‘Truly a one of a kind player and person’: Richmond Strikers hold ‘Celebration of Life’ for Lucia Bremer

Updated: Mar. 30, 2021 at 7:40 PM EDT
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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - A “Celebration of Life” memorial was created at the Richmond Strikers’ complex in Henrico for 13-year-old Lucia Bremer who was shot and killed on Friday.

A 14-year-old is charged with her murder and is being held at the Juvenile Detention Center following his arraignment.

On Monday, the soccer club announced the plan for this memorial – canceling all practices scheduled for Tuesday to allow the entire club and community to grieve.

“Soccer is family,” the Strikers said in a release. “As a family, teammates, coaches and parents experience triumphs and heartaches together. Lucia Bremer, her parents and her siblings are part of our Strikers family and their heartache is felt by our whole community. We grieve together and we rally around one another.”

Number 19 was the number Bremer sported with the Richmond Strikers. U.S. soccer organizes teams based on players’ birth years, according to Richmond Strikers’ Executive Director Jay Howell; therefore Bremer was on the 2007 Elite team.

A large number 19 balloon and the memorial around it caught Ron McKay’s eye as he was driving along Pouncey Tract Road.

“I hear so much on the radio,” he said. “It’s a horrible tragedy what happened... said I’d pull in and pay my respects.”

McKay offered a prayer Tuesday for Lucia’s family and friends during this unimaginable time.

“I just saw a picture of her; didn’t know her, didn’t know anything about her,” McKay said. “We’re all human and so I can just imagine - I’ve got a daughter.”

“They’re just devastated,” Howell said.

Howell said Lucia had been with the club since she was a little girl. She was a force to be reckoned with on the field, playing center midfield - a position demanding a lot of attention; the “heart and soul” of a team.

“You’re always thinking, and you’re always involved,” he said. “You’re always attacking, you’re always defending and always doing everything in-between as we say. She had that kind of energy where she could do that. She could go box to box.”

“It’s a hard position to play,” said Samantha Lionberger. “She did it very well.”

Lionberger played indoor soccer with Bremer at Sports Center of Richmond (SCOR), going undefeated nearly two years ago. It is why she wore their championship hat while reflecting on her memories with her fallen teammate.

“A lot of the reasons why we got a lot of goals in our indoor season was because of her; because of her assists and stuff,” Lionberger said.

Like many others, Bremer’s 13-year-old teammate described her as a leader.

“Hopeful - she always came to games with a smile on her face, even if there were teams that had beaten us before,” Lionberger added.

Meanwhile, the tribute to Bremer will not stop at sunset on Tuesday. Since Lucia means “light”, Field #1 at Striker Park will be illuminated throughout the night in memory of that bright light taken too soon.

“We wanted to keep the lights on in her honor,” Howell said.

“She was always very happy,” Lionberger said. “If you saw her smile, you would start smiling too - she was never not smiling.”

A spokesperson for the Richmond Strikers said Bremer’s team was expected to gather at the complex Tuesday night. All practices were canceled to allow the club to gather and pay respects.

One of Bremer’s coaches also stopped by to reflect on her relationship with the 13-year-old.

A message she wrote on one of the boards reads in part, “A smile so big and a light so bright. Truly a one of a kind player and person.”

Funeral arrangements have not been released to the public.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe was created by family and friends to help support the Bremers. Forty-eight hours after its creation, nearly $94,000 was raised for the family. A scholarship fund is also expected to be created with the funds leftover.

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