With 40 years of experience in the Squamish Youth Soccer Association (SYSA), Jose Oreamuno’s legacy was always going to live on.
But the SYSA cemented his name in club history with a surprise at its June 24 awards ceremony, surprising him by renaming the U17/18 Male MVP Award in his honour.
“This award was a big surprise but it meant a lot to me,” he said. “They remembered my years of volunteering, so it was a little emotional.... I’m very grateful.”
At the ceremony, Oreamuno also received the Roy Penrose Award for contributions toward the betterment of soccer.
In his time with the club, he’s served as both a coach at all age levels, as well as a referee. He’s currently the SYSA’s head referee.
“I was a coach until my kids grew up. I was still playing, up until five years ago, some level of soccer,” he said, noting his friend, the late Bob Mangher, encouraged him to become a referee.
“I’m so grateful that he got me involved in refereeing. It’s the highest level that I’ve been involved in.”
Oreamuno arrived in Canada from Chile in 1978, following his sister to Squamish. He quickly got involved playing in the men’s league and when his family arrived the following year, he started coaching in the youth association.
In his four-plus decades in Squamish, Oreamuno has seen the sport develop in the corridor, particularly noting the increase in skill level.
“It was not as good as now. I remember, in all aspects, in all levels of soccer, there was the odd player that was really above average,” he said.
SYSA president Tim Sjogren was thrilled to surprise Oreamuno with the honour.
“He’s a pretty humble guy, so he was pretty surprised and taken aback by it. It’s very much deserved. He put so many years — 40 years — into the youth soccer program, and we were pretty fortunate to have that kind of dedication in Squamish,” Sjogren said. “He’s always been supporting the program, whether it’s been through coaching his kids, playing, refereeing.”
The awards ceremony event was held outdoors as a precaution against COVID-19, and Sjogren said attendees were glad to see it all come together.
“The people who came truly appreciated the effort that we put in and were happy to come,” he said.