SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes announced today the honorary signing of former Milpitas High School forward Khiem Nguyen.
The prolific striker had a dream to play for his hometown team. Although he passed away before realizing that dream, his name will live on as an honorary member of the team he loved. A lifelong soccer player and Earthquakes fan, Nguyen died on Nov. 11, 2014 after a sleeper wave knocked him from his boat during a fishing trip with friends near Big Sur.
Nguyen’s father, Austin, and brother, Khoa, will be presented with a commemorative jersey at Avaya Stadium on Tuesday. They will be joined by a group of family and friends who were close to Nguyen.
Nguyen, 24, was a three-year letter winner for Milpitas High School. He made the varsity team as a sophomore and earned a spot in the starting lineup by the end of the season, finishing with nine goals and six assists in 18 matches. As a junior, he tacked on another 13 goals and 10 assists and received First Team All-Santa Clara Valley Athletic League honors. He fully blossomed as a senior, receiving SCVAL Offensive Player of the Year and team MVP recognition after leading the league in scoring with 19 goals and 11 assists.
“Throughout all the years, he was very coachable and was able to use his skill and talents to make those around him better,” said his varsity coach, William Leffler. “Almost every year after high school, he was a party to our alumni group and played in numerous matches showing his skill had improved. I’ve been coaching varsity boys soccer at Milpitas for 32 years now and he is one of the best players I have had the opportunity to be around and will be missed.”
Following high school, he continued his playing career in local leagues before joining the Air National Guard and serving in the 129th Rescue Wing based at Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif. Even while he served his country, Nguyen continued to pursue his dream while playing competitively for adult teams. He participated in the Earthquakes’ open tryout in 2013 and further showed his love of the game by coaching his son’s team in the Milpitas Youth Soccer League.
A GoFundMe page has been arranged to help pay for funeral services and start a trust fund for Nguyen’s son, Kian. To make a donation, click here.
Transaction: San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) – San Jose Earthquakes sign F Khiem Nguyen.
Jersey Number: 10
Weight: 145 pounds
Born: February 10, 1990
Hometown: Milpitas, Calif.
College: De Anza College