Eulogies of

Jose Manuel "Sammy" Calvo

16th March, 1951 - 11th February, 2001

Brian Boatman, player and Manager of North Branford SC writes:

"I have had the honor and privilege of being a teammate of Joe Calvo's for the last 10 years. Joe predominantly played Sweeper and I Goalkeeper on some very good defensive teams over these many years in North Branford. Joe's competitiveness and work rate were always a standard of excellence for his teammates and competitors to aspire. Joe was a very passionate player and he was tough on all players if you didn't go into battle with the same spirit equal to his.

"To Joe the game was very simple. Success is measured in winning as well as how you play the game. Put simply, you compete every game with skill, patience, persistence and incredible effort. With Joe there were no short cuts in the pursuit of excellence on the field. I have a feeling he was the same way in business in regard to his work at Empire Paving.

"The last two years as a Soccer Player were very difficult for Joe. Nagging injuries and a knee surgery limited Joe to just a few matches in those two years. Despite these challenges, Joe poured his efforts into rehabilitation and never gave up on realizing his dream of playing with his oldest Son Joseph. Sadly, Joe was injured on September 10, 2000, and was not able to join his Son on the field for the balance of fall 2000 when Joseph became eligible to play a few short weeks later. Since Joe's passing we have donated that very Game Ball (signed by all) from September 10 to his family as that is the last match he will ever play for North Branford SC. Joe's Game Jersey #6 has been retired by the team and will be preserved eternally in his honor. It is also appropriate that Northford Park be renamed in Joe's Honor as it was on that ground that Joe created some of the original Soccer Fields in North Branford where he spent thousands of hours training the youth Soccer players of the future.

"To measure Joe Calvo as purely a Soccer Player, Team Manager or Coach is a huge understatement of this man. Soccer was his personal passion but his love of people and giving to others, especially children, was his lifetime priority.

"Joe was for many of us a mentor, big brother, advisor and friend. For the children he coached he was more like a family relative than your Coach. Joe was an intimate man who touched your life and made you feel good each time you came in contact with him. His smile was contagious and his laugh hilarious. Seeing the several hundred Adults and Children attend his service this evening is testament to how far his love reached.

"It is safe to say that in over 20+ years of coaching children in North Branford and the South Central District that Joe Coached thousands of children. There are many children today that owe a great debt to Joe Calvo. Whether it be the fields they played within or the education he shared with them or his fellow coaches that permeated to thousands more children.

"Joe's many talents will be missed but his great spirit, love and generosity are irreplaceable to those people he touched.

"I will profoundly miss Joe Calvo as he was my mentor, teammate and close friend. His family and the many close friends Joe had will always have my deepest sympathies for their loss."

Doug Stone, player of North Branford SC remembers:

"I have played on the North Branford over-30 Soccer Club for the past eight years and developed a great admiration for Joe. He may well have been the best all-around defender I have every played with or against. He was fearless, had great reflexes and great ball sense. He was a superb and precise tackler, and rarely fouled. You could not get around the guy cleanly. He was also a skilled player on the ball and scored some timely goals for us over the years. But my admiration for Joe was equally based on the unselfish way he played and ran the team as manager. He didn't argue or complain on the field; he was willing to take himself out to let someone else play (we didn't always want him to do this since he was so crucial to our defense!); generally he set the standard of maturity and sportsmanship for the club. Joe and I had a bond on the field because we both liked to defend, even though we had skills to play in midfield; we used to tell 'defender jokes' about our more offensive-minded team-mates during breaks in the action. I will miss his camaraderie a lot. Joe was equally committed to his youth coaching and in fact in recent years would give that precedence over his own games (something I could never bring myself to do). Those of us who have played on these senior teams for some time realize that it is only due to guys like Joe Calvo that a senior team works. You need the club to be run by someone who is an excellent player and is also unselfish enough to do the chores that need to be done and set a good example. There are few who combined those qualities as well as Joe did. He certainly enriched my life and I owe him a debt of gratitude. The club and the Connecticut soccer community have lost a great man."

Bert Plant, player of North Branford SC remembers:

"I have been playing soccer for 32 years and will be starting my 12th season with North Branford Soccer Club this Spring. I was devastated when I heard the news about Joe Calvo's death. In all my years of playing I have encountered very few men of the caliber of Joe Calvo. Joe was an excellent player, a highly valued team mate and a true team leader and organizer. He was both a fierce competitor and a consummate sportsman, always fair, humble in victory and gracious in defeat. He was passionate about this game he loved and about his community and his family. But perhaps the most important thing I know about Joe Calvo is that he was a good man to the core. I will miss him and my heart goes out to his family, friends, coworkers and team mates."

Kevin Currie, player of North Branford SC remembers:

"As this will only be my third year playing with NBSC I've known Joe for less time than many, but I've played and practiced enough with him to at least begin to appreciate the kind of person he was. Joe was an instantly likeable man, with an amiable nature and an infectious passion and enthusiasm for soccer. On the field, he gave 100% (at least) and expected the same from his teammates. Not only did he expect it, but he managed to inspire the best effort of those around him, not through criticism or pressure, but through example and encouragement. Clearly, these rare qualities extended beyond the soccer field into other areas of his life. The loss experienced by NBSC and the soccer community in general is great, but must pale in comparison to that suffered by Joe's family, and my thoughts are with them at this difficult time. I wouldn't be surprised if Joe was still playing, its just that the game is somewhere else now."

Ken DiCapua, player of North Branford SC remembers:

"It is with a sad heart that I write this note regarding the passing of our friend and teammate Joe Calvo. Much like Kevin, I only had the opportunity to get to know Joe over the past four seasons with the North Branford Soccer Club. In this short period of time I feel that I was blessed to have played with him, and more so to have known him off the field. There was something very special about Joe that endeared him to all that had the pleasure of meeting him. He defined our team, and for me, encompassed everything to which we should strive to be, both on and off the field.

"I remember one particular rainy and cold spring game when car troubles left me stranded at the Northford Park field. Joe was the last player leaving, and although I had already called for a tow, he refused to head home until he knew that I had been picked up. He even called his son, who he proudly explained was a whiz with cars, and had him come to help diagnose the problem. Joe sat with me for about two hours, ignoring my requests to get on his way and did not leave until the tow truck took my car and myself out of the parking lot. It is with great certainty that I can say all those who knew Joe must have a story similar to this. He never hesitated to help someone in need, offer a hand or set an example that one could follow.

"I will miss Joe.

"My deepest sympathies to his wife and sons, as well as the hundreds of people who's lives were touched by him."

Hugo Vivero, player and Manager of Colchester SC writes:

"I have known Joe and played against him for as long as I can remember and I have never found a better competitor or friend in the field. A true gentleman and a wonderful individual. I personally will certainly miss him and I wish his family my deepest sympathy on this great loss to us all."

Joe Carlos, former manager of Waterbury Morse Watchman and now player with Cheshire Azzurri writes:

"When I read the news that Joe had passed away, it literally sent a shock wave though my body. I was incredulous... Joe was a great guy. He will be sorely missed. I had the pleasure of seeing Joe periodically at 30+ games, sometimes just bumping into each other socially, and most recently at premier games, where we coached against each other. In all these encounters, Joe always had time for an extended greeting and a smile. He was a relaxed individual at peace with himself. His departure is shocking because we all know it could happen to any of us. He will be remembered for his smile, his kindness and willingness to give back, especially to the younger generation. He impacted many hearts -- young and old. His passion and the memories of a great person will stay with us forever."

Kirk Anderson, player and Manager of Fairfield Gaelic American Club SC writes:

"On behalf of myself and my teammates from the GAC Soccer Club, I wish to send our condolences to Joe's family and teammates. I remember with pride many of the matches against his North Branford side. These games were always hard fought and we always came away from them with a satisfied feeling win or lose. I have known Joe since our team joined the league in 1989. It was a pleasure to work with him at league meetings and a greater pleasure to play against him on the field. He was the consummate sportsman and a genuine nice guy. He will be truly missed."

Garry Archer of the SASL Executive Board writes:

"I have known Joe since the SASL was formed 20 years ago when my team, Clinton SC (now called Madison FC), and his team, North Branford SC were inaugural members. For most of those years I have played against him, but, recently after I joined North Branford SC in 2000 I have had the pleasure of playing with Joe too! We also managed our respective clubs, so we would always see each other at League meetings as well. Joe and I are examples of only a few players left in this League who have played in every division the SASL ever formed. We had played almost every team, past and present, in the history of the League. Joe Calvo was North Branford Soccer Club. His club mates are massively devastated. He was an excellent player, a very tough central defender, but he also lead his club with dignity and distinction through thick and thin. He is irreplaceable. Joe passed away while playing the game he had loved all his life, he was surrounded by his team-mates and best friends. I take a little comfort from that, but my heart pours out to his family, he was far too young to be taken out of The Big Game of life."