Ned - San Jose Earthquakes - Devotion Scarf
SJEarthquakes.com

DEVOTION SCARF: Ned Zuparko

You’re officially a Quakes Devotion Scarf recipient! Explain what it means to you to get this honor?
"I’ve been a volunteer Board member since 2006 and a past President of Soccer Silicon Valley, where our motto has been “Building Community Through Soccer." SSV worked hard to help get a team back in San Jose, a stadium built, and has supported a variety of charitable causes over the years and special projects such as the Andrew Bedard award and the Heritage Cup. I’ve met some wonderful and amazing people this way. This dovetails with Earthquakes legend Johnny Moore's concept of 'Club.' Johnny explains that owners, administrators, staff, coaches, players and especially fans are all a part of this Club. Owners, coaches, and players will come and go, but the supporters are always there. In fact, the fans and their relationships are what makes the Club special and worthwhile. That philosophy is shared by Jesse Fioranelli and has been brought to life by Matias Almeyda and his "soccer family” philosophy. All Earthquakes fans can share in that experience by supporting the team and connecting it to good works in the community.
 
"For example, as a teacher, I was able to recruit and organize other teachers to help the Quakes create and pilot the original 'Get Earthquakes Fit' program in the Evergreen School District. It has been very satisfying to see how that program has grown over the years. I was able to motivate many students by bringing Earthquakes players to school to participate in reading programs and other worthwhile activities, and even raise money in fundraising auctions thanks to Quakes donations for over 20 years.
 
"Receiving the Scarf indicates I’ve been able to make a useful contribution to The Club, which makes this a special occasion for me."
 
Talk to us about your Quakes fandom. How long have you been cheering on the black & blue? What is your most memorable moment?
"I was introduced to soccer when my daughters began playing. When I get involved in something, it is often to the exclusion of other things. This led to refereeing youth games, being an assistant Dad coach, and local league activities. I did play a couple of season on an Over-35 men’s league team as a seldom used sub. In my short career I did score three toe-poke goals and was directly responsible for at least that many scored by the other team (including an assist). Bruises and limping after every game, combined with my personal negative goal-differential led to an early retirement.
 
"I stopped following other sports and started attending Blackhawks game in Newark watching players like Doyle, Kinnear, Balboa, and Dayak. When MLS was announced, I put down my deposit and have had season tickets ever since. I saw Wynalda nutmeg Agoos at Spartan and win the MLS Inaugural game 1-0. I had missed the NASL days, and liked the idea of getting in on the ground floor of a new league. I imagined that 25 years later I might be one of those old-timers who could tell the youngsters what the old days were like.
 
"My wife Merryl has attended most of the games with me during this time. However, her patience wears thin since I insist on planning family vacations only when there are no Earthquakes home games. (I’ve only missed a couple of home games since 1996). Once we were in the San Jose airport to take a flight and saw Quakes GM Alexi Lalas sitting there waiting to fly to New York during the All-Star break. Merryl explained to him the situation and he rolled his eyes in sympathy.
 
"My most memorable moment was the day before my birthday in 2003 sitting in Spartan Stadium when the Quakes played the Galaxy. To understand why, see:"
 
 
Who is your favorite Quakes player and why?
"Chris Wondolowski is the exemplar of the Captain of the Club, on and off the field, as everyone knows. I look forward to seeing his statue out in front of the stadium."
 
What would be your message to Quakes fans out there?
"Three things:
 
1. Every fan should read Gary Singh’s book The San Jose Earthquakes: A Seismic Soccer Legacy. (Buy it for Christmas)!
 
2. Support the team. Go to games, cheer the players, get involved in Quakes charitable activities, and check out the supporters groups.
 
3. Never Give Up!"
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