Austin Bold player Promise Isaac, who played for the Nigerian international team and made stops in the Turkish Super Lig and Saudi Pro League in his 15-year pro career, died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack at his South Austin apartment complex night. He was 31.
According to an Austin American-Statesman report Thursday, emergency medical services personnel responded to a cardiac arrest call at the gym of the apartment complex where Isaac and a number of other Bold players live. Isaac was pronounced dead at the scene nearly an hour after the original call.
“The greatest loss a team can suffer is not on the scoreboard — it’s the death of a fellow teammate,” Austin Bold FC Chairman Bobby Epstein said in a statement issued by the club Thursday. “It is with shock and grief that we acknowledge the sudden death of Promise Isaac. On behalf of the Bold organization, we wish his wife, children and family strength and peace as they struggle to cope with his death.”
As of late Thursday, the Bold had not yet determined how they would commemorate Isaac, though Bold spokesperson Julien Llerena noted all USL clubs would observe a moment of silence prior to kickoff of this weekend’s matches.
The Nigerian-born Isaac, who featured for the silver medal-winning team in the 2008 Olympics, was one of the highest-profile signings for the inaugural Bold squad. In one of his spotlight moments of 2019, he scored the final goal in the Bold’s attempted comeback against the Houston Dynamo in U.S. Open Cup play in June. The Dynamo eventually held on to the 3-2 win after being up 3-0 at halftime, but the Bold saw the match as a positive that gave the squad renewed belief going forward.
In the Bold’s inaugural season in USL Championship, Isaac made 20 appearances, scoring three goals. He scored 79 goals total in his pro career, making more than 350 appearances in a career spanning 15 years.
The Bold, currently fifth in the Western Conference standings, had been slated to play against the fourth-place Real Monarchs SLC Saturday in Utah in a match with playoff implications for both teams. It has been postponed to October 16 following the news.
Isaac is survived by a wife and three children.