Tributes have poured in for a young Cirencester Town Ladies footballer who has tragically died.
Goalkeeper Carla Heaton, aged just 22, passed away suddenly, with the heart-breaking news confirmed by the club online. Carla was described as a ‘beautiful person inside and out’ by her team in a statement on Twitter.
Heaton had spent several seasons with fourth tier Swindon Town before moving onto Cirencester Town. Since the news broke fans of the team, as well as a number of other women’s football teams, have responded with heartfelt tributes to the much loved player.
Posting in a statement on Twitter, Cirencester Town Ladies said: “It is with great sadness to say our goalkeeper Carla Heaton has suddenly passed away.
“We are all lost for words but what we can say is how much of a beautiful person you was inside and out. We all miss you and Thank you for all the memories. RIP our number 1.”
The young goalkeeper had spent much of her young football career at Swindon. Her former team wrote their own tribute on social media, posting: “It’s with great sadness that the club has learned the tragic news that our former goalkeeper Carla Heaton has passed away at the tender age of just 22.
“Carla brought a shining light to the dressing room with her personality and her performances between the sticks were second to none. She will be greatly missed by the players in our current squad who were honoured to have known her and shared the pitch with her. Thought and prayers go out to her family and friends at this difficult time. Rest in peace Goalie xx.”
Other football clubs from up and down the pyramid have also paid their respects to the goalkeeper, with Exeter City Women FC saying: “Sending our condolences to you all as well Carla’s family and friends.”
Longwell Green LFC said: “All at Longwell Green ladies would like to send our condolences to both Carla’s family and her football family at such a sad time. Bring home the title and cup again this season ladies, fly high Carla, you gained your wings far to early.”
Glos County Women’s Football League said: “Everyone from the league sends their deepest condolences at such a sad time. Our thoughts are with everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her.”
Stevenage FC Women posted: “From all at SFCW, our thoughts and sincere condolences are with you all at this sad time.”
Former Swindon Town women’s coach Dan Jones added his own tribute online, saying: “Devastated doesn’t express the half of it.
“Had the pleasure of working with Carla in my short time at the club, she was keen, eager to learn, to improve & a hugely lovable character. Thoughts with all her friends and family at this time.”
This Sunday we play @GasGirlsWFC dev in the Gordon Perrett cup. The game will be in memory of Carla and would be great to have as many people come along to show their support. It will be a tough day for us all but we are stronger when we are together 🔴⚫️ 🧤@CirenTownFC pic.twitter.com/Nu3wuw8ilg— Cirencester Town Ladies (@TownCirencester) November 24, 2022
💙 An enormous amount of respect goes to Carla’s team mates at @TownCirencester for wanting to continue this Sunday. As a club, we would have agreed to any decision that was made by Cirencester Town.— Bristol Rovers WFC (@GasGirlsWFC) November 24, 2022
You have our full support on what will be an emotional afternoon ⚽️❤️🖤 https://t.co/NWiTihD0pA