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Women’s soccer star Bella Bixby reveals her father died by suicide days before she played the semi-finals

Women’s soccer player Bella Bixby has revealed that her father died by suicide just days before she played in the semifinals of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Bella, 25, who plays goalkeeper for the Portland Thorns, said she “surprised herself” with her strength after competing with her team against the Chicago Red Stars at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday, Nov. 14. They lost the match 2-0.

During the game, an organization of local fans called the Rose City Riveters hung flowers and sweaters in honor of Bella’s father, Harold “Dean” Geist, who committed suicide on November 9 at age 64. five days before her competition.

After it was over, the sports star said she “couldn’t take it anymore,” so she took to Twitter to share the tragic news with the world.

Soccer star Bella Bixby revealed that her father died by suicide just days before she played in the thorns National Women's Soccer League semifinals.  She was photographed during the competition

Soccer star Bella Bixby revealed that her father died by suicide just days before she played in the thorns National Women’s Soccer League semifinals. She was photographed during the competition

She and her team - the Portland Thorns - played against the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon.  They lost 2-0.  She was photographed during the competition

She and her team - the Portland Thorns - played against the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon.  They lost 2-0.  She was photographed during the competition

She and her team – the Portland Thorns – played against the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. They lost 2-0. She was photographed during the competition

Bella, 25, who plays goalkeeper, said she 'surprises herself' with her strength

Bella, 25, who plays goalkeeper, said she 'surprises herself' with her strength

Bella, 25, who plays goalkeeper, said she ‘surprises herself’ with her strength

After the game, the sports star said she “couldn’t take it anymore,” so she took to Twitter to share the tragic news with the world

During the match, an organization of local fans called the Rose City Riveters hung flowers and jerseys around the venue in honor of Bella's father.

During the match, an organization of local fans called the Rose City Riveters hung flowers and jerseys around the venue in honor of Bella's father.

During the match, an organization of local fans called the Rose City Riveters hung flowers and jerseys around the venue in honor of Bella’s father.

“I don’t feel like I owe anyone an explanation, but I do feel like I’m ready to say it. My father died by suicide this week,” she wrote.

“I surprised myself by how strong I’ve been, but I couldn’t take it anymore. My playing for this city meant so much to him.

“I think regardless of tonight’s outcome I would have collapsed – you can only hold on for so long.

‘Thank you, Rose City, for the unconditional support this year. It was a good one. And thank you to the @PDXRivetersSG for having my dad as honorary capo tonight.”

Growing up in Milwaukie, Oregon, Bella made her professional debut for the Thorns on June 27, 2020, after graduating from Oregon State University.

Many of the young athlete's teammates took to Twitter to show their support, including Christine Sinclair, the team captain.  She said Bella's dad would be 'so proud of her'

Many of the young athlete's teammates took to Twitter to show their support, including Christine Sinclair, the team captain.  She said Bella's dad would be 'so proud of her'

Many of the young athlete’s teammates took to Twitter to show their support, including Christine Sinclair, the team captain. She said Bella’s dad would be ‘so proud of her’

Growing up in Milwaukie, Oregon, Bella made her professional debut for the Thorns on June 27, 2020. She is photographed as a child with her grandmother.

Growing up in Milwaukie, Oregon, Bella made her professional debut for the Thorns on June 27, 2020. She is photographed as a child with her grandmother.

Growing up in Milwaukie, Oregon, Bella made her professional debut for the Thorns on June 27, 2020. She is photographed as a child with her grandmother.

Growing up in Milwaukie, Oregon, Bella made her professional debut for the Thorns on June 27, 2020.

Growing up in Milwaukie, Oregon, Bella made her professional debut for the Thorns on June 27, 2020.

In July 2021, she set the NWSL record for most shutout minutes to begin a regular-season NWSL career, racking up 269 consecutive shutout minutes in her first three games.

In July 2021, she set the NWSL record for most shutout minutes to begin a regular-season NWSL career, netting 269 consecutive shutout minutes in her first three games. In December 2018, she married her longtime boyfriend, Elliot Bixby.

Many of the young athlete’s teammates took to Twitter to show their support, including Christine Sinclair, the team captain.

‘[Love] you Bella. Your father would be so proud of you,” she wrote. “Not the result we wanted, but it’s an honor to be on this team. Thank you Rose City for all the love and support this year.”

“I love you, Bella. Love our team. I love this city,” added Becky Sauerbrunn, who plays the defense for the Portland Thorns.

Angela Salem, who plays midfielder, wrote: ‘Proud to be your teammate! Proud of you! I love you @bellageist.’

“We love you, Bella. I can’t believe the strength you’ve shown over the past few days, you really are something special,” said Sophia Smith, playing forward.

Portland Thorns’ Twitter account also reposted Bella’s message, adding, “We love you, Bella.”

For confidential support, call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255.

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