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Hilltop community honors teen killed in July shooting through the sport he loved

Issa Jeylani, 15, loved the game of soccer. He played left center back, was full of energy, and loved spending time with his friends and teammates.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Issa Jeylani loved the game of soccer. He played left center back, was full of energy, and loved spending time with his friends and teammates.

It’s been four weeks since the 15-year-old was shot and killed on the city’s west side. To honor him, his peers and members of the Hilltop community met at Wilson Road Park to play the game he loved.

The tournament was hosted by Neighborhood Athletics, an organization that aims to keep kids out of the streets with mentoring, community service and athletics.

10TV spoke with Faisao Abdi, one of Issa’s teammates.  

"I wish he was here... I really do,” said Adbi. "I'm happy that we're doing this for him. We came out here, and we're supporting each other, we're doing it for Issa," said Abdi. 

Jeylani was killed in a shooting in late July. The Franklin County Sheriff's Office told 10TV deputies were called to the 4400 block of Sherwood Forest North in Franklin Township just before 10:30 p.m. where they found 15-year-old Issa Jeylani.

Jeylani was taken to Nationwide Children's Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

“It's a tragedy that brings us all together, but for all of us, this means so much,” said Aden Mohamed, Issa’s former coach.

He told 10TV that all Issa wanted to do was play soccer before his life was cut short. Having this tournament gives people the chance to play the game and carry on his legacy.

Organizers tell 10TV that they hope to have another tournament next year and bring more people together.

"I feel like he's happy about it,” said Abdi as he glanced at the field. “He really loved soccer I mean, he loved soccer.”  

Winners of Saturday's games will play in the championship on Sunday.

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