One of the casualties of the crazy violence that erupted in and around local nightclubs this summer will be kept alive in spirit by the efforts of his family, friends, coaches and several local soccer interests.
Ivy Tech student Felix Achoch, 21, was set to try out this summer for the Indy Eleven
's inaugural season squad. But early in the morning on July 22, a group attacked Achoch outside at Club Tadkaa, 4150 Lafayette Road. Suffering from massive brain injuries, Achoch died July 30. IMPD considers Achoch's unsolved killing to be a homicide caused by multiple instances of blunt force trauma to the head.
Huss Sadri a coach and manager with the Central Indiana Amateur Soccer Association
, remembers Achoch as "a very competitive and dedicated team player ... extremely humble, modest about his accomplishments, passive, non-argumentative," noting "Felix's exceptional soccer abilities earned him two critical tryouts during spring and summer of 2013: 1) Kenyan under 23 national team and 2) Indy Eleven tryouts."
Huss, along with James Cormack, a fellow club manager and Achoch fan, attended the Indy Eleven tryout session in which Achoch was scheduled to attend. Bewildered when he did not show, Huss reached out to Achoch on Facebook only to hear from Achoch's girlfriend about the attack.
"When I found out what had happened to him I was speechless. I thought how could anyone in their right mind tragically attack this defenseless young man, he can't even hurt a fly," Huss wrote in an Oct. 1 email. "It was definitely a cowardly sick attack from a bunch of worthless individuals ... They can't be human!!"
In response to the shock, the family decided to honor Achoch's spirit even as they continue to seek justice.
"It's like a robber stole our most valuable asset that cannot be replaced," his brother, Daniel Foster, wrote in an email. "Indeed, robbers did steal our most valuable asset. The day that I found out about the assault, I lost strength but I had to be strong for our entire family. It was hard breaking the news to my parents; through support from friends and the soccer community we managed to pull through.
"It was hard to come to terms that all the effort and ambitions we had for him were just getting away from us. We gathered our strength and decided that, through the Felix Achoch Sports Foundation, we would continue on with the dream he had, through which now is a precious gift from the Achoch family to our community, an organization that we hope that will reduce the tragic, senseless and very sad circumstances that led to the taking of Achoch's life.
"The investigation is still going on. What we know is: People saw what happened, even recorded the assault. But we believe they are scared or have been threatened."
Police on Tuesday said that the case is active and they continue to work new leads.
Local soccer groups - including Indy Eleven, Indiana Soccer, Central Indiana Adult Soccer Association and Soccer Salvation,
a local nonprofit that to collect and distribute soccer gear to underprivileged players in places such as Haiti - are rallying to support the foundation's creation. Established by the Achoch family in memory of Achoch, the youngest of nine siblings, the foundation aims "to promote sports and academics to the youth by providing opportunities that will help in discovering their untapped potential." The foundation is meant to help advance the idea that leveling the playing field to allow great access for less-privileged children to education and sports will help promote safer and healthier communities.
From 11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, at IUPUI's Michael A. Carroll Stadium
soccer lovers, supporters of the Achoch family and people interested in perpetuating non-violence in Indy will gather for the first annual Foot for Felix.
Three exhibition soccer matches featuring players who played with and against Achoch are planned for the free community event, plus live entertainment with Kenyan music and dance, food and refreshments. Proceeds from the event will support the creation of the Felix Achoch Sports Foundation. More information on the effort is posted at felixachochsportsfoundation.org
In addition, Soccer Salvation will host a soccer equipment donation drive
, collecting new and gently-used cleats, balls, shin guards, jerseys, shorts, socks and goalie gloves for players and teams in need of assistance.
"Felix's tragic death left a mark on each and every one of us in ways that words cannot describe," Huss wrote. He was always trying to reach for the stars and gave up a lot to follow his dreams ... "
Cormack said the tragedy underscores the fleeting nature of life.
"I think the main thing to take from this and any situation like this is: Never take life for granted," Cormack wrote. "Never leave problems or conflict unresolved because you never know if you will see someone again."
When Saturday's event arrives, he added, "I hope to see just a show of support, especially from the soccer community." Because the event was organized quickly with little-to-no budget, "it's not going to be the Super Bowl, but it's a beginning, an inaugural event that will help us raise the funds we need to finish the groundwork for the Felix Achoch Sports Foundation and pay for legal help to establish 501c(3) charitable status."
He anticipated the event would grow in the coming years.