Alex Arellano was a young man who touched the lives of many in the NPSL, so much that the league crafted an award in his memory. Alex, the middle son of Real San Jose owner Nick Arellano, passed away in 2012 at the age of 25.
The Alexander Arellano Memorial Trophy was recently given to the league’s top coach. But what does that mean? What makes a great coach?
"You have to love what you’re doing, care for the individuals on the team, and show passion for the game," Nick stated. "Alex always reminds me of this everyday."
The Arellanos are a soccer family. Alex’s father founded the NPSL team in 2006. Alex’s two brothers have both been involved with the team. Nico has been both a player and coach, while Jonathan is the current goalkeeper for the San Jose side.
But no one doubts the impact and legacy left behind by Alex, nicknamed "Mo-Man" by those who knew him best. He was a special part of the Real San Jose team over the years.
Norma Arellano, Alex’s mother, was well aware of her son’s love of the game.
"Alex loved being part of the team pretending to be coach. He loved being part of the halftime talks. He loved the game atmosphere, but there was only one problem. He would cheer when all goals were scored, even for the other team. He loved being around his dad and brothers. He loved when the team would all come to the house to board the bus for away games and waving good by saying ’Daddy’s gonna win!’ Soccer was the only sport that he could play and that it was all about getting the ball in the net."
Alex became a fixture at matches, getting to share in the game his family loved. He was there on the edge of the action, on the bench and in the locker room, cheering his "teammates" on to their best effort.
No one was more inspired than Jonathan.
"Alex was the inspiration for me all my life to excel because I saw what he had to go through just to try and live a normal life. He was also a very talented unconventional speaker which really sparked things up in the locker room to get us that second wind we needed at times. He is missed dearly, but his impact on our lives is still felt today."
This wasn’t just a family thing as former RSJ captain Jesus Araujo attested.
"When I think of Alex I remember when he used to fool around with the guys. I remember Alex throwing his clipboard and his hat on the floor just like his dad. He was truly a member of the team and he loved soccer and being out there with us."
And they clearly enjoyed spending time with Alex.
Photos Courtesy of the Arellano Family