Local soccer community mourns the loss of one of its own

Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:02pm
Staff reports

A local soccer coach was killed early Sunday morning in a car accident.

Eric Susewind, 28, died at the scene on Interstate 24 near Bell Road during a three-car crash. Susewind was set to begin his second season as an assistant women’s soccer coach at Cumberland University.

“Eric was a great player, a great coach, but most of all a great friend,” Cumberland women’s soccer coach Gavin McKinney said in a release from the school. “He has made a positive impact on me and so many kids throughout his coaching career. His personality was infectious and he made this last year at Cumberland the most enjoyable time in my coaching career. We will miss him so much and will try to make him proud in the future.”

Susewind spent five years on the men’s soccer staff at Belmont, his alma mater. As a player, he was a two-time All-Atlantic Sun Conference selection and played forward, midfielder and defender before graduating in 2007. He also played in the Premier Development League with the Nashville Metros for the 2004, 2005 and 2007 seasons and the Indiana Invaders in 2006.

The Houston native also coached in the Tennessee United Soccer Club in Hendersonville, the Tennessee Futbol Club in Franklin, the Brentwood Soccer Club and on the Tennessee ODP State staff.

“We have lost a valued member of the Belmont family in Eric Susewind,” Belmont men’s coach Earle Davidson said in a release. “Student, athlete, captain, coach, colleague, friend and family — Eric encompasses them all. We thank everyone for their support and well wishes during this difficult time. Our hearts go out to the Susewind family. Eric is loved and missed.”

According to the Metro Police Department, Susewind was driving his 2010 Nissan Versa west on I-24 at 2:20 a.m. when he struck a 1993 Ford Ranger pickup truck in the rear. After the impact, the Versa came to rest sideways in a traffic lane while the pickup truck stopped several hundred yards away on the right shoulder of the interstate.

Shortly after the Versa came to rest, it was hit on the driver’s side door by a tractor-trailer. The tractor-trailer pushed the Nissan about 100 yards. Police do not believe alcohol contributed to the crash.

The driver of the pickup truck, Juan Garcia, 20, of Nashville, received minor injuries and did not require medical transport. The driver of the tractor-trailer, Greg Sears, 58, of Kent, Ohio, was not injured. Brandt Melerine, 30, of Covington, La., who was a passenger in the sleeper compartment of the tractor-trailer, received minor injuries.

Funeral arrangements have not been made public.