Aug 5, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Crew midfielder Kirk Urso died Sunday morning at a central Ohio hospital, and no cause of death has been determined, a county coroner said.
A native of Lombard, Ill., Urso was a captain on North Carolina's NCAA title-winning team last fall and for the U.S. under-17 World Cup team in 2007.
Urso, 22, was pronounced dead at 1:50 a.m. at Grant Medical Center in Columbus, Franklin County Coroner Dr. Jan Gorniak said. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
Urso played in six games this season and was sidelined by groin surgery in May. Urso was not with the team Saturday for its 1-0 loss to D.C. United in Washington, team spokesman Marco Rosa said.
Bubba Cunningham, directer of athletics at UNC, issued this statement:
“In the very brief time I spent with Kirk it became evident that he was a natural leader. His enthusiasm was contagious to all who knew him. He had a positive and inspirational impact on his team, and many other student-athletes at Carolina. Our deepest sympathy and condolences go out to Kirk’s family and friends. His teammates and fellow students are devastated by the news and we will do all we can to support them and his family in this incredibly tragic and sorrowful time.”
Urso was in his first season with the Crew. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics at UNC, and tallied academic and athletic achievements during his time there. He scored 15 goals and 24 assists in 90 games.
He said the NCAA title helped erase years of frustration for him and the other UNC seniors.
"My whole college career has been awesome, but there was something extra about this team," Urso said. "To cap it off with this is something I'm going to remember the rest of my life."