Yoram Mwila, a promising young Zambian player who had played college soccer the last three years at Akron and VCU, died early Saturday morning from injuries he suffered in a car accident in Lusaka, Zambia. Mwila, the son of the former Zambian defense minister Ben Mwila, had only arrived for the summer from VCU the day before. He died on the spot after the BMW in which he and his sister Lily were passengers overturned.
Lily was in critical condition while the unnamed driver escaped unhurt.
“As anyone in our athletic department could tell you, Yoram Mwila was an extraordinary young man,” said VCU coach Dave Giffard. “Within our team and our VCU family, he was a leader, an amazing friend and an example of what a positive attitude can do for a person and a group of people. His enthusiasm for life and for the game was infectious and I’m not sure he ever met a stranger.
“Right now our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as we mourn the passing of one of the most special people I have ever had the opportunity to meet. I know as a coach, I’m not supposed to have any favorites but Yo Yo was one of mine and to be honest he always will be. If you asked the people who knew him, they would tell you the same thing. I think that says a lot about who he was and why we all loved him so much.”
In two seasons at VCU, Mwila saw action in 39 matches with 37 starts and scored 10 goals and two assists.
He scored three goals and handed out two assists in 20 matches for NCAA Division I runner-up Akron in 2009.
Mwila was the captain of the U-17 Zambian national team and member of the U-20 squad.
He had first moved to the United States as one of five Zambians picked to attend Brad Friedel’s Premier Soccer Academy in Ohio.