As NWSL preseason kicks off, three of its players are being forced to focus on much more than just soccer.
The Washington Spirit's Tori Huster and Tiffany Weimer, along with Western New York Flash draftee Britt Eckerstrom, were staying with Eckerstrom's parents, who had volunteered to be a host family to Huster and Weimer. Eckerstrom had everything she needed for the season packed up in her car so she could head out when an overnight house fire catastrophically destroyed the players' belongings and their cars. Fortunately, all three players and the Eckerstroms themselves were able to get out of the house and survived the fire.
They've catalogued some of the destruction here, as well set up a Go Fund Me to help the players recover everything they lost.
The Go Fund Me went up on Sunday. Within hours of being posted, it raised over $10,000. Overnight, it hit $20,000. As of the writing of this article it is at $25,146, a goal it hit in under 24 hours. The generosity has been impressive, even in the tight-knit women's soccer community.
One anonymous donor gave $1,000. Other players from several teams have been pitching in what they can - something much more than a symbolic gesture when you consider how little women's soccer players make in NWSL.
However much is raised, hopefully it gives the players and the Eckerstroms a little bit of relief after such a catastrophic event. A fire is traumatic enough without falling literally on the eve of preseason, when players are probably at their most excited to report in and get going with their teams - especially rookie Eckerstrom, who was drafted in the third round of the NWLS 2016 college draft.