past season and I kept it on like my whole college season,” Bennett revealed.
“Most people out here, soccer is a big part of our lives, and it’s a way for us to kind of connect with her again,” Estel said.
“I think it’s a great cause for it. It keeps her memory alive and she loves soccer and this is like her favorite thing so she’d love it,” Bennett stated.
“She was just an absolutely incredible person and me along with a lot of other people miss her,” Estel said.
“I’m just very thankful for the community, that they show up and do this and honor her always. I really appreciate it. She was a great girl,” Barbara added.
Her friends and family hope Samantha Watkins will always be an inspiration, and therefore involved, with her community.
This is the second year for the tournament. The recipient of this year’s scholarship has not yet been announced.