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‘She was loved by many’: Standout Bakersfield soccer player dies in New Mexico

Flowers on a casket. (Unsplash)

Jul. 12—A Bakersfield family is mourning the loss of their daughter who died in New Mexico, where she attended college and played on the soccer team.

Thalia Chaverria, 20, graduated from Frontier High School in 2021 and was selected three times as BVarsity All-Area. The New Mexico State University student, who finished her second year in college, was found in her Las Cruces home by police at 7 a.m. Monday after authorities got a call about an unresponsive woman, according to the Las Cruces Police Department.

Investigators added they didn’t suspect criminal or suspicious circumstances, but police and the office of the medical investigator will determine the cause of death.

Chaverria’s death sparked an outpouring of condolences and remembrances — many remembered her bright spirit against the backdrop of the tragedy. Known as “T” to NMSU’s head soccer coach, Rob Baarts noted her loss rocked their team on which Chaverria, a defender, served as an inspiration. The 20 year old served as a rock for her teammates, Baarts added in the statement.

“She will be missed but not forgotten,” Baarts said in a statement. “Her spirit will be with us every day, on and off the pitch. I will always love you T!”

Students held a private vigil for Chaverria on Tuesday and honored her uniform, which was jersey No. 2, according to the KOAT Albuquerque news station. A tree was decorated with purple hearts and the stadium shined purple lights in her honor.

A GoFundMe created by the family said Chaverria had two brothers and was a loving mom to her fur babies.

“She was loved by many,” the GoFundMe created by Chaverria’s aunt read. “Her long, beautiful curly hair and smile will forever be embedded in our memories.”

Chaverria started in every game her sophomore season and was the only freshman to play in all of NMSU’s 20 games while starting in 17, according to a biography posted on the school’s website. It added she played a “pivotal role” for her team last year.

NMSU Director of Athletics Mario Moccia said in a statement Chaverria was an amazing young woman and the tragedy is felt throughout NMSU’s tight-knit community.

“Thalia had a vibrant personality and those who were fortunate enough to spend time with her knew she had a bright future ahead of her,” Moccia wrote in the statement.

BVarsity ranked Chaverria on the first team during her senior and junior years of high school as a midfielder. The Bakersfield Californian also bestowed an honorable mention for Chaverria’s abilities during her sophomore year of high school.

In a video posted to the Kern High Network, Chaverria mentioned her gratitude of signing to NMSU in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The college coaches were welcoming and nice, but she’ll miss playing with friends at Frontier who ensured her high school years were the best, Chaverria said in the video.

“I just to want to say thank you to everybody who has been a part of my journey,” Chaverria said. “It has been a long journey, but it’s just getting started. So, here’s to a new chapter in my life.”

The Californian’s sports reporter Ron Stapp contributed to this report.

You can reach Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. You can also follow her at @_ishanidesai on Twitter.


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