Honduran Football: Who was Juan Carlos García?

The 29 year old lost a battle to leukemia this past Monday, but he left an important legacy behind

Juan Carlos García, who played in the left back position in clubs like Marathón and Olimpia in Honduras, Tenerife in Spain and Wigan Athletic in England, besides being the undisputed titular player in the National Team of Honduras, died on the night of January 8, 2018 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, after a long fight against leukemia that forced him to retire from professional sport in 2015.

“El Oso”, or “The Bear” in English, as García was nicknamed, was born on March 8, 1988 in the city of Tela, department of Atlántida of the Republic of Honduras. From a young age he showed his football talent in the lower divisions of the Club Deportivo Marathón, a club whit which he made his professional debut in 2005 and whit which he won the National League of Honduras in three times. Then he went to one of the biggest clubs in Honduras, the Club Deportivo Olimpia, whit which he won the national league in four other opportunities.  His great performance not only led him to be called by the National Team of Honduras, also led him to take the international jump at the club level: Wigan Athletic of England signed him in 2013. It was ceded to Tenerife of Spain the following season, and in 2015 he returned to Wigan, his last club and with which he won the Football League One.

With the National Team of Honduras played three CONCACAF Gold Cup, two Copa Centroamericana, being a champion in which it was held in Panama in 2011, he also played in the 2014 World Cup Qualifying, and the World Cup Brazil 2014. Juan Carlos García will always remembered for the beautiful bicycle goal that he scored against the United Sated National Team in the World Cup Qualifying Brazil 2014, at the Olímpico Metropolitano Stadium in San Pedro Sula.

On September 16, 2015, after weeks of testing, Wigan Athletic confirmed that Honduran Juan Carlos García suffered from leukemia. The club behaved with honor and supported García even when the contract with the player had expired. In contrast, the National Autonomous Federation of Football of Honduras, known as FENAFUTH, never supported García, according to the player in an interview for the Diario Diez in June of 2017: “I didn´t receive help from FENAFUTH from CONCACAF, or from FIFA, from anywhere”.

In the interview already mentioned to the Diario Diez, García also talked about soccer: “I miss him 100 %, for example, putting on the shirt of the National Team, being on a pitch representing Honduras internationally, I miss their colors, I miss all that”, and just as “El Oso” missed football, so football, Honduras and Latin American sport will miss him. On Monday, January 8, 2018, García´s health worsened drastically, and he was taken to the Hospital Escuela de Tegucigalpa, where he died shortly after admission. His remains were transferred to the port of Tesla, his homeland, but his legacy forged on the playing fields will remain at the heart of Honduran and Latin American sport.      

 

Latin American Post | Javier Aldana

Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda

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