A ceremony to celebrate the late Christian Ogbodo, a former youth soccer coach and trainer, is at 4:45 p.m. today at Clovis High's Lamonica Stadium before the girls varsity game. He died last week of natural causes.
Youth players are meeting at Robinson Park in Fresno at 9:30 a.m. Saturdays for training sessions in honor of Mr. Ogbodo. The park is at Browning off Fresno between Barstow and Bullard.
Ogbodo led Fresno State to national prominence in soccer during the 1980s, and earned a reputation in youth circles as one of the best trainers in the Valley.
Mr. Ogbodo was 47.
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"Chris had a flair, a zest and love for soccer, and brought out the best in all the players he coached and trained, " close friend Paul Banda had said last week.
Mr. Ogbodo, a stopper, became the first building block in Fresno State's most successful soccer class. A native Nigerian, he came to the U.S. in 1984 to play for the Bulldogs, and in four years helped transform the late Jose Elgorriaga's team into a national contender that won 65 games, made the NCAA Tournament four times and reached the Final Four in 1987.
Milt Contreras played against Mr. Ogbodo in local adult leagues and coached with him the past year on the Fresno Nomads.
"He was probably the toughest guy I played against, " Contreras said last week, "but he played with honor on the field."