Just yesterday ESPN columnist Sam Alipour published an in depth, online story (which will appear in July 13th issue of ESPN The Magazine) about former UCSB Soccer standout Eric Frimpong and the six years he’s currently serving in State Prison after being charged and convicted of Rape in a California Courtroom.
Have a look at the case through former college teammate and current Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Kyle Reynish’s eyes, a man who has and will continue to stand by Frimpong’s side.
“After finishing my first MLS season in 2007 I was excited to head back to Santa Barbara to see many of my former college teammates. However, upon my return to UCSB, I was horrified to find out that District Attorney’s office of Santa Barbara was in fact pursuing it’s case against my former teammate and good friend Eric Frimpong.
For the majority of the next two months I was in court everyday, alongside many other supporters of Eric, watching as the DA was trying to convince the all white jury made up of 9 women and 3 men that Eric was guilty of the crime he was accused of.
Most days after court was over I would make Eric come train with me to keep his mind off the case and continue to work towards his dream of playing professional soccer. Since I had studied law at UCSB, he would ask me questions about the trial and I would translate a lot of legal jargon he was hearing into terms he could understand, while trying to convince him that our legal system was built upon the key ideal that no innocent person shall be convicted.
Furthermore, I insisted we need to keep training hard so that when his nightmare was finally over and the case was dismissed, he would be ready to pursue his dream of an educated life and soccer career in America.
As it turns out I was wrong.
On December 17, 2007 he was convicted and later sentenced to 6 years in prison.
Much of my second offseason was spent driving 75 miles out to Tehachapi prison to see Eric and spend the day with him during his visitor hours on the weekends. Because we were allowed outside, I even got the chance to juggle a soccer ball around with him, just like we used to do before practice or games in college.
When speaking to people about this tragic story, people often look at me confused, as if I could make up such a thing.
Image via TheSantaBarbaraIndependent