Jonothon Marquez has lived a life of lessons. He’s brought a world of knowledge with him to the Ozarks, and his job is to share it.
A former professional Venezuelan soccer player, Marquez and his coaches teach 28 teams of children ages 3 to 18 through Magic Soccer Club, making his club one of the largest in the area. In all, the club serves about 300 young players.
“Every day, I approach training children with one goal in mind, and that is to demonstrate passion in what I teach and believe,” Marquez says. “I hope my passion will inspire all of my players to have fun, learn and be motivated.”
He says he surrounds himself with people who are similarly passionate about coaching and teaching. And his coaching staff also has a lot to share.
“We have been blessed to have an amazing diversification of cultures,” Marquez says. “We have had coaches from Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, Greece, USA, Ghana, Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago and many more. This has given us the opportunity to attract families that want to be open to many cultures as well as families that are from other cultures.”
Marquez grew up between cultures himself with his mother being from Sedalia and his dad from Caracas, Venezuela. With dual citizenship, he’s been able to move back and forth between countries.
“This allowed me to play the game in the streets of the neighborhoods in Caracas and in the fields of soccer clubs in Miami, Los Angeles and San Diego,” Marquez says.
At the age of 10, after he moved to San Diego, Marquez was spotted playing by Milton Neto, a former Brazilian player who was the younger brother of Brazilian legend Vava. Neto became Marquez’s coach, reinforcing the South American style the Springfield coach shares today with area players.
“With Milton as a coach and soccer mentor, I was able to acquire the magic of the game,” Marquez says.
In 1989, he moved back with his dad to Venezuela where he continued his development. Three years later, he achieved his goal of playing professionally for the Galicia Soccer Club. By 1997, he transferred to play soccer with the University of Santa Maria, where he would eventually earn his bachelor’s degree in business. In 2002, he moved to Springfield with his wife to pursue a master’s degree at Missouri State University. Three years later, he was ready to launch Magic Soccer Club, and move to the role of teacher from student.
“I wanted to share the advantages that soccer can bring to life with kids in our community. The life lessons learned through soccer help kids not only become better athletes, but also teach teamwork, discipline, respect, participation and passion,” he says.
He’s also created a scholarship to benefit children who couldn’t otherwise afford to play with Magic.[[In-content Ad]]