Katie Meyer, who helped Stanford win 2019 soccer championship, dies at age 22

·4 min read
Katie Meyer, whose penalty kick saves lifted Stanford to a title in December 2019, died in her on-campus residence. (Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Katie Meyer, whose penalty kick saves lifted Stanford to a title in December 2019, died in her on-campus residence. (Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Stanford senior goalkeeper Katie Meyer, whose penalty kick save was one of the most memorable moments of the 2019 NCAA women's soccer championship, has died, the school said.

The school first mentioned a death in an on-campus residence on Tuesday, but did not release a name until family had been notified. It did not give a cause of death. The school said counseling staff has been on-site at her residence hall and athletics counseling staff has been working with student-athletes.

Meyer was a senior majoring in International Relations with a minor in History. She was also a resident assistant and captain of the Stanford women's soccer team. She has one older sister and one younger sister and had turned 22 in January.

"Katie was extraordinarily committed to everything and everyone in her world," Stanford Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole and Director of Athletics Bernard Muir said in a letter to the community. "Her friends describe her as a larger-than-life team player in all her pursuits, from choosing an academic discipline she said 'changed my perspective on the world and the very important challenges that we need to work together to overcome' to the passion she brought to the Cardinal women’s soccer program and to women’s sports in general. Fiercely competitive, Katie made two critical saves in a penalty shootout against North Carolina to help Stanford win its third NCAA women’s soccer championship in 2019. Katie was a bright shining light for so many on the field and in our community."

It was her celebration during penalty kicks of the 2019 NCAA women's College Cup title game that endeared her to fans across the nation while also irking others. Stanford and North Carolina were tied after regulation and still sat 0-0 through the two overtime periods. It sent the match to penalty kicks for the first time in NCAA championship history.

Meyer saved the first penalty attempt, but the sides built to a 4-4 even score. That was when Meyer saved another shot to keep it there and gave a fired-up celebration to the camera near the goal post. Kiara Pickett scored to give Stanford the 5-4 edge and the program's third title.

While many loved it, others said it crossed the line and some lobbed sexist comments. Meyer addressed those comments — and noted that she was 19 at the time, and therefore had never "been there before" — in an interview with Just Women's Sports in January 2020.

"Going forward, I hope that if girls react that way again, which they will, because women are fierce, and everyone likes to play and be competitive — I hope the reaction stays positive. In the end, I’m happy a conversation was started about women being competitive because that’s what we are. We get heated in the moment. You can find that competitiveness anywhere, from lawyers, to moms, to someday, the future female president. People just need to take a step back and ask themselves, why do I think this? Why am I so shocked by a woman showing her passion?"

Meyer went on to be an intern at JWS, which was founded by Stanford alumna Haley Rosen.

Stanford urged everyone to check on on friends and loved ones, "be caring to yourselves and one another," and said there will be more opportunities to honor and remember Meyer as a community.