FAIRFIELD — Edwin Huaco’s passion for soccer is as strong as ever.
Huaco, 62, is currently helping coach his granddaughter’s under-10 team, the Diamonds, in the Fairfield-Suisun Youth Soccer League.
This is just another step in Huaco’s soccer career, which started in 1969 when he played on a semi-pro team in Peru.
“Ever since then (playing in Peru), I have loved the game. I just love the game,” Huaco said. “My career is very long in coaching (since then). I’ve coached kids all the way to adults. It’s just a passion of mine.”
Huaco’s coaching spans many levels, from youth leagues to Crystal Middle School, Will C. Wood High School and even a stint as an assistant coach at Merritt College in Oakland.
He still plays the game, too, participating in a Vacaville league.
“For me, there wasn’t any difference (coaching at all the different levels),” Huaco said. “My philosophy is to teach soccer. Everywhere I go, whatever team, I just coach (the players) to their abilities, because the love of the game is there. (All the levels of play) are the same (for me).
“I just want to teach them right, what’s going on in the game. It’s the knowledge they want, as long as they do what they are told to do.”
There’s a lot of memories for Huaco, but one stuck out to him when he was coaching at Merritt College.
“(One time at Merritt), the kids couldn’t eat (because of the Islamic month of Ramadan),” the coach said. “They tried so hard at trying to make it through (the month). That was a good experience. The American kids helped them (get through it).
“We were one. It wasn’t black, white, Hispanic, nothing. We were one. Everyone practiced (on the brink of fainting). You never heard complaining.”
Huaco also noted another memory that still sticks with him – taking Wood to the section finals for the first time in school history in 2005.
Even at his age, Huaco has no plans to slow down, whether it’s playing or continuing to coach his granddaughter.
“With me, I will be coaching (until I can’t anymore),” Huaco said. “I want to give back to the kids what I know. If I don’t give back to the kids, (then it’s a waste). I just want to coach them.”
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.