Many people who knew and loved popular soccer coach Darren Davies gathered at Beverly Hills High School for a memorial service Sunday. Davies, 30, died suddenly of a heart attack last week.
Davies served as a mentor and friend to players during his five years with the BHHS boys soccer program—three as the JV coach and a trainer, and two as an assistant varsity coach and the head trainer. His untimely death naturally came as a shock to all who knew the physically fit, personable athlete.
"I was completely shaken up. I didn't believe it at first," said varsity soccer player Jonathan Berger, who described Davies as "an all-around amazing person."
That was a common theme voiced by those who addressed the audience of more than 200 in the high school's auditorium. Speakers included Davies' widow Ligia Rodrigues Davies, his father Alvin Davies, boys varsity soccer coach Steve Rappaport, school board President Brian Goldberg and Vice President Jake Manaster, varsity soccer captains Elijah Lichtenberg and Joshua Horowitz, and several of Davies' close friends.
"Darren was doing what he loved," Rodrigues Davies said. She and Davies were college sweethearts who married earlier this year.
"Every day he came home and told me about every single thing that happened throughout his day, whether he coached a kid or whether he saw a new talent or whether he met someone in the community who he had just connected with," Rodrigues Davies continued. "This is what he loved, especially Beverly Hills High School [which] was his second home."
Davies grew up on the Westside of Los Angeles and attended Crespi High School in Encino. He played collegiate soccer at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst and professional soccer in Trinidad, Brazil, England and France, according to a website dedicated to his memory.
After a knee injury cut short his professional career, Davies "was able to live out his passion for soccer by mentoring and coaching young players," the website states.
"Darren Davies was a great coach and trainer with a gift in the ability to communicate with everyone," Rappaport said in an email to Patch. "I would have to say that what made Darren really special was that he was a 'life coach' to all of us. Darren had the ability to make the very skilled players work harder while also paying special attention to those who needed to improve their skills or fitness."
Along with his wife and father, Davies is survived by his mother Denise Davies; sisters Darlene Davies and Dinnelle Davies-Oddie; grandmother Margerie James; three nephews; and several aunts, uncles and cousins in both the United States and Trinidad.
Davies' funeral service is 10 a.m. Friday at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Westwood. Burial will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City.
"Darren was hardworking and very funny. He always cracked jokes during practice," varsity soccer player Luis Ochoa said. "He was one of the best coaches I ever had. I appreciate everything he's done for us."
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