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Jose Burgos' Love for Soccer and People Wins Him First Annual Coach Recognition Award

By SportsEngine and TrueSport, 12/10/19, 10:30AM CST


The first annual Champion Coach Recognition Award presented by SportsEngine and TrueSport is awarded to Jose Burgos for his selfless dedication to youth soccer, his community and all of the athletes he coaches

SportsEngine and TrueSport want to offer a warm congratulations to youth soccer coach, Jose Burgos, for being chosen as the first winner of the Champion Coach Recognition Program - an awards program to recognize coaches putting positive coaching values into action within their teams and their communities.

Nearly 300 nominations were received representing 29 states and 25 different sports. Nominations for youth sports coaches who embody the values promoted by TrueSport - sportsmanship, character-building and life skills, and clean and healthy performance were accepted.

Jose Burgos, head soccer coach at Catalyst Maria High School in Chicago, Illinois was named the inaugural Champion Coach winner.

Burgos joined Catalyst Maria as Head Soccer Coach and Spanish teacher in 2018. He was recognized for creating a strong supportive team community within the school and within the community-at-large to provide physical and psychological safety for his athletes. Born in Chile, Burgos' emphasizes the idea of soccer “family” and “community” vs. soccer “team.” He organized the first-ever Catalyst Futsal Cup for 6-8 graders to begin broadening the impact and opportunities that soccer can provide for the youth in the community. Additionally, earlier this fall, Burgos' initiated a GoFundMe page to begin raising funds for the under-resourced school and soccer program. 

On Tuesday, December 10, Jose Burgos received a surprise visit at his school from TrueSport Athlete Ambassador and 3-time Olympic Javelin thrower Kara Winger. During the visit, Burgos was presented with the award and was recognized in front of student-athletes, school staff, fellow coaches and Burgos’ family. 

Read more about Burgos in the words of those who nominated him:


Catalyst Maria High School is in an underinvested community with high unemployment, active gangs, prevalent gun violence, and commonplace drug activity. Coach Jose is sensitive to individual circumstances, family dynamics, and the broader community, in which his student-athletes are developing. His empathic approach helps him adapt his coaching style to the needs of the individual. Coach Jose once learned that one of his scholar-athletes was essentially homeless. As a result, he engaged with the student first by listening and understanding and from there built the foundation for an effective coach/athlete relationship. Coach Jose also looks out for the future of his student-athletes and the opportunities that soccer can provide for them. Notably, last year he assisted two student-athletes in visiting a Junior College tryout for the soccer team and ultimately assisted in them obtaining scholarship assistance. 

Community Impact

Mindful of external risk factors, Coach Jose is a grassroots impact engine who is at once high school coach, teacher, and social worker for his student-athletes. Jose creates a strong supportive team community within the school community within the community-at-large to provide physical and psychological safety for his athletes. He refers to this team community as "La Familia" or "Nuestra Familia"-Our Family. For senior night, Coach Jose invited middle school players to be involved in the ceremony and he spearheaded a potluck picnic to celebrate the parents. He has also organized the first-ever Catalyst Futsal Cup for 6th-8th grade youth to begin broadening the impact and opportunities that soccer can provide for the youth in the community by providing safe environment, fun, and exercise. Earlier this fall, Coach Jose initiated a GoFundMe page to begin raising funds for the under-resourced school and soccer program. As a community builder within the school, this year he created a multi-media video during spirit week to feature and celebrate the entire school community-students, teachers, and service works. On his own time, Coach Jose is an active contributor with a local food pantry where he lives-another example of his passion to engage in issues of poverty and food insecurity.


Coach Jose believes performance is enhanced with passion, focus and hard work. In the girl's team season summary, Coach Jose described the foundation of "A Different Kind of Team" which challenges player scholars to "Be Stronger, Care Harder, Love Deeper" leading to "Empowerment; High Academic Standards, and Love for the Sport."

While he is a fiery competitor, Coach Jose never loses sight of the experience his athletes are having. Even in a loss, Coach Jose searches for the lesson and teaching the opportunity to become a better player and a better human. He is demanding of his players and at a parent meeting confronted parents with the importance of consistent attendance at school and practice. However "showing up" can be hard for these kids as they face many societal risk factors. Coach Jose often talks to his students about the choices they make, taking accountability for their health and safety, and controlling what they can control.


Coach Jose's love of soccer is matched only by his love for people and helping people find and become their best selves. Spend any time with Jose and you will experience his energy and passion to be infectious. If he's not smiling, it's because he is pensively listening and thinking of how he can be a servant to help the person in front of him. To have a caring and skilled coach at this time in their lives against the backdrop of adolescence in an unsafe environment is priceless for the scholar-athletes of Catalyst Maria High School. The community, the school, the sport, and most importantly the youth are fortunate to have Coach Jose on their side.

At the end of the day, Coach Jose strives to make an impact on the lives of young players who have dreams and aspirations of changing the trajectory of their lives through youth soccer.

"I want my coaching legacy to be centered around a deep love for soccer, strong relationships, and hard work. I believe the new generation of soccer players is most receptive to coaches who are genuine, show passion and love and protect their players."

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