FRISCO - As the soccer world mourns the loss of Fernando Clavijo, here's what those around MLs and the FC Dallas organization had to say following his passing:
MLS Commissioner Don Garber:
“Major League Soccer deeply mourns the passing of Fernando Clavijo, a gifted player, coach and sporting director,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “Fernando was an important leader with three MLS clubs, and he played a key role in the league’s player development strategy. More importantly, he was a joy to everyone who knew him and inspired countless young players. Fernando fought cancer with strength, courage and grace, and we are all heartbroken by the news of his passing. We offer our condolences to his wife Martha, their sons Nico and Jonathan, and Fernando’s many friends throughout the soccer community.”
FC Dallas Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt:
Our family is deeply saddened by the loss of Fernando, and our heartfelt condolences are with Martha and the Clavijo family in this difficult time,” said FC Dallas Chairman Clark Hunt. “From his days as a player with the U.S. Men’s National team to his time as a coach and technical director in Major League Soccer, Fernando made a significant impact on American soccer.
But beyond the pitch, his warmth, enthusiasm and joyful spirit made him beloved by everyone who knew him. He will be dearly missed.
FC Dallas President Dan Hunt:
“Fernando was a soccer pioneer. His knowledge and passion for the sport were unparalleled. While he was a phenomenal soccer mind, he was an ever better person who brightened the day of everyone he met,” said FC Dallas President Dan Hunt.
“This is a sad time for the FC Dallas family and the entire soccer community.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Martha, his sons Nico and Jonathan, daughter-in-law, Thanne, and grandchildren, Lucas and Sofia, along with all of the individuals whose lives he touched with his heartfelt enthusiasm."
Former FC Dallas Head Coach Oscar Pareja:
“It is so difficult to say goodbye to someone I worked with every day for the last five years. Someone who was like a brother and shared the passion and dedication for this game that beats within all of us.
I will always be grateful for that day in 2014 when he called me to come work with him at FC Dallas. More importantly, I’m grateful that I was able to be a part of his life during that time.
I look forward to when we meet again.
I love you, Fer.”
FC Dallas Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez:
Very difficult, very difficult. We talked about it in the locker room because he is a leader here. His spirit will always live here in the club. He is a family man, I know that it’s an honor for us to be good parents, brothers and children, good friends of the club, of the team, of the family because of the motivation left by the memory of Fernando. He will be with us this year and for the rest of our lives, for me personally, and in that locker room. It’ll be hard for us but it’s also a celebration of his life because he never thought about dying, he thought about living and he lived great life with his family. His last days were on his terms at home with his family. I talked to him a month ago and he still had a lot of spirit in his voice. He wanted to talk about soccer, about how we were going to plan the season and that was incredible. We're going to miss him a lot, but he's also going to give us a lot of strength in his memory.
Defender Reggie Cannon:
It was a very emotional time before the game. They told us the news. Some of the new guys didn’t know Fernando really well, but it was more about the family aspect. We lost someone near and dear to the FC Dallas family. [Fernando] contributed so much to the game and so much to the club that you can’t even put into words. Especially for me personally, he’s done so much with giving me a chance to play on an MLS club at 19 years old. He believed in me. It’s hard to swallow, but I know he’s in a better place watching over us now and I know God welcomed him into his home, but it’s always tough to accept those news. Obviously, for me personally it was tough to play with that weighing on the back of my mind, but that’s sometimes life. You have to move on.
Midfielder Jacori Hayes:
He embodied everything this club stands for and he fought until his last days. I always saw him with a smile on his face and whenever I saw him around the club, he always said ‘cherish this day and make the most of this day’. He was a great person and anyone who came across him had that same feeling about him. It’s a truly sad one that we lost a good one.
Defender Matt Hedges:
I think about him giving me a chance. Drafted me, he was one of the first people I met from the club. He always believed in me, he gave me a chance and I’ll never forget that. He was a great man.