(Salpointe coach Wolfgang Weber. Photo by Jose Garcia/aia365.com)
The wife of gentle coaching giant Wolfgang Weber passed away Friday as Weber and his boys soccer team, Tucson Salpointe, travelled to Phoenix to play Brophy in the annual high profile early season matchup.
Nina, Weber’s wife of 30-plus years, died peacefully at home with Nina’s son, Matthew, Weber’s step son, by her side, Weber said. Nina, 78, had Altzheimer's and suffered an aneurysm in 2009.
“She (Nina) was everything to me,” Weber said. “She was my best friend. My business partner. We had a great time together. I’m glad I met her. Frankly, I don’t think I would be here doing what I’m doing if it wasn’t for her being by my side all these years.”
Being on the sidelines Friday coaching the game he loves is something Nina would have wanted, said Weber, who is in his 32nd season as Salpointe’s head coach.
Weber informed two of his captains before Friday’s game that his wife passed away.
“I am saddened, but at the same time her (Nina) suffering is over,” Weber said.
After Friday’s game, Weber talked to reporters about his wife and how he was encouraged by the way his team played despite losing 2-0.
Salpointe and Brophy each won state championships last season but lost a lot of senior starters. Besides starting a lot of new faces, Brophy also had a new head coach on its bench, Noah Lewkowitz.
But as is the case almost every year with the two elite programs, the talent pool at each school never dries up. Junior Fergus Shanks scored early for Brophy as Brophy’s quickness helped control the first 10 minutes of the game.
Salpointe’s young midfield eventually settled down, allowing senior forward Will Martin to attack.
But Stanford-bound Adam Mosharrafa broke away from a couple of defenders with 16:18 remaining in the match and then beat Salpointe’s goalkeeper to give Brophy its second goal. Despite allowing two goals, Salpointe’s goalkeeper, Taylor Anderson, had a good match.
“This is a performance we can build on,” Weber said.