Anna-Jonesboro soccer field renamed to honor coach killed in crash

AJ’s assistant soccer coach and alumni, Derek Harvell, passed away in January from a car crash....
AJ’s assistant soccer coach and alumni, Derek Harvell, passed away in January from a car crash. Friends and family gathered today as the AJ high school field was renamed and dedicated in Derek’s honor.(KFVS)
Published: Aug. 20, 2022 at 6:55 PM CDT
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ANNA, Ill. (KFVS) -Community members and loved ones came together to honor a young man in a Memorial Alumni Soccer Game today in Anna.

AJ’s assistant soccer coach and alumni, Derek Harvell, passed away in January from a car crash. Friends and family gathered today as the AJ high school field was renamed and dedicated in Derek’s honor.

Head organizer, Hannah Pineau, said his family simply wanted to bring his name back onto the field he once loved to play on.

Pineau said it was an emotional two months while getting the event together, but it was worth seeing the community show so much love for Derek and his family.

“We had a dedication for his name. We changed the name into his memorial,” Pineau said. “Just everybody loved him here, the community. Everybody is out here for him.”

We also spoke with Derek’s sister, Jessica Dean, who said her brother would be proud to see the community gathering to support and honor his legacy and the AJ soccer program.

“It’s bittersweet,” Dean said. “It’s sad that it has to be a thing, but I’m also very proud that he impacted people in such a way that everybody does come together.”

More than 75 alumni from 2009 to 2026 attended the event, while over three thousand dollars were raised in donations. All donations will go towards a scholarship fund in Derek’s name.