When Omar Corea Jr. was thinking of a way to help the families of his friends and former teammates Oscar Martinez and Brian Rivera, it made sense to involve soccer. The two young men, both 22, died in a one-vehicle accident on Sept. 11.
“I remember playing video games and just hanging out, but the main thing we did was play soccer,” Corea said.
On Sept. 26, he and others are holding two soccer games to raise money for the families of Martinez and Rivera. A women’s game is set for 5 p.m. followed by a men’s game at 7 p.m. Cost is $50 per player, and spots are limited.
Corea is looking to field two men’s teams and two women’s teams with 16 players each. The games will be at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive in Marble Falls. Text or call Corea at 512-450-8752 to register or sponsor the event. Admission for spectators is $5. Organizers also will be selling T-shirts at the game. All proceeds help the families.
Corea shared the soccer field with Martinez and Rivera when they were in high school.
“They were just great to be around,” he said. “One of the things they both did was just support us and everyone on the team. They were a big part of the team when we made that run in the playoffs.”
Corea and Martinez first became friends when they worked together at Chicken Express in 2012 or 2013.
“He was just delightful to be around,” Corea said. “They both were. It was a joy to be around both of them.”
Marble Falls High School head boys soccer coach Rick Hoover said Martinez and Rivera were impressive young men as well as athletes.
“They were great role models,” he said. “They worked hard every day. And if there was any problems, you could turn to Brian and Oscar to help solve them. They were the kids you’d turn to to help out.
“They would help the other kids with their homework,” Hoover added. “They were just two of the greatest kids.”
Friends and family will hold a balloon release during halftime of the men’s game to honor and remember Martinez and Rivera.
Other fundraisers are planned to help the families.
A tamale fundraiser held in the parking lot of AutoWorld, 2807 U.S. 281 in Marble Falls, is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, for Martinez’s family. Martinez was a manager at the business. Tamales are $12 a dozen and include chicken in green chili, chicken in green sauce, chicken in red chili, chicken in red sauce, cheese, cheese with jalapeno, pork in green chili, pork in green sauce, pork in red chili, and pork in red sauce. You can order up to two flavors per a dozen or two flavors in the tamales per a dozen. Drinks are available for $3 and brownies for a $1.
Agustino’s Mexican Food Trailer, 1006 Mission Hills Drive in Marble Falls, is donating all tips and proceeds from breakfast 7-11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, to both families. The fundraiser is cash only.
One is a prize giveaway for a tattoo valued at $500. Tickets are $30 each, and two winners will be picked. Funds will go to Martinez’s family. Tickets can be purchased online. The winners will be announced at 6 p.m. Oct. 4.
A barbecue fundraiser for Rivera’s family is 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, at 1422 Kingscove Drive in Granite Shoals. Donations are $10 per plate. The meal includes chicken, sausage, rice, beans, and a drink.
Corea said even if people can’t play in the upcoming soccer matches, he hopes they come out to support the families and friends of the two men.
“We would like everyone to be there and attend either as a player or supporter,” he said. “(A soccer match) just seems like a great way to remember Oscar and Brian and help their families.”