TRIBUTES have been paid to a young footballer with a “zest for life” who tragically died on a railway track.

Chaz Donohue, 18, died on the track at Burgess Hill Station last Monday night, leaving the community and people at his football club devastated.

He fell off the platform and by the time emergency services arrived he had died.

The teenager played for amateur side Haywards Heath Town FC and captained their under-18s side last season.

Chaz had played for the club since he was a boy, appearing for them at every level, including the first team.

He was passionate about football and his former coaches say he would play in any position just to get on the field.

Haywards Heath Town FC’s president Alan Jenkins told The Argus: “This has been such a tragedy for Chaz’s family and the football club as a whole.

“Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

“Chaz worked his way through the system at the club and it is pretty obvious he was a very popular character.”

At the club’s FA Youth Cup fixture on Thursday, more than 300 of Chaz’s friends and family members turned out in his honour to support the team. The under-18s lost 3-2 to Bognor in a match that went to extra-time.

A wreath was placed on the pitch and a minute’s applause was held.

The hundreds who attended managed to raise about £1,000 to be donated to Chaz’s family through proceeds at the bar and a collection.

Club secretary Mark Russ said: “It is with great sadness that I and the wider Haywards Heath community will never again be able to ride in the wake of Chaz’s zest for life following his untimely and premature death on Monday evening.

“Chaz was passionate about his football and put his heart and soul into every match he played.

“Chaz wanted to play in every match and didn’t care what position he was asked to play provided he was part of the team.

“Chaz turned up to every training session and not only his own age group but any other session that he could take part in as well, such was his love for the game of football.

“Chaz was the natural leader of his group of friends and they looked up to him for guidance and support both on and off the pitch. Off the pitch Chaz ensured his group of friends had a vibrant social life and they were always doing things together, which made their group spirit so strong.”

Dave Altendorff, Chaz’s under-18s coach, said he was a “top lad” and a popular member of the squad.

The two would both talk about West Ham United, the club they supported, when they saw each other.

Dave said: “A top lad who will be sorely missed by everyone connected with Haywards Heath FC and all who knew him. Rest in peace.”