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Soccer Team Emotionally Takes Field After 2 Teammates Lost In Crash

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO ( — An Orange County soccer team emotionally took the field Saturday with the absence of two players who were killed in a crash last week.

The team, who is coached by the father one of the victims, wore shirts with a picture of Alex Sotelo and Matthew Melo — two of five victims killed in a fiery crash in Irvine.

The group was returning from Knott's Scary Farm.

"I did cry, and some of my teammates (did) too," teammate Carlos Valladares said. "And it was really hurtful, just like, not playing with them any more."

Ivan Melo, Matthew's father, decided to come back and coach the team on Saturday, saying it served as part of his therapy.

"It was pretty hard, but since all the boys were supportive with me, it made me feel better now," Melo said.

The American Youth Soccer Organization announced that two scholarships have been set up in Sotelo and Melo's names.

"The thought just hit us, like, they're not here anymore," Sandra Sotelo said. "Like, we won't see them anymore, and for (the team) to do this, it really touched the heart."

AYSO is also supporting a number of fundraisers to benefit the victims' families, which can be reached here.

You can also access funds set up for the victims' families individually, including Matthew Melo's fund, Alex Sotelo's fund, and a fund for victim Brandon Moreno.


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