Missing Cal soccer player Eloi Vasquez found dead, school confirms
California men's soccer player Eloi Vasquez passed away this past weekend in Los Angeles, the school's athletic department announced Monday.
Vasquez, 19, had just completed his first season with the Golden Bears and had a 3.35 GPA as a freshman. He disappeared after attending a party early Saturday morning at the University of Southern California.
Cal Associate Athletic Director Wesley Mallette expressed his and the school's deep mourning for their peer and teammate, saying that the entire program was heartbroken and devastated upon hearing the news of Vasquez's death.
"This is unquestionably a tremendous loss for our program and our university community," Mallette said. "He was one of our brothers. He was a family member."
Vasquez, a native of San Rafael, California, excelled at Marin Academy before making his collegiate debut for California this past August. He played in 12 games for the Golden Bears in 2014, including both of the team's NCAA Tournament games.
The Los Angeles Times reports that, according to Los Angeles Police Department officials, Vasquez was hit by a car while he was running across Interstate 10 just before 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
Cal head coach Kevin Grimes said that Vasquez was an excellent teammate who was close to everyone in the program. He was especially proud of how quickly he acclimated to the team's philosophy and team spirit.
"His impact was huge, certainly on me," Grimes said. "I really loved Eloi. Our teammates did too. I think we're grieving pretty hard right now. We're in deep shock."
California senior Alex Mangels said that his teammate bought into the team's culture almost immediately, pushing his teammates to work harder with a work ethic that was "matched by hardly anyone."
"Eloi had a way of making you laugh," Mangels said. "He brought energy to the room every time he was with us. We all saw how much he loved his family and how much he put into the game. He loved soccer and it was his passion."
Mallette said that the athletic department and the university will be ready to provide any support needed by Vasquez's family and teammates in the coming days and weeks.