Soccer coaches

Former Croatia soccer coach Tomislav Ivic, who died recently, was considered the most successful soccer coach in history by virtue of winning eight national titles in six countries.

Many American soccer coaches and players, whose teams were more local than national, also died in recent months.

Edgar Borg (Virginia Gazette)Edgar H. Borg, of Williamsburg, Virginia, who died May 23 at age 82, “loved soccer, and served as a scout for the New York Cosmos, a former New York professional soccer team. He also coached the New York City High School Soccer All-Stars to a second place victory.”

Borg, who taught history and economics in New York for 30 years, co-wrote The Encyclopedia of American War Films in 1989, according to the obit published in the Virginia Gazette.

Donna Lee Cohee, a registered nurse, who died June 17 at age 71, “will also be remembered for her countless volunteer hours at church, elementary schools, and her 11 years coaching on the AYSO soccer field,” according to the obit in the Ventura County Star.

Bruce Furst, who died June 6 at age 61, coached school and club soccer teams for boys and for girls at various age levels for decades, according to his obituary published in Inside Bay Area.

“One of Bruce’s girls’ teams won the Northern California state championship and he took another girls’ team to the finals of the state championship. He also took one of his boys’ teams to the semi-finals of the state championship.”

Winning isn’t everything.

“More than the championships, Bruce leaves a legacy of positively influencing the lives of every player he coached, the parents of his players, and all the other coaches he mentored. Bruce was a naturally gifted teacher and not only did he teach soccer, he taught all he touched how to compete, how to both win and lose graciously, and how to be a good teammate.”

Furst, a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, had “played on the Colorado soccer team as a midfielder and also served as the captain of the team.”

A scholarship fund was established in his name to aid low income soccer players as they pursue their passion for the game.

Jan Ohms (Litchfield County Times)Jan Simon Ohms, who died May 27 at age 85, was a member of “the undefeated, National Champion 1948 All-American Soccer Team where he made the winning assist under coach Jack Squires,” according to the obit in the Litchfield County Times in Connecticut. He was better known as a horticulturist who, over his lifetime, supplied “close to a billion flower bulbs to botanical, public and private gardens across the United States.”


This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer who lives in Northeast Ohio. She is director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.