Urso, a captain on the North Carolina men’s soccer team died early Sunday morning, August 5, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Before rushing to the hospital the 22 year-old captain was in the bar and collapsed in a stage.
An ambulance was called and he was rushed to the hospital where he died just an hour later. The initial results of an autopsy failed to determine the cause of Kirk Urso’s death. Urso had joined the Columbus Crew during the offseason between the 2011 and 2012 seasons after participating in the supplemental draft. He appeared in six games before an injury sidelined him in June.
He was expected to return to the team after he had fully recovered. Though tests are still pending, it appears that he died of a heart condition. Kirk Urso was never a member of the Philadelphia Union but several of the players and staff members on the team had connections to the player. Raymon Gaddis and Urso had grown up together and played soccer while young.
Michael Farfan, Gabriel Farfan and Amobi Okugo all played together with Urso in Bradenton. John Hackworth and Paul Rushing worked with Urso while with the U-17 United States men's national team. During Urso's time with that team, he played alongside Sheanon Williams and Zac MacMath. Though there are strong ties to some members of the Union, messages of condolence are also coming from those who did not know Urso, from fans, players and staffers all over the league and even from players and fans outside the MLS.
Urso's death was unexpected and a reminder that life is fragile. Though he had not been an active player with the Columbus Crew for several games, he was very much a part of the team. The MLS is certainly a small world and many of the players have played together, or against each other, before starting their professional careers.
It is a sad reminder that no matter how healthy someone may be, there may be unseen health problems that could appear at almost anytime. It is bittersweet to see the soccer community coming together to mourn one of its own. I am sure most fans, including me, are keeping the player's family in their thoughts and prayers.