AUSTIN SOCCER COMMUNITY LOSES ANOTHER ICON.
The Austin soccer community lost another one of its own on August 25, 2014 when Efrain Loayza passed on to play in that big soccer field in the sky.
Efrain first jumped into the spotlight when he formed and played with the Peru Soccer Team around 1977. They played in the First Division of the Austin Municipal Soccer League (AMSA) as it was known back then and went on to win the division for the first time in 1977. They later won the division again in 1981 and were a highly competitive team to play against.
In later years, as many of the players grew too old to play Division 1 soccer, Efrain formed the team known as Chez Nous playing them in the AMSA Over 30 division. By now the League had changed its name to Austin Men’s Soccer Association and as an Over 30 team, Chez Nous won the top Over 30 division several times and were always known as the team to beat. Efrain in his playing days had a reputation for his ferocious tackling and no-nonsense play. With him on the field, everyone knew what to expect, 100% effort for the entire game. One of these tackles led to him getting an ankle injury that subsequently forced him to retire from actively playing. Early on, Efrain coached a women’s team and rumor has it, that is where he met his wife, Katherine.
Although, no longer able to play, Efrain became the manager for the Chez Nous team which he did right up until the team retired from the league a couple of years ago. Prior to this, Efrain had become active in the running of AMSA. The league had grown under the different Presidents and had well over a hundred teams playing every weekend. There was a general consensus among a couple of the very influential members of the Board that it would be very practical to own and maintain our own soccer fields. A general move was made with that in mind but no specific plans were put in place.
Efrain also had his own opinions about the State Association that AMSA belonged to. Consequently, he ran for Vice President with a view to changing the way that the Association did business with the teams. He served one two-year term before deciding that his services would be put to better use at the local level.
In 2002, Efrain became the President of AMSA and really began a push with the intent on finding land enough for several soccer fields that AMSA could develop. In the meantime, the City of Austin had passed a bond to acquire land to build a dozen or so fields but lacked the resources to develop them. With Efrain as the point man, Brian Hardin as the “money man” and Jim Alsup providing the legal counsel, an agreement was reached with the city for the City to partner with AMSA to develop Onion Creek into a soccer complex that AMSA would maintain and have the full use of.
In retrospect, it was a perfect storm of events. A Spanish-speaking AMSA President dealing with an Hispanic PARD Director to work out the details of this deal. He was the “Right Man in the Right Place” to make this happen and it is doubtful if it would have happened at all without Efrain’s drive and passion regarding AMSA owning its own soccer fields and his willingness to deal with both PARD and the Austin City Council.
It is only fitting that Efrain has found his final resting place under the green grass of the fields he worked so hard to acquire and that he loved so much. Even though many of us had our disagreements with him from time to time. there was no doubting his drive and determination in working with the City, with Brian Hardin and Jim Alsup, the other members of the group that helped negotiate the deal, the Captains and members of AMSA and his successor, Mark Gregg whose contribution cannot be understated in setting up the details of the care and maintenance of the fields.
On a personal note, Efrain got me out of a jamb one time and for that I shall be eternally grateful. He was a very colorful
character and the Austin Men’s Soccer Association has benefited greatly with his association. He was also a devoted family man to his wife Katherine and his son Nico and daughter Alex. He reserved one night each a week for his children and nothing short of a world catastrophe would get him to break those engagements.
There are now two very well-known personalities of the Austin Men’s Soccer Association who have found there final resting place on the green soccer fields of Onion Creek. They were both very different but both had the same goals and foresight in developing the fields that others could enjoy the fruits of their collective efforts.
Rest in Peace, Efrain Loayza. We will miss you.
Music by Habib Koite and Bamada entitled Din Din Wo (Little Child).