The Columbus Crew announced Sunday that midfielder Kirk Urso, 22, died after being found unresponsive in front of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral near the Arena District.
Team spokesman Marco Rosa says details of Urso's death are still being determined. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
Jon Shivener was a witness at the scene and said Urso was found just before 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Shivener said he was standing just a few feet away as paramedics worked on Urso.
"He starts checking for a pulse. Both sides of his neck from there. As soon as a police officer standing near saw that he didn't have a pulse, the police officer is the one who dropped to his knees and started giving CPR," said Shivener.
Columbus Police dispatchers said a special duty officer at Park Street Patio across the street called the fire department for help.
Columbus Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Fowler said when medics arrived, the victim was not alert.
"When we got there, we had an unconscious male that was in full arrest," said Fowler. "We had started CPR and started our protocol for that when we went to the hospital. The hospital reported him as dead."
Urso had been injured and Rosa said he was not with the team for its 1-0 loss Saturday to D.C. United in Washington.
Urso had been in his first season with the Crew. He was picked up in the supplemental draft in January. A native of Lombard, Ill., he had played on North Carolina's NCAA title-winning team last fall and for the U.S. under-17 World Cup team in 2007.
He is survived by his mother, father and brother.
Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for all the latest.