ARMONK, N.Y. -- Community members gathered Monday morning at the IBM track in Armonk for the dedication of a memorial to former North Castle youth soccer coach Michael Jones.
The New York Red Bulls youth coach, who was known as “Jonesy” by many, was stabbed to death in New York City on Oct. 7, 2012. He was 25 years old.
“Mike was taken from us before he had the chance to develop a family of his own but, as is evident from today, he left behind a bigger family than any of us could ever wish [for],” manager of the Red Bulls’ Regional Development School Simon Barrow said in a statement, who served as Jones’ manager each summer. “He left behind an entire generation of children that will, literally and figuratively speaking, run through brick walls on the soccer field for him.”
The tear-filled dedication was followed by a series of fun events to celebrate Jones’ legacy. Children who attended the dedication had the opportunity to dunk their soccer coaches in water tanks or test their kicking skills. There were also a variety of raffles and auctions, which will raise money for the memorial’s upkeep.
Dozens of people turned out for the unveiling of the statue, each one with a story of how Jones, a Liverpool, England native, touched their lives. Each summer he would stay in Armonk while he coached soccer.
Sean Woods, a Katonah resident who shared Jones’ Liverpool heritage, commented on why he felt it was important to honor him.
“He was one of the best coaches I have ever come across, and not just technically,” he said in the statement. “The impact he had on me as an adult and on the kids was remarkable. He was someone you could model yourself after. That’s why we’re here today.”
Jonses’ impact on the community is even more evident by the story of how the idea for the memorial came about. The piece was donated by John Tienken, whose son, Mark, was coached by Jones for only five days at summer camp.
As the statue was unveiled, Michael Jones’ father, Perry Jones, remarked how the community has shown their affection for his son, in life as well as death.
“We’re overwhelmed at the love and support that people from this area have given to Michael,” he said in the statement.