RICHMOND, Va. – Yoram Mwila, a rising senior on Virginia Commonwealth University's men's soccer team, passed away early Saturday morning from injuries he suffered in a car accident in Lusaka, Zambia. He was 21.
"As anyone in our athletic department could tell you, Yoram Mwila was an extraordinary young man," said VCU Head Men's Soccer Coach Dave Giffard. "Within our team and our VCU family he was a leader, an amazing friend and an example of what a positive attitude can do for a person and a group of people. His enthusiasm for life and for the game was infectious and I'm not sure he ever met a stranger.
"Right now our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as we mourn the passing of one of the most special people I have ever had the opportunity to meet. I know as a coach, I'm not supposed to have any favorites but Yo Yo was one of mine and to be honest he always will be. If you asked the people who knew him, they would tell you the same thing. I think that says a lot about who he was and why we all loved him so much."
"Yoram was a tremendous person and great representative of our university," added VCU Interim Director of Athletics David Benedict. "He epitomized the meaning of student-athlete and had a positive influence on so many people. This is a sad day for the VCU community, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, teammates and friends."
In two seasons at VCU, Mwila saw action in 39 matches with 37 starts, and tallied 10 goals, a pair of assists and three game-winning scores. He started all 20 games during his junior campaign in 2011, recording six goals and two assists for 14 points. As a sophomore, Mwila scored the go-ahead goal in VCU's win at James Madison on Nov. 3, 2010, which clinched the Rams' spot in the CAA Tournament for the first time since 2007.
Captain of the U-17 Zambian National team and member of the U-20 squad, Mwila joined VCU after spending his freshman season at 2009 NCAA Runner-up University of Akron. He scored three goals and handed out two assists in 20 matches for the Zips.
Mwila is the son of Benjamin Mwila and Cordelia Nkonde.
The memorial service on VCU's campus for Yoram is set for Monday, June 18th at 10 a.m. at the Pace Center.