Soccer players share impact Phoenix woman left on them after horrific murder-suicide
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - As the community grapples with the horrific loss of the Hudgens family in Phoenix, Arizona’s Family has learned how Marla Hudgens’ impact went far beyond her career as an attorney.
Police believe Jasen Hudgens shot himself in the head after killing his wife, Marla, and their three kids earlier this week.
The focus of soccer is to score a goal and win the game. But the field is a place for something else, too. “It’s where we learned to play soccer, but more importantly, we learned about friendship and trust,” said Ruby Dessaules.
In the Madison Futbol Club, one coach went above and beyond to shape the young girls looking up to her: Marla Hudgens.
“Marla was like one of my second moms, I would say,” said Dessaules. “Fiercely loyal. She’s spunky,” said Savannah Nordvold. “She taught us to standup for ourselves,” said Haley Farina. Dessaules, Nordvold, and Farina would go on to play varsity soccer for Sunnyslope High School, but not before spending years being coached by Marla Hudgens.
Confidence and bravery are two words that come to mind for these girls, things they learned from Marla. “She was a big part of my life. Actually, just this year, I started coaching 3rd and 4th graders in the MFC to kind of follow in her footsteps, and she was very, very proud to have seen us step up,” said Farina.
Of all the life lessons sports have taught these young players, none could have prepared them for the news they’d receive this week. Marla Hudgens and her three young kids were found dead inside their Phoenix home, reportedly at the hands of her husband Jasen, who was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“I was angry and hurt,” said Dessaules. “It’s not something you can get past. We’re going to carry that with us forever,” said Savannah. “I’m really upset, and I’m sad. I really loved Marla,” Dessaules said with tears in her eyes.
These girls saw firsthand what family meant to Marla as she struggled with infertility and considered her soccer players her own kids. “When she told us that she was pregnant with her first child, she was so excited to tell us. It was happy news for us, we were all excited. Happiness for her was happiness for us,” said Nordvold.
Grieving the loss of a role model to domestic violence isn’t a lesson these girls should have to learn. “She would always protect us. She was always by our sides,” said Nordvold. But Marla’s already given them the tools to battle this storm together. “She played a big part not just as a soccer coach, but also as part of our family.”
These girls played for Marla for three years and said they never met Jasen or saw him come to practices or games and believe he was pretty distant. We are still waiting for the autopsy reports to learn the cause of death for Marla and her three kids.
The Madison Futbol Club President, Shawn Grunewald shared this statement on Marla Hudgens:
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