On February 16, 2018, the world lost a great soccer coach and a truly outstanding human. I played under Coach Joe for roughly six years, and throughout that time we lost some games, won a lot of games, and even went on to have an undefeated season or two. However, my memories of Coach Joe aren't of the plays he called, the drills he had us run, or the victories he lead us to. My memories are of the love he shared with us.
Coach Joe was not your typical soccer coach. He did not tell us to stop drinking soda or to eat healthy; in fact, it was quite the opposite. I have many memories of the ice cream truck pulling around towards the end of practice, and him letting us finish early so he could buy us ice cream. I don't know of many coaches that would spend their own money to buy their player junk food, but he would. I remember eating pizza after practice, because why not? My dad and I used to go to Bonos after practice on Friday nights, and Coach Joe would join us every once in awhile, and we would talk about everything under the sun, and of course a lot about soccer.
Coach Joe also loved Jesus, and he made sure everyone knew. He used to wear a red polo to almost every practice and on one side it had a soccer ball and said "Head Coach" and on the other side it had a cross and said "Jesus." I don't know if he had multiples of that shirt or just the one, but he wore it all the time. He also had the "Real men love Jesus" sticker on the back of his big red truck. He wanted to share the faith he had with everyone because he genuinely loved people.
Coach Joe was fun to be around. He was always the life of the party whether he was doing an Elvis impression, telling a joke, or just plain goofing around. He was the kind of person that lived his life to the fullest. He would always take trips and travel with his wife and friends, and he was always eating at the best restaurants because he sure did love food. However, he was never selfish. He would give his time or money to anyone who needed it.
I, along with many others, am going miss Coach Joe. Coach Joe wasn't the best soccer coach because of the drill he ran or the calls he made. He was the best soccer coach because he knew that though soccer may seem important, the life lessons we took away at the end of the day were more important. He set a good example of how to live a full life, and I want to live my life like he did. He always gave to others, smiled and laughed no matter what, traveled the world, and loved everyone. He fought a hard battle with cancer, but now he is up in heaven with his son coaching soccer and eating the best food heaven has to offer.