RICHMOND, Va. – It's rare for any athlete to transcend their sport, particularly the collegiate student-athlete, but that's exactly what Yoram Mwila did during his time at VCU. On June 9, all of Ram Nation mourned his loss after he was tragic accident in his home country of Zambia.
The best way to share exactly the type of person Yoram was is to share the words of the student-athletes, coaches, administration and much more that make up Ram Nation.
The memorial service on VCU's campus for Yoram is set for Monday, June 18th at 10 a.m. at the Pace Center.
Here are their words: (if you would like to add a story or thoughts about Yoram, please feel free to email Scott Day at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Emilie Soares - Junior on the VCU Field Hockey Team
"Yoram was truly my angel on earth. He helped me through some rough times and gave me all the confidence in the world. He was the most genuine, kind, and caring person I knew and he always found a way to make people happy. Nothing felt greater than to be rapping Tupac with him and having some of the most honest discussions I've ever had with another person. Yoram always kept it real with me and I appreciate every second I had with him. I really hope I can live the way he did and enjoy life as much as he did. He is a champion in my heart and VCU won't be the same without him."
Ryan Horn - Former Strength & Conditioning Coach at VCU
"When I left VCU it was the hardest and most painful decision I ever made. The first person to call me after I left was Yoram. His exact words were "As long you are happy we know you are always in our hearts and us in yours." He finished with saying I love you Rhino. I will never forget this. Words cannot describe how much this meant to me. It was a phone call from a friend, a man beyond his years and someone I will never forget. I hope someday my son can wear #9 in his honor and that is spirit will live through Landon. I love you Yo and you will always hold a special place in my heart."
Matt Hatheway - Sophomore on VCU Men's Track & Field/Cross Country Team
"This was my first year at VCU and Yoram kinda took me under his wing, invited me out to meet everyone to all the events and everything. He was a great guy, I am gonna miss him greatly, I remember rapping songs with him at his house and I remember him coming to our Ram Invite track meet to show support. Yoyo was a great guy and I will always remember him."
Molly Allen - Member of VCU Women's Soccer Team (2008-11)
"Having had the privilege to get to know Yo for the past two years, it is apparent that he was the life of any social gathering, for he brought so much happiness, laughter and good times to the VCU community. Some of my fondest memories of Yo were his hilarious dance moves, bright smile, and his intense passion for not only soccer but life itself. Myself and so many other student-athletes looked up to him for his extreme work ethic and dedication to his sport. He was a wonderful person that will be truly missed."
Autumn Dea - Member of the VCU Field Hockey Team (2009-11)
"Words can't describe how amazing Yo Yo was. I can't remember a time that he didn't great me with a warm hug and a wide smile. He was kind, motivated, funny and so much more. Yo Yo was someone that everyone could look up to because he truly cared. He truly cared about his team, his friends and his family. I remember one night I was really sick and he took care of me and made sure that I was okay. He always had a way of making every situation brighter. Someone as incredible as Yo Yo is hard to find. I'm going to miss him so much, more than he will ever know. I'm so glad that during his time here I got to have him as a friend."
Adam Stern - Editor of the Commonwealth Times (VCU's student paper)
"Through my interactions and interviews with Yoram, it became crystal-clear to me that he wasn't just an incredible athlete and dynamic soccer player-- although he certainly was that as well-- but furthermore was an extremely focused, hard-working and-- perhaps most importantly-- humble young man. Coach Giffard always told me in interviews I did with him how he planned on creating a culture at VCU men's soccer of going about things the proverbial right way, and how he hoped and was confident that would provide the foundation to take VCU men's soccer to the next level. In that sense, there was likely no better candidate for the task at hand than Yoram, which is probably why Giffard decided to ask him to come to VCU with him when he left Akron, where Giffard had originally recruited Yoram years back by virtue of traveling all the way to Zambia, Yoram's home country, to make it happen. Yes, of course, Yoram was a fantastic player to have on the field for a coach. He was not only a fast, crafty and skillful striker but he also seemed to have the attitude that coaches dream of in that he gave his all and hardly ever seemed to pout. But off the pitch, Yoram's qualities were just as if not more impressive. He was unassuming yet confident and he also had a big heart. In one conversation I had with him, he marveled to me about the diversity not just of the men's soccer team but of VCU's campus overall and he noted much he enjoyed that. He also spoke with much admiration of his teammates and coaches and could not keep a wide smile off his face if he tried when talking about the friendship and partnership he was building with his teammate and fellow striker Jason Johnson. Yoram was such a special kid that his loss will be felt on many different levels and in many different ways and for a very long time. But, for me, and I'm sure almost everyone else who knew Yoram, the most important loss is most certainly not that a team lost a soccer player or that a university lost a student, but that, in a world with enough bad people to go around, we somehow lost one of the good ones. And far, far, far too soon."
Meaghan Dullea - Member of VCU Women's Soccer Team (2008-11)
"I'm so thankful I got to know you the past two years. You always had a way of bringing a smile to my face. Your ability to motivate people and change the entire atmosphere of a training session was amazing to me. I envied your spirit and personality and how you always seemed to be the life of the party. I learned how to be a better leader from watching you and I'm definitely going to miss watching the love you had for soccer through your talent and smiles."
(if you would like to add a story or thoughts about Yoram, please feel free to email Scott Day at email@example.com)