Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

One of the good ones is taken

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Contrary to public belief, or the feeling you might get reading this blog, not every coach is a nutjob or is under siege from parents. Hugo Bustamante was one of the good ones. Unfortunately, outside his immediate circle, no one knew that until tragedy struck.

Bustamante, 46, and a co-worker died Thursday when they were shot to death by a fellow co-worker at the Long Beach Memorial Hospital pharmacy in California. The attacker then shot and killed himself. Police don’t know his motive, and they think they might never know.

Bustamante was married with a young daughter and son. According to this story from the Orange County Register, Bustamente helped out with his daughter’s softball team but spent most of his coaching time with soccer. He was, to say the least, not a yeller. From the Register:

When he was volunteered to help coach his daughter’s AYSO soccer team, the Cypress Cyclones, the former college soccer player smiled and helped coach them to compete in a Southern California championship game.

At the start of the season, Bustamante’s gentle demeanor had some parents wondering whether he could push the kids hard enough, but he made believers of them, team mom Melissa Tan-Torres said.

“He had that soft, gentle voice, but he could get the kids to do what he wanted,” Tan-Torres said.

“He was exactly everything right about youth sports. He never pushed them,” said Glenn Morikawa, whose daughter played on the Cyclones.

Being right about youth sports also gained Bustamante a measure of fame in the Los Angeles area.

When Bustamante’s U-10-year-old girls qualified for the state finals by default because the team that beat them could not afford the trip, the Cyclones tried to raise the money for their opponents so they could play in the championship game instead of going themselves.

The team only ended up raising $300, but one of the fundraising e-mails was sent to KIIS-FM D.J. Ryan Seacrest, who paid for a charter bus and hotel rooms for the Huntington Park team and gave the kids spending money for the trip, Tan-Torres said.

On the way back, the girls from the Huntington Park and Cypress teams got to be special guests of the Los Angeles Sol and go out on the field at halftime of one of their games.

The team was to be honored at Saturday’s Los Angeles Dodgers game, but decided to cancel after Bustamante’s death.

RIP, coach. And let’s remember there are more of him out there than you’d think.


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