Updated April 18, 2018 - 5:02 pm
What Brooke Hawley did in life, she did well. At age 3, she knew she wanted to play soccer. At age 17, she knew she wanted to go to college. She was on the honor roll.
When college soccer recruiters started looking at her, she knew she wanted one more thing, her father, Aaron Hawley, said.
“Free college!” She would tell her dad.
But the Centennial High School student never got to see the end goal, because on March 29, Brooke and her two other classmates, Dylan Mack and A.J. Rossi, were killed after police said a suspected drunken driver rear-ended their red Toyota at an intersection on the Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach, California.
On Tuesday afternoon, her parents announced, in front of a soccer goal at Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex, they wanted to keep their daughter’s memory alive: They are raising money on a GoFundMe for the Brooke Hawley Memorial Scholarship.
“We don’t get to see our daughter make further memories and play college soccer, but girls sports need the boost,” her mom, Rhonda Hawley, said.
The scholarship will go to a Las Vegas student wanting to attend UNLV and play soccer. By Tuesday evening, the fundraiser had reached $12,000. Brooke’s parents hope to raise enough to give multiple scholarships.
“For a $15 Uber ride, my daughter would still be here,” Rhonda Hawley said. “She can’t just be the face of that. We want to honor the things she’s done.”
The high school junior left behind two older sisters: Heather, 23, and Ashlee, 20, Aaron Hawley said.
Rhonda Hawley said her youngest daughter wanted to be a part of her older sister’s team so badly, they gave her a team jersey and she became an honorary player because she was too young to play with her other girls.
“When you walked into a room, you knew Brooke,” she said. “I used to tell her, ‘You can either be right or be happy.’ She always wanted to be right.”
George McKenna, one of her soccer coaches for the Las Vegas Sports Academy, where she played for more than three years, said the young girl played defense this year.
“She was a pretty funny kid, one of those players that never worked in practice,” he said. “She was a game player, she gave it her all.”
And when the ball was going out of bounds and she couldn’t get it, he said, she’d give a smile under her ginger hair.
“Like, ‘Yeah, I wasn’t getting that one,’” he said.
Last Saturday, the team had its first game without her, and players were playing against another club team, he said. Three teams joined together to play in her memory.
“There was no competition at that level,” he said. “It was a nice memory to put to her.”
The day she died, Brooke received two emails from coaches asking about her grades and what games she had coming up, Aaron Hawley said.
She had played soccer at every level, including making the roster of an Elite Clubs National League team.
Brooke was a member of two Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup championship teams, was on the runner-up teams in two Nevada Youth Soccer Association State Cup tournaments and became part of a State Cup championship team last year.
Standing in front of his daughter’s varsity soccer jersey and pictures of her proudly holding a soccer ball, Aaron Hawley pointed to her picture.
He said he wants to show the future scholarship recipient Brooke’s photo and share her story.
“I want her to meet my daughter,” he said. “I just want people to know that little girl was worth it.”