John grew up in a small Portuguese fishing village and owes much of his soccer skills to a childhood street soccer participation. Players made all of the rules and decisions for the activities, usually guided by the older and more advanced players. No adult involvement was allowed. Each player knew which competitive game or group activity that they would be allowed to participate in. The player would have the chance to move up to a higher level of play based on their skill progression. Age and physical ability was not a factor in those decisions. Rather, the focus was based on the players skills and understanding of the game.
Since his entry-level play, member of the Portuguese Navy Team, member of the All Star NATO Fleet Team through his professional career, John still believes and regards these rules as his religion. The Game became a large part of his life. John promoted the game to a higher level as soon as his first involvement with youth soccer in the Peoria Metro Area.
In 1978, John Co-founded the Peoria Soccer Club. The club grew in participants and the level at which the game was played. A great improvement was noticed in the way our teams would compete. John founded The Sporting Futbol Club in 1994 to take the level of play to an even higher standard. John developed teams that competed at the National Level and soon after his teams became State Champions. (The first ever for the Peoria Area.) His players and teams were feared and respected by other Clubs, not only in the State but all across the Midwest. In 2001, the boys SFC 86 Premier Team (15 years old) won the State Cup for the second time and qualified for National competition.
Over the past thirty years John has coached youth soccer into the Regional National Level as part of the Illinois coaching staff. In 2001, John was voted National Region II coach of the year. In 2004, John founded The John Gaspar Soccer Academy (JGSA). His vision for the Academy is to re-emphasize the development of world-class soccer players through the Developmental Program. John also believes that the Academy should provide an opportunity for all youth to play soccer regardless of their current level of ability. All is needed is a love for the game and a desire to improve.
John’s philosophy for the development and coaching of youth soccer players has worked very well over the past years, meeting with great success. His teams and players accomplishments speak for themselves. John will not compromise his philosophy or his great love for this game over the interest of any group or individual involved with the organization. The Game and the players come first.
Adults must understand that young soccer players are not mini-adults. Therefore young players cannot comprehend adult games, nor can they understand adult expectations. Adults must take responsibility for their behavior around the children and recognize that they hold the key to their children’s love for this Sport.