Local News

Area High School Soccer Teams Hit Field To Honor Slain Teen

Posted August 28, 2005

— Area soccer teams hit the field over the weekend for a good cause. They were playing in memory of Brittany Willis, a Wilson teenager who was kidnapped and killed last summer.

"The town was grieving," Philip Thompson said. "We as a community were just shocked by what happened."

Thompson was Willis' soccer coach. He and several others decided to organize a soccer tournament to raise money for a scholarship in her name.

"It's our humble attempt to make something good out of something very tragic," Thompson said.

Twenty-eight boys' high school soccer teams played in the tournament this weekend. Many were from the Triangle area, and some came all the way from the coast.

Organizers also held a tournament featuring girls' high school soccer teams last spring. They hope to make "The Brittany" an annual event.

"It's really wonderful to see all these teams come out and all the community come out and honor Brittany in this way," Randy Willis, Brittany's father, said.

No tournament champions were announced, and no trophies were awarded. But after each game, a game ball was given to a player who exhibited good sportsmanship.

"Something like this eases the pain," Willis said.

And it's a break, he said, the family needs. They are still waiting for the men accused of killing Brittany, who died when she was 17, to go on trial.

"It's been dragging on for way too long, and we're ready to have some closure for that as well," Willis said.

The soccer tournament, he added, was about honoring his daughter and the game she loved.

"And if she was looking down today, which I'm sure she is, she'd be delighted to see all her friends here," he said.


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