PORTLAND, Ore. — FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges only played one season of college soccer with Kirk Urso, but he certainly made it count.
The FCD first-round SuperDraft pick in 2012 transferred from Butler University to UNC for his senior season as the starting center back for the Tar Heels 2011 National Championship squad.
After playing 90 minutes for Dallas in a hard-fought draw in Portland on Sunday afternoon, Hedges spoke a little bit on his fallen teammate, captain and friend, who passed away suddenly early Sunday morning.
“Kirk was a blue-collar player,” Hedges said, holding back tears. “Fantastic on the ball and one of the hardest-working players I ever played with. He was one of my best friends for the whole year at North Carolina. I’m still kind of in shock. I don’t know what to think.”
Hedges went on to compare Urso to one of his Dallas teammates.
“He was kind of like Daniel [Hernandez],” Hedges said. “He was smooth on the ball, and he was the field general of our team. When we needed to calm it down and keep possession, he was the guy we went to every time. He kept the ball and played some brilliant passes out of the midfield and I think he was one of the pivotal pieces of our team last year.”
Portland supporters quickly created a banner with “R.I.P Kirk Urso” displayed at the game on Sunday, which Hedges took with him after the game. Both teams also observed a moment of silence in Urso’s honor before the game.
“Still can't believe this but lost a good friend and great person today,” Hedges tweeted earlier on Sunday. “It was a privilege to play with and know you Cpt. Kirk #devastated”