Another soccer player murdered
Fourth men’s soccer player slain within 18 months.
Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 15:08
After the murder of his brother Andrew “Andy” Manriquez on April 8, 2011, Contra Costa College men’s soccer team sophomore defender Santiago Manriquez Jr. wanted to continue honoring his brother’s name through his play for the upcoming 2012 men’s soccer season.
While Santiago, 18, felt passionate about keeping the name of his brother, a CCC student and soccer player at the time of his death, alive this season, he cannot.
He was shot and killed in San Pablo on the night of August 12 after leaving his job at the San Pablo International Supermarket.
“When I heard about the murder I was in disbelief and shock,” Comet men’s soccer coach Rudy Zeller said. “(Santiago) was an exceptional young man and the best player coming back from last season’s team. He was full of life and had a smile that was infectious.”
The death of Manriquez marks the murder of yet another player affiliated with the Comet men’s soccer squad since 2010.
“The most incredible tragedy is that four of my players (have been) killed in the past year and a half. It has not only been hard for me as a coach, but most importantly as a person,” Zeller said. “I’m pissed at the whole situation about Santiago and how nobody seems to care to stop the violence. It makes no sense.”
Zeller and players agreed that they would dedicate their upcoming season to Santiago by wearing black armbands while competing in games this year.
“Santiago was special to me. He was somebody I could trust and (he) always solved my problems. He was such a good friend,” sophomore striker Omar Arellano said. “I’m going to do everything this season to make him proud. I asked coach Zeller if I can get his number 20 jersey for the season.”
Manriquez, known as “Santi” by his Comet teammates and friends, and nicknamed Chago by his family, was born on Oct. 23, 1993 in Los Angeles.
Manriquez moved to San Pablo with his family at the age of 5 and attended Lake Elementary School in Richmond.
After attending Lake, Manriquez also attended Walter T. Helms Middle School in San Pablo and De Anza High School in Richmond.
During Manriquez’s senior year at De Anza, his brother Andrew was shot and killed in front of his friend’s house in Richmond.
Because of his brother’s death, Santiago was motivated to join CCC’s men’s soccer team in 2011 to play in his honor.
“Santiago came to the program upset about Andy’s death,” former Comet teammate Hilberth Ibarra said. “He was very shy at first and was going through a rebellious stage early on in the season.”
“The fact that Andy was killed the way he was killed traumatized Santi. He would often get upset and we would even share tears over Andy.”
While Andy’s death affected the squad during the course of the 2011 season, Zeller said that Santiago was able to progress, not only as a player but also, as a person — channeling his energy into positive things.
“He was moving in the right direction as he was very active in church and the community as well.”
Long-time family friend, classmate and Comet teammate of Manriquez, Daniel Patino, described him as being a person who was full of laughter and having a sense of humor.
“He was always smiling and had a positive outlook on things,” the sophomore striker said. “I will always have memories of us growing up together, playing soccer and constantly making fun of each other.”
“I remember when Andy died, Santi would rarely speak about it. He told me that he wished to be with his brother and its crazy how it really happened,” Patino said.
“I wish I could have told him goodbye. He was my best friend and I doubt that I will ever meet anybody like him.”
Manriquez’s family was unavailable for comment.
Manriquez is survived by his mother Juana Hueto, his father Santiago Manriquez Sr. and brother Eric Hueto.