By all accounts, Shawn Kuykendall was a positive, gregarious person who prided himself on faith in times of adversity and wellness. As For The Win points out in an emotional piece, he was the sort of guy who took a flexing, smiling selfie from his hospital bed after learning horrible news.
And the soccer world is remembering that positivity early this morning after Kuykendall, the former DC United and New York Red Bulls player, lost his battle with cancer at the age of 32.
His fight was well-documented through a series with the Washington Post, as well as the page he started to talk about his fight, Kuykenstrong.com. His spirit was well-noted by this paragraph in his Washington Post memorial:
“Toward the end, as the pain and medication seemed to dictate so much, Kuykendall still did his best to maintain good spirits. He sang with friends a Britney Spears song word for word, held hands and prayed with his two brothers and complimented his mother’s good looks, noting with a smile ‘that if there was a lineup for looks and fashion, I’d still outrank you.'”
Kuykendall played for DC United in 2005 and the Red Bulls in 2006 after a standout career with American University. His father played in the NASL and also at American, where Shawn’s older brother played and younger brother still plays. He was diagnosed with incurable thymic cancer eight months ago.