Anatalia Pena, a 2018 graduate of Bloomfield High School and a standout soccer player, died in a car accident Sunday on her way back to Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., Essex News Daily reported.
She was entering her sophomore year at the school.
News of her death spurred an outpouring of grief online for the former co-captain of the girls soccer team at Bloomfield High School, where she scored 42 goals and earned 17 assists as a Bengal.
"Anatalia... you will be missed dearly. I will always remember the times we shared at games and practice. You were undeniably a superstar and you will always be. Praying that your family can find peace & strength through this difficult time. Such a huge loss. R.I.P Anatalia you will forever be in our hearts," one mourner wrote.
"Bloomfield lost a Bengal. These are the kind of news that pierce my heart. I knew her and she was such a polite and loving child. She was so sweet and kind to everyone. God bless her and I send out my sincerest condolences to the family," another woman wrote.
Her former BHS coach, Jon Aliaga, told Essex News Daily that as skillful as she was as a player, she also shined as a leader.
“She was genuine, humble and authentic. As a program, she made us into a better team. Most importantly as a person, she made us into a better family. She carried so much joy that it poured out onto the rest of us, and even though her life was cut short, she taught us so abundantly about living life with a purpose and so much love.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been started on her behalf.
Information on funeral arrangements was not immediately available.
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