“He loved New York, loved his country, loved Queens, and he would go hoarse for three days after an Argentine soccer game.”
Sergio was born on our country′s birthday, the 4th of July 1968 in Bahia Blanca, Argentina. His parents brought him to America in the early 1970′s so that he could have a better life.
Perhaps being born on the birthday of the country that he would ultimately give his life for is an indicator of the first step in the path of destiny that he was to follow. Whether this was the case or not, when Sergio came into this world, fireworks and celebrations were abound, and the amount of love and joy that he brought to all of the family and friends that he cherished so much, is as infinite as the amount of sparks generated by all of the fireworks throughout history.
It was Sunday afternoon, Sept. 9th, 2001and the game was scoreless with just minutes left to play. Suddenly Sergio Villanueva sped down the field, whacked the ball with his foot and goal! The FDNY Soccer Club had won 1-0. No one knew that that would be Sergio′s Golden Goal.
A native of Argentina, Firefighter Villanueva, loved soccer. Tanya Villanueva, his fiancée, used to have to put on a special hat with bells dangling from it, as well as a jersey from Boca Juniors and run through the house shouting, “Goal” when an important match was on television.
Before becoming a firefighter, he spent eight years as a Police Officer and Detective with the NYPD.
Standing at the edge of ground zero on September 12th, along with my fellow police officers, I felt helpless and hopeless as I looked at the mass destruction that had occurred just the day before. Over the next few weeks, as I worked the bucket brigade within ground zero, I thought of the many fearless men and women who had risked and ultimately given their lives in a heroic rescue attempt. As the dust settled and hope faded, I felt a need to do more. I knew many of those brave men and women. Firefighter Sergio Villanueva was one of those heroes. Sergio served the citizens of New York, not only as a proud member of the FDNY, but as a former member of the NYPD.Helpful...Hopeful
Out of this tragedy, I thought of no better way to celebrate the life and memory of Sergio than to ensure his name, courage and devotion to the City of New York will not be forgotten. Soccer was Sergio′s passion and this foundation will ensure that all scholarship winners will demonstrate the work ethic, integrity, discipline and courage that exemplified Sergio′s life. Clinic participants will understand the valiant effort of Sergio and others and the worldwide effects the events of September 11th have brought on.
Lectures are given by the Executive Directors of the foundation to both the Men′s and Women′s Soccer team during preseason. These lectures educate the entire soccer program about the events of 9/11 and the heroic nature of the FDNY as well as other current events. In 6 years, over 300 student athletes have been reminded of the tragedy of September 11th and the memories and lessons of that day. Since these lectures have been given, both the Men′s and Women′s team have received bids to the NCAA tournament for the first time in their program′s history. Both coaches acknowledge the motivational nature of the lectures as well as the presence of the FDNY Soccer Club as reasons for their team′s recent success.Community Service:
Youth Soccer Clinics have been conducted globally for over 3,000 children. Clinic locations have included Jamaica, NY – Hempstead,NY – New York, NY, Exeter City, UK – Baumholder, Germany – Rome, Italy, and other locations.