Teammates, Friends and Classmates Remember Shane Thomas
By BRETT ABRAMS | Special to the Palisadian-Post
The tragic death of Palisades High soccer player Shane Thomas on Saturday, Aug. 15 was felt throughout the entire Palisades community. After practicing with his club team, FC Golden State, the 17-year-old collapsed, likely due to the heat. The practice was held at Ayala Park in Chino Hills, where temperatures reached 111 degrees. Players, coaches and parents spent an hour looking for Thomas before he was found collapsed in the outskirts of the park. When paramedics arrived, they were unable to revive him.
Thomas was a standout on Palisades’ varsity team. His 18 goals and six assists earned him All-City Division I recognition as a junior. After demonstrating outstanding leadership, he was set to be captain for the 2020-21 season.
“He had a very strong work ethic and fought like a bull every time he was on the field,” said Josh Davood, a former teammate. Davood, who played defense for the Dolphins, would have to compete against Thomas during team scrimmages. The two would constantly be “giving each other good competition,” and Davood will, “never forget the trash talking along with the smiles and love that came after it.”
Thomas’ illustrious athletic career earned him the respect of both teammates and opponents.
“Many soccer players and athletes, including me, will carry him with us in our hearts while we play,” Davood said.
Not only did Thomas make a difference on the field, but his presence off the field shaped the lives of his friends.
“Shane was a very sweet, caring and loving son, brother, cousin, teammate and friend,” said Vanessa Handy, a classmate and close friend of Thomas. “He was the friend that would give you money and tell you not to stress about it.”
Friends and teammates struggled to grasp the reality of Thomas’ sudden passing.
“I didn’t believe it at first, my head was saying, ‘no no no not Shane,’” Handy said.
Similarly, Davood was struck with disbelief, but when he realized the news was real, he “became incredibly sad and constantly thought about how Shane had so much more to live for.”
Jared Sierra, a close friend of Thomas, remembers his lost companion by “reminiscing on all the memories that they had together and cherishing them.”
One memory Sierra will always savor took place during the film class they shared: “I will always remember when we were doing this action film. There was one scene where he was supposed to act like he threw a punch at me and he accidentally punched my lip and I started bleeding. I couldn’t stop laughing because his facial expression was hilarious.”
Upon hearing Thomas’ death confirmed by the family, Sierra immediately started tearing up.
Many people knew of Thomas’ drive and passion to be the best soccer player he could be. Others knew of his drive and passion to be the best person he could be.
According to Sierra, Thomas is the type of person his community needs right now: “the type of person when you’re having a bad day, you know you can count on him to cheer you up.”
Editor’s note: Brett Abrams is a senior at Palisades Charter High and Sports Editor of the student newspaper, Tideline.
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