KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - Saturday, soccer players and spectators braved the possibility of storms for the 3rd annual soccer tournament in memory of Sam Watkins.
Watkins was a Kilgore High School student who loved the game of soccer. In December 2016, she passed away due to complications from a seizure.
Saturday, her family, friends and soccer lovers from across East Texas celebrated her memory in the third annual Play For Sam Memorial Soccer Tournament.
“It’s just exactly what it should be for her, music and soccer on her fields where she grew up reffing and playing and coaching,” said Barbara Watkins, Sam’s mother. “We love it out here.”
Watkins’ friends and family celebrated her life and love of soccer on those fields, on Saturday.
“We came out last year and we won and it was just an honor because it was for her that win was for her,” said Veronica Garcia-Juarez, a former teammate of Sam’s. “It’s the same this year, if we win it’s for her. We’re doing it for her, playing for her.”
Some players came from as far away as Paris to participate in the tournament.
“We’d like to thank the family for having us here and welcoming us with open arms and allowing us to spend the day together,” said Jonathan Hernandez, a player with F.C. Dellwood.
From rainbows to butterflies; many people said they felt Sam there today.
“I don’t know what I would’ve done if I didn’t know Sam,” said Skylar Greenberg, a referee at the tournament and a mentee of Sam’s. “She was the biggest role model I could ever ask for and she makes me push ten times more on this field, even though she’s not here.”
The tournament raises money for the scholarship fund in Sam’s name, for seniors at Kilgore High School.