Washington, DC, United States (4E Sports) – Former DC United and Red Bulls midfielder Shawn Kuykendall passed away Wednesday after a long bout with thymic cancer. He was 32.
Shawn was the son of Kurt Kuykendall, a former professional goalkeeper in the old North American Soccer League, and was one of three brothers to play NCAA Division I soccer at American University.
He was drafted by D.C. United in the fourth round of the MLS Supplemental Draft in 2005. He was a reserve on United’s strong squad that season, making two appearances before an offseason trade to the Red Bulls, where he played the following season before a serious knee injury prompted him to move on to a coaching career.
Kuykendall served as an assistant at his alma mater, coached a local youth team and founded his own training academy for youth players and teams in the Washington region. He also assisted with United’s network of summer camps.
Last spring, after experiencing sudden torso pains, Kuykendall learned an apple-sized tumor had lodged itself in his chest. He was diagnosed with Stage IV thymic cancer, an advanced stage which led to several rounds of painful chemotherapy.
“God has a plan,” Kuykendall told friends as his condition worsened last fall. “Live or die. I win. Will continue to fight. But can’t lose hope.”