Scottsdale family remembers soccer player killed in hit-and-run in Georgia

A Scottsdale-born soccer player was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Georgia and his father is remembering him as more than a talented athlete.
Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 6:10 PM MST
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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A Valley family is mourning the loss of a 20-year-old soccer player killed in a hit-and-run crash in Georgia. Carter Payne was born in Scottsdale and played on several teams across the Valley. Eventually, he went on to play for the University of Michigan and South Georgia’s Tormenta FC.

“So much ahead of him and the kid has earned everything that he got, with who he was and with what he has done and it was only the beginning,” said his former Barca Residency Academy Coach, Miha Kline.

To his family, Carter was so much more than a talented soccer player. “He was an angel when he was alive, and he certainly is now,” said Chris Payne, Carter’s dad.

On Saturday, his dad says their life changed forever. While riding a scooter in Georgia, Carter was hit by a driver who did not stop. “I know he died proud of himself. I know he knows that his mother and I loved him dearly. We were proud of the person he was; his brothers were extremely proud of him.”

He says his son was passionate about addressing inequality and helping people. It’s also why Payne says Carter chose to be an organ donor. “Through his death he continued to give and donated organs and hopefully saved lives up until the end and he would have been proud of that,” he said.

Payne hasn’t gotten an update on where the investigation stands, but police say no arrests have been made. “I think he had a lot more to do, but while he was here he left an impression and lived his life the way he wanted to live until the very end,” his dad said.

Carter’s family says he loved soccer and supporting teammates’ success, so his team Tormenta FC established the Carter Payne Fund to accept donations in his memory.

Because his family says he also shared a great sense of responsibility to his community and actively engaged in efforts to address inequality and other social justice causes. In honor of Carter’s activism, his family asks that memorial donations be made to Black People’s Justice Fund AZ, a cause that aligns with Carter’s non-soccer passions. There’s also a GoFundMe page to help with the funeral and memorial expenses.