The Madison soccer community has lost one of its most prominent members.
Jose Asturias, who was instrumental in soccer's growth in the area over the past six decades, died Sunday at Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg. He was 82.
A native of Guatemala, Asturias was a goalkeeper for Madison SC (now known as the Madison 56ers) in the early 1960s, and later founded the Monona Internationals club that fielded men's amateur teams in the Wisconsin Soccer Association's Capitol Division for many years.
He then coached many local club and high school programs over the next four decades, including Monona Grove, Oregon, Madison La Follette and Madison East. In 2009, Asturias was one of eight charter members inducted into the Madison Area Soccer Hall of Fame, enshrined as a player and builder.
Asturias was perhaps best known for his work with goalkeepers – as recently as 2014, he was helping coach keepers at UW-Platteville, according to Pioneers coach Enzo Fuschino, who also coached with Asturias at La Follette in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
"One of the greats, a coach that I will always remember, and hope to carry some of his wit and a fraction of his understanding of the game and pass onto our next generation of players," John Ziperski, who coaches the Sugar River prep girls team and at New Glarus SC, wrote on Facebook. "I was lucky to have met him."