Carter Payne looks down at the ball with his leg back, ready to kick.
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Michigan men’s soccer team alumnus Carter Payne died on Saturday following a hit-and-run accident in Statesboro, Georgia. At the time, the 20-year-old defender was a player for Tormenta F.C. of the United Soccer League.

“South Georgia Tormenta F.C. are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Tormenta F.C. 2 defender David Carter Payne,” the club said in a statement. “… Payne was a tremendous athlete, teammate and friend, and he will be sorely missed by everyone involved at the club.”

The accident occurred when Payne was riding an electric scooter. The driver that hit him fled the scene, and Payne was later driven to the hospital by ambulance once first responders arrived. He later passed away in the hospital.

Payne played for the Wolverines in 2019 and 2020 before moving to the professional level with the USL. In his freshman season at Michigan, Payne played in 10 games, eight of which he started on the back line. Payne received U-M Athletic Academic Achievement awards in 2019 and Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2020.  

“We are devastated to confirm the tragic loss of Carter Payne,” the Michigan men’s soccer team said in a statement. “We grieve the loss of our brother, teammate and extraordinary student-athlete. We extend our hearts and love to his family at this extremely tragic time.”

Before coming to Michigan, Payne played for the Barcelona Residency Academy in Casa Grande, Arizona, near his hometown of Phoenix.

“Carter was an extraordinary brother, teammate and student-athlete who will be sorely missed,” the academy said in a statement. “We send our love and support to Carter’s family and friends during this extremely difficult time.”

Following Payne’s passing, the Ibis Foundation set up the Carter Payne Fund to accept donations in his memory. The money raised will go to the Payne family to aid in funeral expenses and help establish the ‘Carter Payne Scholarship’ fund, which will cover one TFC Academy player’s team and uniform fees each year, beginning with the TFC Academy’s 2023 season. 

According to Tormenta FC owner Darin Van Tassell, Payne’s teammates opted to play their scheduled game against Peachtree City MOBA on Tuesday in his honor. 

Although Payne spent just two seasons with Michigan, his tragic loss leaves a legacy behind on the pitch.

A GoFundMe has been organized to help the Payne family pay expenses related to Carter Payne’s death. Those who wish to donate can find the link here.