Western Province, Maties hockey player Jessica Matthews…

Jessica Matthews, an 18-year-old student at Stellenbosch University, died while representing Western Province in an under-18 practice hockey game on Wednesday June 15.

“It happened during a game at Herschel High School, when she was playing for the Western Province U18 team in a practice game against the men’s team of the western province,” said Maties sporting director Reginald Smith.

The cause of death is unconfirmed at this time. “We don’t know all the details yet,” Smith added.

Matthews played as a goalkeeper where she represented Boland at the Under-16 and Under-18 age group levels.

“She was one of the players we identified to be part of our high performance program. She was a very hardworking and promising goalkeeper. She played for our second team, we call it the Victorians team where she was the first-choice keeper,” Smith said of Matthews’ time at Stellenbosch.

Members of the Matthews’ Victorians hockey team will be offered support during this time, Smith added.

“They are all still in shock, we will organize advice for his team here even if they were not there. [when it happened].”

Matthews was a freshman majoring in drama at Stellenbosch University.

“She was an enthusiastic person and very passionate in all aspects of her life, she was more on the culture side. She was doing theater shows, singing and playing main characters,” said William Eveleigh, her coach of the guards for three years at Rhenish High School.

Jessica Matthews first appeared as Annie in 2014 and has performed in numerous shows since. Most recently, she starred as Ariel in 2021/2’s “The Little Mermaid” and was a regular face at the Playhouse. (Photo: Playhouse Theater Somerset West via Facebook)

Matthews resided in Somerset West but wanted to explore the world.

“She had plans to go overseas to play hockey there, but also to pursue her passion by trying to get into Broadway,” Eveleigh said.

“Her parents were grooming her to go overseas, to Ireland, to play in those leagues, and also to get her into art school. The world was her oyster.

Matthews is considered kind and energetic by those who knew her.

“The club has not only lost an athlete, but also a kind-hearted human being. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends,” said Anché Nortje, Acting Sporting Director of Maties Sport for the hockey. DM


Catherine J. Martinez