East Street Soccer Field Dedicated in Memory of Davide Nascimento
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Sunday, September 17, 2017
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When those who knew Davide Nascimento share memories of his life it is much like creating a patchwork quilt filled with similar stories connected by one common thread- his love for his family, friends, the community of Ludlow, and soccer.  It is no surprise, therefore, that on Sunday, September 17th the East Street School Soccer Field was filled with an array of people attending the dedication ceremony that named the field in memory of this  incredible husband, father, son, brother, friend, and soccer coach.

Nascimento was killed in a tragic construction accident in 2015, at the age of twenty-eight, leaving behind family and friends including his wife, Stephanie, son, Cristiano and daughter, Savanna. Soon after his death, as a way to stay busy and deal with their grief in a positive light, family and friends formed a memorial foundation to honor Davide;  brainstorming ideas of ways to keep his memory alive such as soccer tournaments and other fundraisers.

“Dave was so passionate about soccer and coaching. The dedication of the soccer field was one of our biggest wishes, and now it’s coming true,” explained Stephanie Nascimento “To have not only Cristiano, but all of his soccer teammates play and practice on a field in Davide's name is the greatest gift anyone could give us. Savanna will start kindergarten next year, at East Street School, and will also be playing at the field.”

According to Chip Harrington, Ludlow School Committee Member, relatives of Nascimento, Sergio and Jennifer Mateus, approached him about the idea of dedicating the field to honor Davide, which he wholeheartedly supported;  bringing the idea forward to the full committee for approval.

During his welcoming remarks Harrington explained,“Last spring the committee voted to name the soccer field in honor of Davide, a 2004 graduate of Ludlow High School and a member of its  2003 State Soccer Championship team. In addition to the full support of the School Committee, both the Ludlow Board of Selectmen and the Board of Public Works also supported the dedication of the soccer field.”

Harrington also thanked Ludlow resident, Chuck Martins, owner of Chuck’s Signs in Chicopee, for donating the labor cost associated with creating the sign, stating, “The family was very appreciative of this generous offer which reduced the cost of the sign.”

Chad Mullin, Ludlow School Committee Chairperson, shared that the dedication is a special gift to the children of Ludlow, and hoped the field will be enjoyed by many, for years to come.  “This dedication is also a reminder of what a special person Davide was and how he had a positive impact on so many young lives through his coaching. He represented all that is good in Ludlow.”  

“What better way to honor someone who has done so much for our youth than to dedicate something that he loved so much (soccer) in his name,” said Ludlow Board of Selectman Member, Derek DeBarge.  “Years from now his name and memory will echo through time and be remembered by all.”

Before revealing the sign and cutting the baby blue ribbon (Davide’s favorite color) to officially dedicate the field, Stephanie Nascimento thanked everyone for attending the dedication that honored her husband’s memory, shared several special memories of her own, and others, and holding back tears ended her thoughts by saying, “Each day, Cristiano, Savannah and I are picking up the pieces and will never give up. Dave’s legacy will live on.”

Attending the ceremony today, brought back childhood memories for Ludlow School Committee Member, Jake Oliveira. “I still remember first meeting Davide here at East Street School during CCD classes for Our Lady of Fatima Parish.  We continued on to Chapin Street and Baird- graduating from Ludlow High School as members of the class of 2004.”

“Davide was one of the nicest guys,” continued Oliveira.  “Over the years when we would run into each other he was always the first to say hello and ask how things were going. He genuinely cared about everyone- he was just a decent, kind guy.”

Jennifer Calheno, of Ludlow, shared a memory of how Davide’s coaching skills  influenced so many young soccer players, including her son, Jackson. “He was very shy, not interested and intimidated, but between his Dad and Dave, the enthusiasm and love of soccer seeped into him, and changed Jackson forever.”

“Dave was always excited and enthusiastic to work with all the kids, regardless of their skill level,” continued Calheno.  “He treated all of them as if they were the next super star; making them all feel special. He was one of a kind, and although his time was short, his impact will be felt for a lifetime."

Jayden Cordeiro remembers his soccer coach with fondness, sharing, “He was a really good coach because he made me enjoy soccer and taught me good skills on the field. Sometimes when he was teaching us something new he would say something funny to make us laugh and then he would be serious when he wanted us to show him that we wouldn’t give up.”

Davide’s son, Cristiano, who currently plays on three soccer teams,  proudly stated that he is a lot like his father, “My Dad taught me how to play soccer. He even got me a special soccer net for the backyard, that I still use. Whenever I had a soccer game in the winter he would bring me to Dunkin Donuts for a glazed donut before the game. He was a really good player and now I am really good, too!”

With a smile that could light up a soccer stadium at night, Cristiano went on to share the sentiments of many who gathered to pay tribute to his father, soccer coach, and biggest fan, “I’m really  happy that the field has my Dad’s name because everyone that goes to the field will know him.”


 


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