Herkimer community remembers soccer captain

Peter McAvoy

Herkimer County Community College is mourning the loss of a local soccer star. Peter McAvoy collapsed in his apartment Saturday. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, leaving his coach and soccer team saddened and shocked.

Ailton DoRosario is working out.

He's staying in shape for the upcoming season.

While he shoots and dribbles inside during the off-season, DoRosario's talents lie out on the soccer field as a defender for the Herkimer Generals.

"Soccer's everything here at Herkimer, I don't know what Herkimer would be without soccer," says DoRosario.

Herkimer has won three consecutive national titles in the NJCAA. While winning so frequently, this soccer team is finding out what it's like to lose.

"Everybody's down right now. Everybody is sad that he passed away. You know everybody's feeling it," says DoRosario.

On Saturday their captain, Peter McAvoy died.

"To be honest, I don't really know how to deal with it so far. I'm still thinking that it's like a joke that he's gonna practice like it's nothing," says DoRosario.

Flags are at half staff around the soccer field. He was a nationally recognized soccer star, leading his team to two straight national titles, being named All-American and winning national player of the year this past fall.

"I've never in my 16 years of coaching had a played who has dominated both defensively and offensively in my career," says his head coach Pepe Aragon.

"Probably like the best captain I ever had in my life. He was a great leader on and off the field," says DoRosario.

McAvoy was from Scotland, coming to the United States to play soccer. With his parents across an ocean, his coach was at his side when McAvoy died at Little Falls Hospital, being there for him just like family.

"I wanted to make sure that he had family and we are family and to be there for that. Speaking to his father, he was so relieved to hear that we were there for him," says Aragon.

On Monday night, hundreds from the Herkimer community, as well as those across campus will be coming to a vigil on the field where McAvoy played all of his home games.

McAvoy was about to sign with Pittsburgh, to play division one soccer. The results of the autopsy came back on Monday and were ruled inconclusive.