Mundelein father loves to coach soccer
Mundelein Sunday, 6/10/12 Juan Martinez and his children, Juan, 18, Jennifer, 12, and Tony, 11. Martinez is a soccer coach for the Mundelein Soccer Club. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
NAME: Juan Martinez
OCCUPATION: Alarm technician for Active Alarm Co. in Lake Zurich
VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: Coaches youth soccer for the Mundelein Soccer Club
WORDS TO LIVE BY: “Always be positive, no matter what.”
Updated: July 15, 2012 6:27AM
Juan Martinez always wants to be there for his kids, whether it be on the soccer field or in the game of life.
The 44-year-old Mundelein resident has been coaching youth soccer in Mundelein for seven years, the last two years for a team with the Mundelein Soccer Club.
“I do all of this for my kids,” said Martinez, the father of three. “I love sports but I do this because my kids are there.”
A former amateur soccer player for many years, Martinez coaches the Mundelein Strikers, the team his youngest son, Anthony, age 11, plays on. He previously coached soccer with the American Youth Soccer Association for his other children, Juan, 18, and Jennifer, 12.
“I love this sport,” said Martinez. “I want to keep coaching this sport. I’m here for my kids.”
“I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I’m a pretty boring guy,” he said with a chuckle.
Originally from Mexico, Martinez has lived in the United States for about 25 years and is a U.S. citizen. As a coach, he tries to counsel all the kids on his team, about half of whom are Hispanic, to make good decisions and stay away from drugs.
‘All my kids’
“I tell the parents that they’re all my kids when they’re on the soccer field,” he said.
Martinez’ daughter Jennifer said her dad taught her basics of soccer and some tricks with the soccer ball. “He wanted me to play sports so I can stay fit and active,” she said.
Jennifer Martinez said on Father’s Day the children will often bring their dad breakfast in bed and give him a gift.
“One year, we drew a picture of him and put in his car. It said ‘Happy Father’s Day’ and we drew pictures of him and what he likes to do,” she said.
His oldest son, Juan, who just graduated from Mundelein High School, said his dad taught him soccer and he played soccer for three years in high school. He said his dad has been a positive influence of his life and encouraged him to stay on the right track and get good grades in school.
“He tries to teach the kids (on the soccer team) so they know the dangers of doing drugs,” he said. “He influences them not to do that stuff.”
Outside of soccer, Martinez said he stays involved with his kids’ lives in other ways. He and his wife, Josefina, take their children to Santa Maria del Popolo Church on Sundays and they will often out to eat as a family or will watch a movie together.
“I’m a family guy,” he said. “A lot of Hispanic families don’t spend enough time with their kids. You have to spend time with your kids or they will do bad stuff.”