A man trying to dribble a football 10,000 miles from his home in the US to Brazil in time for the 2014 World Cup has been killed after he was struck by a car just a fortnight into his quest.
Richard Swanson was hit while he walked next to a road in Lincoln City in Oregan, according to police. The driver who struck and killed the 42-year-old has not been charged after the incident. Police said Mr Swanson’s ball was found nearby.
Mr Swanson’s death was mourned in a Facebook post on a page he used to document his journey, titled “Breakaway Brazil.”
“It is with a heavy heart to notify you that Richard Swanson passed on this morning,” said the post, signed “Team Richard.” “His team, family, friends, and loved ones will miss him and love him dearly. You made it to Brazil in our hearts, Richard.”
Mr Swanson set out from Seattle on the trek to promote the One World Futbol Project which donates footballs to people in developing countries. He wrote on his Facebook page that he planned to dribble the ball from Seattle to Brazil and sought donations for the trip.
“We are deeply saddened to learn about Richard's death,” Lisa Tarver, chief operating officer of the One World Futbol Project, said to AP: “He was a very inspiring man who in a very short time walked his way into many lives. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Kristi Schwesinger, a friend, said he was looking for an adventure.
“He was at a point in his life where he had raised his kids,” she said. “Both his boys had graduated from high school. He had no mortgage. He had sold his condo recently and was between jobs.
”And he loved the game of soccer,“ she said. ”He stumbled on this great organization, One World Futbol, and decided this would be his passion the next year.“
He is survived by two sons, aged 22 and 18, whom he mentioned in a YouTube video he uploaded in March.
In that video, Mr Swanson explained that he was making the trip after being laid off and having difficulty finding a new job.
In an interview with The Daily News , Mr Swanson said he picked up soccer just five years ago and played on club teams and supported for the Seattle Sounders.
”I felt destined that I should go on this trip,“ he said.
He left Seattle on May 1, and estimated the trip would take him on foot for more than a year through 11 countries before reaching Sao Paolo, Brazil.
”It will be a trip of a lifetime where I will push myself further than I ever thought possible,“ he said.
Mr Swanson, who was 14 days into his trek, stayed two nights in with his son but otherwise had been able to sleep on the couches of one stranger after another who befriended him and helped him on his journey.
He was scheduled to stop next at the coastal Oregon town of Newport, just over five miles west of the city where he died.