Kiwi footballer Elliot Collier scores goal in memory of fallen Christchurch friend

He may have scored the first ever goal for new football club Memphis 901, but Kiwi midfielder Elliot Collier was emotional for a different reason.

Just hours before the USL Championship match from AutoZone Park started, Collier found out a friend who was shot during the Christchurch massacre didn't survive his surgery.

The 24-year-old played the match with a black armband - paying his respects to his fallen friend.

"I knew that today I was going to score for them," he said.

"It's been a rough couple of days, but that's been something that I have to deal with - but it doesn't change that I got to come out here and do what I've got to do."

His goal meant the Tennessee side secured a 1-1 draw.

"The team's been great, always there asking if I need anyone to talk to and trying to take my mind off it and keep me positive and locked in for the game," he said.

The goal provided an emotional lift for what had been a difficult weekend for Collier and New Zealand.