September 16th, 1999. The fateful day when Jonathan Reiber was taken from this earth at only 19 years of age. A promising soccer player at Hastings College killed by a drunk driver. But to this day his memory lives on in the game he loves.
"He would love seeing everybody play the sport that he was so passionate about and that he loved so much.
120 players flocking to the Hastings High School soccer fields Saturday for the 13th annual Jonathan Reiber Memorial Soccer Festival which began in 2000 thanks to Jason Barr in memory of his childhood friend.
"I was taken aback but I was incredibly humbled and honored that he would do such a thing for my family and for the memory of my son, who was his friend for such a long time," said Jonathan's father Doug Reiber.
Barr and Reiber played soccer together from kindergarden through their collegiate days at Hastings College. And Barr couldn't think of a better way to honor his friend.
"So I wanted a day where everybody could come out here and spread awareness around the hazards of drinking and driving, but also have it to where people play sports the right way. You compete, you push yourself and you try to win, but the most important thing is you do it with respect and integrity for the game, your own team and the opponents," Marr said.
"It's all about sportsmanship."
This year's event featured a record turn out raising $5700 in the process, awarding four scholarships to a quartet of young athletes who play and love the beautiful game just like Jonathan.
"Seeing them out here giving it their all but going about it, doing it the right way, he was a big believer in that. That's how he played. I think he would be very honored that people are out there doing that same thing."
"It's a hard thing for us as a family, but it's a wonderful thing. It's great to see all the people. It does bring back difficult memories, but it brings back great memories too. As we age it get's easier, but it's still hard," said Doug Reiber.
If you would like more information about the festival or would like to get involved with next year's event you can visit reiberfestival.com.
Created: Sun, 28 Jul 2013 07:38:03 CST
Updated: Mon, 09 Sep 2013 08:32:55 CST