GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Family and friends are heartbroken after a 16-year-old collapsed and died during soccer practice Saturday.
Michael Jones’ coach told Channel 2’s Matt Johnson the teenager was set to be a full-time starter on the soccer team at Parkview High School this coming year.
“We are all kind of stinging from this one,” Parkview soccer coach Daniel Klinect said.
Jones' empty locker is a somber reminder of his tragic death.
“He wasn’t the biggest guy on the team so he made up for that with heart and effort and he had earned himself a starting spot by the end of the year,” Klinect told Johnson.
The coach said Jones made the team as a sophomore and would have been a starter in his upcoming junior year.
“Possibly captain material. He leads by example,” Klinect said.
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Jones died Saturday in Forsyth County after collapsing at a separate club soccer practice at Windemere Park.
A coach with his Atlanta Fire United team administered CPR until firefighters arrived, but it wasn't enough.
His coach said he apparently died of cardiac arrest.
“He was in tremendous shape and for this to happen the way, cardiac arrest, my first thought, something was missed in some sort of exam or something," Klinect said.
It's unclear if Jones had any existing heart conditions.
Klinect said Jones's death could be a wake-up call in how club leagues examine players.
“There aren’t any physicals required for club soccer, and I kind of wish there were,” Klinect told Johnson.
Players will gather in the field house for a meeting Monday with the coach to talk about Jones.
The school district says grief counselors will be on hand as well.