A Tribute to Guillermo Navarrete, 1997-2019

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A Tribute to Guillermo Navarrete, 1997-2019

Juan Avila, Author

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We were not the closest of friends, and we never hung out or got to know each other much. But we had a strong connection through soccer. I still remember the days when I would go practice by myself at Capital, where I always saw you practicing by yourself. I knew you were watching how I would try to dribble and make a knuckleball. You came up to me and gave me a drill to work on that helped me improve. At the end of the day, you told me, ¨Push yourself harder, even when the odds are against you. Soon you will surpass me and become a prodigy.¨

Guillermo Navarrete died Jan. 7. He jumped in front of a Rail Runner train. He was 21.

Guillermo impacted my life in a way no one else could, in so little time, just by watching him. Memo was the best of the best. I just knew when he had the ball he could beat anyone. Even the best of Capital’s defenders couldn’t stop him, and neither could any other team. The way he controlled the ball and made tricks that no could replicate made him stand out from everyone else.

But it wasn’t just me who he gave tips to about not giving up. He would tell everyone else not to give up on what they were doing and to keep going forward. His achievements impacted the lives of every person he knew.

¨He was more than just a friend,” said Ulysses Lozoya, who calls himself Chiva. “He was my brother. We grew up together. We played on the same teams together. We won so many championships together, and we even won State. We always helped each other out to make better of ourselves. He will always be in our hearts.¨

In 2014, his senior year, Memo and the varsity Capital soccer team had consecutive wins where they outscored the other teams with their talent, finishing the season with an overall record of 20-2-1. With all their blood and sweat, Capital beat Albuquerque Academy in the state championship. Memo started the play and made the big assist for Alexis Romo to score the winning goal in second overtime. It was the first time Capital had ever won State.

Memo, the captain, believed in his team. Growing up with all his teammates, he developed a strong connection with them. Here’s an excerpt from a piece he wrote for Youth Media Project, about how he saw himself as the captain of the soccer team.

¨A team can be more than a group of people participating together in order to obtain a victory. As a captain, I have seen myself looking at my teammates as family, and them looking at me the same way. The passion we share makes that emotion even bigger once we step into the field.
In order to give the best of you, you need determination, self-discipline and most important heart for the sport. Waking up at 6 a.m. for that extra work has to be no excuse if you really want it. There have been times when I’m too tired or mentally exhausted, and all I can think in is in a single quote,” When you stop, someone else is getting stronger, better, smarter.”

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