Almost two years after 13-year-old Edgar Vazquez was accidentally shot dead by his friend, his family is organizing a scholarship soccer tournament in his memory.
The Edgar Vazquez Soccer Tournament takes place Saturday and Sunday at Riverside Park in Lexington. Saturday’s matches will be for teams of players ages 6-7, 8-10 and 11-13. Sunday’s action will for teams with players 14-16, 17-18 and 18 and older. Games start at 9 a.m. both days.
In October 2017, Edgar was at a friend’s house for a sleepover when his 13-year-old friend aimed a gun he thought was unloaded and shot Edgar dead. (The friend got five months in juvenile detention and 60 hours of community service after he was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter.)
In addition to memorializing Edgar and raising money for scholarships, the family hopes the tournament raises awareness about gun safety.
“It’s a day-by-day thing. It’s hard. I keep thinking he should’ve started high school. You know, what would he be doing? What would he have evolved into from middle school to high school?” Nicole Vazquez, Edgar’s mother, said in an interview at Riverside Park on Tuesday morning.
“So it’s kind of hard to see the other kids, but I do participate with things for his class. I try to help and donate for things like his class’s senior party” that will be held the year he would have graduated, Vazquez added.
The family hopes to make the soccer tournament an annual event, she said.
“I’ve been active in the Kelso Soccer Club for quite a few years, and my kids have grown up in it, especially Edgar. So when Edgar passed they had asked if they could do something to memorialize him.”
Some of the money will go towards a scholarship for a graduating Kelso High School senior as well as to the Kelso Soccer Club to help support players who can’t afford to play, Vazquez said.
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The tournament costs $70 a team with a guarantee of playing three games in a round-robin style tournament. So far, 20 teams are registered to play on eight fields. Vazquez said she hopes more people register Saturday morning.
Another big reason for the tournament is to spread awareness about gun safety, according to Vazquez.
“We didn’t have guns in our house, and I never really thought of asking when he went to other people’s houses to ask if they had guns,” she said. “Gun safety awareness is really a big issue being it’s how Edgar … you know. It was a gun safety issue; that’s why Edgar’s not here anymore.”
The Kelso Police Department donated 50 gun locks to be given out at the event. There will be a booth with flyers about safely storing guns and flyers teaching kids about gun safety, according to Vazquez.
The tournament will also have two food vendors, The Lunch Box and Kona Shaved Ice, from Vancouver. Those not playing soccer can pay $2 to participate in a Snap! Photo Booth, Bubble Bumper Ball soccer, and bouncy houses.
“It’s not just soccer. People can just stop by and visit or get a treat or check out the gun safety awareness stuff. I just think it’s more than just soccer,” Vazquez said.
She also added that any level of player can compete.
“I just want it to be fun. Edgar was fun. He was just a fun-loving kid. He would’ve had a blast here. He loves just being with everybody. He’d just hang out with everybody,” Vazquez said. “Hopefully it’s something that grows in the community and really people just have fun and look forward to it every year.”