Before he became a soccer dad, Pat Goodyears knowledge of the sport was limited to one game he stumbled upon in La Maddalena, Italy, when he was in the U.S. Navy.
I went into town to get some wine, he said, and I hear this noise and being a silly sailor, I have to go investigate.
He found townspeople gathered for a soccer match against a neighboring village. He wound up staying for the game and thoroughly enjoying it, little knowing at the time that soccer would become amajor part of his life.
It happened like this: Back in California in the early 1980s, Goodyears oldest son, Nicholas, joined a youth soccer team in Los Osos. Goodyear attended one of his sons practices and was dismayed to hear the coach barking commands at the 6- and 7-year-olds.
He took the coach aside and got the typical response: If you think you can do a better job, you do it
Goodyear took him up on the offer, and gave himself a crash course in soccer.
I had to learn the game out of books, he recalled. Thats pretty much how I learned to read the game.
Nearly 30 years later, hes still at it, volunteering for the South Bay Soccer Association. For years, he juggled his work schedule he recently retired as a control technician at Diablo Canyon Power Plant so he would be able to make games and practices.
Hes now coaching his second generation of soccer kids, including his granddaughter. Not only has he taught the fundamentals of soccer to hundreds of children, hes also served as referee and director of referees. When his own children expressed interest in learning to ref, he started a program to recruit and train youngsters 12 and older to officiate at games.
The young referees he mentors have a minimum of 16 hours of classroom training, followed by field practice. They also have to pass a written test. Rather than turning them loose, to sink or swim, Goodyear continues to supervise them after theyre certified to referee.
He watches them while theyre reffing, said parent Terry Finegan, another soccer volunteer. He coaches them on what they did wrong and what they did right. He is so protective of those kids out there.
Goodyears contributions to youth soccer have been invaluable, Finegan said.
We shudder in our shoes (thinking about) the day they say theyre stepping down, she said of Goodyear and another longtime volunteer, Stan Furnis-Lawrence, who is in charge of registration.
We really dont know how well ever do all the things they do. It scares us to death.
She can relax a little; Goodyear said hell continue to volunteer with the soccer organization till they put me in the ground.
Volunteering is a family tradition: He remembers his mother stayed active as a 4-H leader long after her children had grown.
Still, Goodyear is quick to say that the small cadre of South Bay Soccer volunteers could use more assistance, and there are many, many opportunities to volunteer coaching, field prep, refereeing, registering and more.
We need younger parents who have kids just beginning soccer to step in and get involved, he said. You dont necessarily have to have prior knowledge. You learn by doing.
Pat Goodyear is a perfect example of what can be accomplished through the learn by doing method, and were proud to honor him as a Tribune unsung hero.
HOW TO HELP
To learn more about volunteer opportunities with South Bay Soccer Association, go to http://sbsa.us
THE UNSUNG HERO SERIES
Although The Tribune seeks to celebrate our communitys quiet heroes throughout the year, its especially appropriate to do so during the holidays, when we pause to give thanks, gather with friends and family and share the warmth and light that brightens our lives.
These unsung heroes are people who practice the Golden Rule and are passionate about their causes but seek no return for their actions other than the satisfaction that comes with helping others.
By highlighting individuals who unselfishly apply their energy and skills to lighten the burden of others, we hope, first, to offer these community heroes the appreciation they deserve; second, to let those who could use the help know of available resources; and third, to inspire others who are able to help in whatever way they can.