The South Australian football community is mourning the loss this week of the passing of 18-year-old Mikayla Eastwood.
Mikayla, along with her partner Hayden Perkins (18) both lost their lives from a car accident on Tuesday 20th November. Mikayla and Hayden had just finished Year 12 at Eastern Fleurieu School.
Over the last few days, swarms of tributes have flooded social media, with people sharing glowing tributes about the high school student who shone in other people's lives.
Mikayla dedicated her life to football and played for the Strathalbyn Strikers since the age of eight. Her passion did not stop there, as Mikayla picked up her coaches whistle for two years at the Strikers, mentoring the U8's and U13's. Mikayla was also in line to coach a Hills Hawks Junior Premier League side in 2019.
She was also a highly regarded FFSA referee with the Adelaide Hills Referee Branch.
One of her highest achievements at her club as a player was becoming the best and fairest winner in 2014 in the U14 girl's squad.
Nick Brook, Chairman of the Strathalbyn Strikers, spoke highly of Mikayla and shared how she influenced others in a positive light.
"She was always willing to help, and never said no when asked to do something and she was always so keen to give back to the club that she loved.
She had such a bright future ahead of her after coaching our juniors for two years. The girls she coached looked up to her and wanted to be like her. Some girls even spoke about wanting to go to Fiji, just like Mikayla did.
We will miss her smile and her easy-going nature."
Not only did she represent her region Adelaide Hills Junior Soccer Association (AHJSA) numerous times, the 18-year-old also represented Football Federation SA twice in a regional team at The Ultimate Fiji Cup, reaching a Grand Final in the process.
An FFSA spokesperson said:
"We are extremely saddened to hear of the passing of one of our players. Mikayla wore the FFSA red with pride and conducted herself on and off the pitch to the highest standards.
Our thoughts and condolensces go out to Mikayla's family, friends, along with the Strathalbyn Strikers, Adelaide Hills Hawks, the AHJSA and the wider football community."
Football Federation SA Teams have pledged to play in Mikayla's honour as they jet off to take part in the Ultimate Fiji Cup next weekend.
"It was an honour and a priveledge to have had Mikayla representing the state for two years at The Ultimate Fiji Cup. We will be playing in her memory in Fiji this December."
A warm-hearted individual, Mikayla also worked at Little Rockets Play Cafè in Mount Barker. The organisation took to social media this week and said Mikayla was “a hard-working, dedicated employee and will be truly missed in the Little Rockets family,”
RIP Mikayla. You will be sorely missed.