The Livermore community is mourning the death of Joseph Cairel, a Granada High School alum and professional indoor soccer player who drowned in a boating accident in the Delta near Discovery Bay earlier this summer. He was 29.
Nicknamed "The Jet," Cairel starred on the pitch for the Matadors, graduating in 2009, later attended Monterey Peninsula College and went on to play in Major Arena Soccer League. The midfielder joined the Southern California-based Ontario Fury last year.
The league, the team and his Fury teammates paid tribute to Cairel in a series of "RIP #91" memorial videos shared on social media last month that also included footage of game play and past interviews with Cairel.
"Cairel was all about, you know, just enjoying life and having a big smile on your face. I think he really had an impact on me ... just having a positive attitude," one unnamed teammate said in one video.
Another added, "So full of energy ... that smile is contagious. His whole vibe is just positive."
"This week the MASL Family lost one of our own. Joseph Cairel was a force on the field and a friend to all off of it," the league said in a statement on social media.
Cairel, who was living in Marina at the time, went missing while boating in Indian Slough on the evening of June 26, his 29th birthday. His body was found on the morning of June 28 near where he was reported missing, according to the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office. Investigators did not share details on why or how he went into the water.
A memorial service in Cairel's honor was held through St. Michael Catholic Church in Livermore on July 17.
"Joseph was the light of his family, always making sure they were taken care of and he was there for whatever they needed. Joseph had an infectious smile that could make anyone's worst day better. He was fun loving and caring, he was full of life, and had a love for soccer," supporters said in a GoFundMe page organized to support his family. It had raised more than $37,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.
"Joseph spent his life perfecting his love for the game and leaving all his skills on the field, he loved his teammates like brothers and adored his fans," they added.
Editor's note: Information from the Bay City News Service was used in this report.