Triumph to tragedy: Young footballer's death unites
ROSS Wells thought his son Lachlan, Lachy as he was known, was on a high, the happiest he'd ever been.
His soccer team had won their grand final. He'd won the title for his beloved Kawana Football Club, a club he'd played for since he was a boy, with his mates.
A quiet man, Lachy came out of his shell at football.
It's why his friends and family were left shattered and confused when about six weeks after the grand final win last September, Lachy took his own life after losing his battle with depression.
He was only 25.
"I still miss him and struggle sometimes," Ross said.
"It's really great that they put together this match (because) it's important to make people aware of the mental health of players and people in general," Ross said.
His club, Kawana, will host a night of football in his honour at its home ground in Milieu Place, Warana, this Saturday.
Lachy's 4th division team will square off against local rivals Caloundra at 4pm for the Lachlan Wells Charity Shield before the FFA Cup Round 4 match between Kawana and the Sunshine Coast Wanderers.
Teammate David Cook said Lachy had been ecstatic, "like everyone else" in the team after their triumph.
The news of Lachy's death blindsided his mates.
"The team had no idea what he was battling," Mr Cook said.
"He was a quiet kid, didn't really say much, but at footy he came out of his shell."
Possessing a "tremendous" left foot and pace to burn, Lachy, a lover of all sports, had established himself as a vital member of the premiership-winning team.
"A lot of people were contemplating not playing again this season, but we all did, we all signed up again," Mr Cook said.
"But the first training back was horrible."
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His absence still hurts, but Mr Cook said his mate's premature passing had left a legacy.
"We're all just more aware of each other now, we'll check upon everyone regularly," he said.
Lachy's love of soccer was huge, but his dad said his son would've made a fantastic cricketer.
"When he was 12 he used to bowl on the back lawn and we used to call him Brett Lee because he could bowl really fast," Ross said.
"All of my mates were blown away at how hard and fast he could bowl for a youngster."
But it was soccer that held his son's heart.
Ross said his son had the ability to recall the scores of games played a decade earlier.
"The pictures around the house point towards his love for soccer, it was such a big part of his life," Ross said.
"He was over the moon and as happy as he could be (after the grand final win)."
Ross said Lachy's family remembered him as a "kind spirited" football and sport fanatic.
He'd been playing soccer since he was eight.
On Saturday two clubs, traditional arch-enemies, will put aside their rivalry to raise money for Beyond Blue by taking part in the charity match. They will try to raise awareness about mental health and encourage others to speak out before it's too late.
What's at stake is far more important than competition points or local bragging rights.
If you or anyone you know is struggling or needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au.