At 12 years old, Evan Soggin had already made a name for himself in the local hockey community as a fast ball of energy with a versatility that gave him big-league potential.
But he also boasted a list of other accomplishments that looked like it would someday run pages long: He was a hockey star, a budding equestrian, a thespian, a musician, a scholar of Tae Kwan Do, a recent graduate of Flint Hill Elementary School headed for middle school at Thoreau. A jokester who didn't do things quite the normal way but had an uncanny ability to make tears roll down friends' cheeks as their bellies ached with laughter.
Above all those things, friends and family say, it is Soggin's smile, loyalty, humor, compassion, spirituality beyond his years and "zest for life" that they are missing after his sudden death earlier this week.
Soggin was riding his horse, Calvin, on Monday at his family's Oakton home when he was bucked and caught his foot in a stirrup, his father Steve said in an email. He was dragged before his horse kicked or stepped on him, and was flown to a local hospital. He underwent surgery for several hours, but died from severe internal bleeding, Steve said.
Evan is survived by his father Steve, mother Gyoen and brother Nick, a 17-year-old student at Madison High School.
Soggin was most at home with the Reston Raiders Hockey Club, where he played year-round and was enrolled in summer camp, despite not really growing up with the sport. It wasn't until Nick fell into the sport and saw quick success that Evan wanted to try it himself, said Club President Chris Kelly, who coached him in 2007.
He started at 5 years old in goal, but quickly got tired of watching all the action, Kelly said.
"He was such an active kid that by the end of the season he had decided that staying home in the net was too boring, as he preferred playing out of the net so he could follow the action up and down the ice," Kelly said.
Club founder Larry Roe, who coached Evan in 2008, laughed Thursday night as he called Evan "a little bit of a rambunctious kid [who] liked to have his own agenda sometimes."
But that kind of spark paid off often in game situations. Roe recalled his "favorite Evan story," from a game in Baltimore, when the team was losing by one and down two players in the final minutes of the game. Evan and two other players were outnumbered on the ice against five opponents, Roe said, but he got the puck, skated through the entire opposing team and scored.
"He really lifted the team that day and did a great job. He was a good kid who always kept the coach on his toes," Roe said. "We're very sorry to lose a great kid from our hockey family."
With custom-made sneakers in Raiders blue, black and white — "he was Raiders through and through," Kelly said — Soggin dreamed of attending a hockey boarding high school and maybe one day going pro, family and friends said.
But much like his many talents, he had many visions too: He often talked about becoming a Navy Seal, Steve Soggin said.
"He studied them in books, sought out interaction with Special Forces, and supported the Wounded Warrior program," Steve Soggin wrote.
At school, he made many friends through the arts, said Tori Traxler, who met Soggin on the bus several years ago when the pair were in third grade at Flint Hill. He loved photography and horses and played piano, drums, viola and saxophone in advanced and area bands. He also loved drama, recently appearing in a performance of “Alice in Wonderland."
Several of Soggin's mentors and friends said he "marched to the beat of his own drum," which only made him more charming.
"Evan was different and special," Traxler said. "He always tried so hard in the things he loved ... If I was crying, he would be the shoulder I would cry on. If I was angry or anything he would always help me get through it. He would make me laugh all the time," she said.
His memorial service at 10 a.m. Saturday at The Church of the Good Shepherd will be true to that spirit, his family said. They ask that those who attend dress casually and not in black, "as Evan would want," and for Raider players to wear their jerseys.
The Soggin Family and Soggin's coaches and friends hope his legacy lives on through a newly-formed Reston Raiders scholarship fund in his name.
"He would love the thought of helping other kids get to go to hockey camp, get equipment, and play," his family wrote.
The memorial service for Evan Soggin begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at The Church of the Good Shepherd, 2351 Hunter Mill Rd, Vienna. In lieu of flowers the Soggin family would like to suggest donations be sent to the scholarship fund. Click here to be redirected to the online form, or, checks can be made out to Reston Raiders: Evan Soggin Scholarship Fund and sent to Reston Raider Hockey Club, P.O. Box 3152, Reston, VA, 20195.