Local soccer teams kick off season in memory of Nash

None of the players competing in this week’s 19th annual Michael Nash Memorial Soccer Tournament were born when the event’s namesake tragically lost his life.

The late North Myrtle Beach High graduate and soccer star died at the young age of 18 in 1993. Almost two full decades later, Nash’s spirit is kept alive in the soccer community as the school annually hosts the tournament in his name and memory.

Nash was killed in an accident while working at an amusement ride in Atlantic Beach. His shocking death ended the life of a young man that was on the verge of realizing his goal of playing collegiate soccer.

“Michael was just like any other All-American boy,” said his mother, Linda Nash-Given. “He had his good times and bad times. Toward the end of his ninth grade year, he decided that he wanted to excel in school and in soccer. He did both and really did become a model young man. He was so excited about playing his first year at the College of Charleston, but never made it.”

Nash was named the school’s top male athlete as a senior but did not win any scholarship money because soccer was not that big at the time. In his honor, the tournament raises money for soccer players following in his footsteps and hoping to follow their college dreams.

“His love for soccer is why we started this tournament. We have given out over $100,000 in scholarships to soccer players at NMB High,” Nash-Givens said. “We provide some money to every senior player each year, both boys and girls, who have been accepted to college. It was important that they be recognized for their hard work.”

The hard work begins Thursday when the tournament gets under way at North Myrtle Beach High and the fields on Highway 57. The Lady Chiefs will try to defend the title they won last year, while the boys hope to win back the crown captured by Socastee last season.

The NMB girls will face Conway at 5:30 Thursday, followed by the NMB boys vs. Waccamaw at 7 at the high school field. The Socastee girls play Carolina Forest at 5:30 followed by the Carolina Forest boys vs. St. James at the Highway 57 field.

Pool play continues Friday with four games kicking off at 5 p.m. and Saturday with three games starting at 9 a.m. at both sites. The consolation and championship games will all be held at the high school, kicking off from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday night.

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