Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Teammates and coaches mourn soccer player Hayley Mullins

Mullins died in her home Oct. 28

Teammates and coaches mourn soccer player Hayley Mullins

Hayley Mullins, who died Oct. 28, played defense for AU's women's soccer team. 

American University soccer player Hayley Mullins will be remembered for her honesty, optimism and kindness, her coaches and teammates said.

Mullins was last enrolled at AU in the spring of 2017. She died suddenly Oct. 28 in her home in West Hartford, Connecticut. The Office of Campus Life announced Mullins’ death in a campus-wide email Oct. 31.

While at AU, Mullins was a student in the School of Communication. As a defender, Mullins appeared in 72 games during her four years with the team and served as a leader for the younger players.

“Hayley was someone the team looked to for honesty, comic relief and motivation through her ability to work hard on the field all the time,” women’s soccer head coach Anabel Hering said in an email to The Eagle. “Hayley was a tremendous athlete, but the most memorable part about her was that she was a person who was truly genuine and lived every day to its fullest.”

Kira Flaherty, a senior on the women’s soccer team, was Mullins’ lifting partner during her sophomore year and developed a close bond with her, sharing a similar sense of humor and lots of fond memories off the soccer field, she said.

“She was so full of life and put everyone around her in a good mood,” Flaherty said in an email to The Eagle. “She was the coolest person I have ever known -- she never cared what anyone thought of her and she never judged anyone. If you were with Hayley, you would probably be laughing and having a great time just being in her presence.”

Before coming to AU, Mullins graduated from Hall High School in West Hartford, Connecticut, where she was named the Most Outstanding Athlete during her senior year. She recorded one goal and two assists during her playing career with AU. The athletic department said they “share in the sadness being felt over her tragic loss.”

Hering said Mullins and her developed an honest and open relationship that was “refreshing.”

“She was a fun-loving kid. She and I could joke around, but I also knew she would always give 100 percent effort in training and games,” Hering said. “She was her own person and confident in that.”

Mullins was someone younger players looked up to, Flaherty said. She remembers Mullins for her compassion and how much she encouraged her teammates. Mullins’ sense of humor and fun-loving personality was something that uplifted the whole team, Flaherty said.

“My favorite memories involve her dancing in the locker room to Soulja Boy, ‘Juju on that Beat’ and, of course, Justin Bieber,” Flaherty said. “She would entertain the entire locker room when she would do this. She was just so genuinely funny.”

Mullins looked to find the light in every situation and her laughter and smile “positively impacted” every girl on the team, Flaherty said.

“I think we could all learn something from Hayley -- to live life to the fullest each and every day, not to care so much about what others think of you and to not take life too seriously,” Flaherty said. “She was truly one of a kind and I am so grateful I got to be a teammate and friend of hers. She is already so missed by so many.”

Students in need of support can visit the Counseling Center or the Dean of Students staff. Both offer drop-in hours weekdays from 2-4 p.m. Chaplains in the Kay Spiritual Life Center are also available.

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