Belgian Soccer Player Arne Espeel, 25, Dies After Collapsing On Pitch

The goalkeeper reportedly fell to the ground moments after saving a penalty.

Belgian goalkeeper Arne Espeel died after collapsing on the soccer field while playing for amateur team Winkel Sport B on Saturday. He was 25.

According to Reuters, citing Belgian media outlets, Espeel had just saved a penalty kick when he collapsed at the club’s home ground in Sint-Eloois-Winkel. Emergency services tried to save him, including reviving him with a defibrillator, but he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a hospital.

“Winkel Sport is in very deep mourning by the sudden death of Arne Espeel,” Espeel’s soccer club said in a statement. “We wish family and friends of Arne our heartfelt condolences in this heavy loss. Football is an afterthought.”

Winkel Sport B play in the second provincial division of West Brabant. They were up 2-1 against Westrozebeke at the time of the incident.

An autopsy was scheduled on Monday, Reuters reported, to determine the cause of death.

According to a local news outlet, the sporting director of Winkel said Espeel had been with the club for many years.

“Arne had been with the club all his life and was very loved,” Patrick Rotsaert said, according to a translation. “He was a wonderfully sympathetic boy, always in a good mood and ready to help. This is really a heavy blow. First of all for his family and also our whole club.”

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