Olivia Knighton, the daughter of longtime former MLS goalie Brad Knighton, died following a boating accident in South Carolina.
She was 11 years old.
The Horry County Coroner’s Office said that Knighton was in an accident near Little River, on Intracoastal Waterway, and died after she was transported to McLeod Seacoast Hospital on Wednesday, according to Boston.com.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources wrote in a Twitter thread that a 23-foot boat was carrying 12 people.
After the vessel was struck by a wake caused by another boat, nine of the 12 passengers went overboard. An 11-year-old girl, later identified as Olivia Knighton, was struck by a propeller after falling overboard, the agency continued.
The agency said that the circumstances of the accident remain under investigation. Brad Knighton, 38, posted a tribute to his daughter on Instagram, signed by himself, his wife Britney and their sons, Owen and Brooks.
“There are no words to express the depth of our profound grief and sorrow in this moment,” the note began. “Our family is still in shock at the sudden and tragic loss of our beautiful and brilliant daughter, Olivia, to an unfortunate boating accident yesterday. We are still in disbelief that her bright and pure light was taken from us so suddenly. Somehow we will get through this together as a family. Olivia loved soccer and the Revolution with all of her heart. Our family always felt your support behind us during my career. We will need you and your prayers with us now more than ever.”
Knighton’s MLS career extended from 2007-22, and in 12 of those seasons, played for the New England Revolution. Knighton retired earlier this year and became a coach on the Revolution.
“Olivia was a bright and shining light who was a beloved presence around the Revolution throughout her entire life, always bringing a warm smile and laugh to Gillette Stadium and our training facility when she would visit,” the team wrote on Instagram. “Her sudden loss leaves a profound hole in our hearts.”