Remembering Coach Sal Marroquin
Sal Marroquin was a beloved member of the Monsoon community, having taught and coached at Mayfair the past 18 years. On January 25, he tragically passed away at the age forty-three. However his memory lives on through all of the people he was able to touch during his tenure of life. Many people who knew Sal (as he was often referred to) can all agree that he truly cared about his players and was always looking to better them, not only on the field but in life as well. He was a loving husband and a proud father that will be missed indisputably, while his legacy on the soccer field and in the classroom will be cherished by countless people in our community.
Sal’s career at Mayfair started when he was hired as a varsity soccer coach and a substitute teacher in the 2001-2002 school year. As the years went by he quickly elevated Mayfair’s women’s varsity soccer program to a powerhouse in their division. For many years it was as if it was a guarantee for varsity to be in contention to win the Suburban League, as well as competing at the highest level for a CIF title. During his tenure as a coach, he qualified the squad for three consecutive CIF titles, winning two of them to go along with several league championships. Already stacked with accolades here at Mayfair, it comes to no surprise that he was just as successful in club soccer. Sal coached clubs that won championships on both the state and national levels, and had the privilege of coaching young women that would go on to have exceptional careers as soccer players. One including current U.S. national team star Alex Morgan.
Eduardo Nunes was Sal’s assistant coach for many years and the bond built between the two became more like a brotherhood. Their story started when they attended the same high school, but their friendship really didn’t begin until after they had both graduated. In 1999, when Sal got the head coaching position at Saint Joseph High School, he made the decision to keep Nunes --who had already been coaching there -- on his staff. That decision proved to be beneficial for the two of them as they remained coaching partners for twenty-two years. Nunes shared success with Sal at Mayfair and club teams alike, and it was also Sal who gave Nunes his first varsity coaching position. Nunes describes Sal as a friend and a mentor who is a key component as to why he is where he is today. “He not only mentored me but also connected me with a couple other great mentors that led to my success in coaching and has allowed me to make something I love so much a career,” stated Nunes. He also credits Sal with giving him the dream of being able to coach the women’s soccer team at Long Beach Community College, which he later turned into a reality. Throughout the time Nunes spent with Sal, the one thing he wishes he could have told him more was “thank you”.
Mayfair’s Athletic Director, Mr. Dennis Guerra, has his own unique story with Sal. Mr. Guerra, who at first was a women's soccer coach, considered Sal as a rival. In spite of the competitive nature between the two they were able to start a friendship built off respect away from the field. When Mr. Guerra was becoming acclimated to Mayfair, he recalls Sal being very gracious and friendly. Since then he marvels at how he once considered Sal a rival as his humorous nature and ability to show acceptance really made him stand out. Sal’s passion for the game is one aspect of his legacy that left a lasting impression on Mr. Guerra. He claims that Sal “raised soccer players at Mayfair. He coached them to become women….his passion and fever for soccer passed on to his players.” Mr. Guerra also shares that Sal was able to leave a “passion for his athletes and students in a way of doing things right while having humor and a positive outlook on the future.”
Former players Lauren Vasquez and Suhei Castillo -- both class of 2018-- were also affected by Sal’s loveable yet competitive behavior. Vasquez says that he was a person who helped her thrive to become a better player and person. According to her, he was always there to reassure her that she was capable of getting things done on and off the field. Throughout her duration of high school, she was able to make many unforgettable memories with him. One that stands out the most to her was during her senior year banquet where he gathered Vasquez and her three closest friends, Brooke, Jasmine, and Haley in a tiny huddle. In that huddle he started to express how proud he was of them and how he would always be there for them. To Vasquez that was a moment she will cherish forever. She also explains how Sal would consistently check on them even after they graduated. Unfortunately the last time he would reach out to her was the Friday before his death in which he exclaimed that he “couldn’t believe it had been five years since her freshman year”. Suhei Castillo would have the privilege to play for Sal both in high school and college. With that experience she was able to see different aspects of the way he coached. She states, “In high school he was serious a lot of the time with us mostly because we were training…we would occasionally get the fun, goofy coach who would mess around with us and meg us any chance he got”.. Castillo’s bond with Sal would continue to grow as he coached her in college, where his constructive criticism and constant motivation helped his players excel. The bond between the two is something Castillo believes she will never forget and believes he is a focal point of where she is as a player today. Current varsity soccer player and senior Jazmin Martinez will always remember Sal as being someone who believed in her as a player and as a person when she was unable to believe in herself. Martinez says Sal taught her to always be strong no matter the situation she got herself into and to never doubt herself in moments that may be stressful. “I can never forget Sal...He was an amazing coach with a big heart and he's the one who made the program so eventful,” she exclaims.
As mentioned before, Sal was a loving husband and proud father. His wife, Coach Erin Brown, also teaches at Mayfair as a middle school SDC English teacher, and is the head varsity coach for the softball team. They met at Mayfair as teachers, but the relationship grew as they coached with each other and socialized outside of work. They would often go out to celebrate with other coaches after games and the two would be friends for a long time before they started to date. They would eventually get married in 2016, making Coach Brown the stepmother to his two daughters Sophia (13) and Olivia (11). The couple later welcomed their son Luka to the world in May 2020. Sal’s legacy will be continued through his children as they grow older and thrive in school along with their sport of interest. When it comes to Coach Brown, she continues to miss her husband. “He was the most amazing husband and father. He was my rock and will forever be in my heart,” she said. Laughing with him is one thing she misses the most, but she knows that although he is gone, he will watch over their family pridefully and with a smile on his face.
On February 5, Mayfair held a candlelight vigil to show their love and gratitude for what Sal did for our community. An abundance of people who knew him from the past or in the present showed up to pay their respect. Sal is remembered by his players and colleagues as someone who was great at what he did and enjoyed every moment of his occupation. The bond he built with his players will never be broken and they will always be appreciative of all the lessons he was able to pass on to them. He believed in every student and player that was introduced into his life, and used his experience to help better others on and off the field. His legacy lives through all Mayfair alumni past, present, and future as the teams coached by him will remain on the banners hanging in our gymnasium. Sal will forever be missed but never forgotten, because once a Monsoon, always a Monsoon.
Sal and his Wife, Erin Brown, are shown in the first picture, while the others include him with past players from Mayfair and his baby boy Luka.