Tampa youth soccer coach remembered after battle with COVID-19

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As a coach for Tampa Bay’s Chargers soccer club, Alfonso Cardenas always made his presence known.

“We always just remember him being the loudest one on the field,” his daughter Jhoana Cardenas told 8 On Your Side.

He was also his three children’s coach in life.

“Even after we lost my mom, he never stopped being there,” his daughter Alejandra Cardenas said.

The Cardenas twins and their younger brother lost their mom Clara Gomez to cancer six years ago.

“He gave us everything and more that we asked for,” Jhoana said.

Her sister Alejandra added that their dad was “there through everything, when we graduated high school, trips.”

Alfonso Cardenas passed away on Aug 2 due to complications from COVID-19. He would have celebrated his 56th birthday this Saturday.

In late June, the sisters said their dad started feeling sick. He tested positive for coronavirus after they took him to Tampa General Hospital.

They also said they are grateful for the care he received from the nurses and doctors at TGH.

“We would call and they would know our voices,” Alejandra said. “They’re like you’re calling for your dad, I was yeah.”

At the end, Cardenas was no longer contagious, so he passed away surrounded by his two daughters, brother and sister-in-law.

“We did it because we didn’t want him to die alone,” Alejandra explained. “Just because when we lost my mom she wasn’t alone and we know he wouldn’t have wanted to die alone.”

Cardenas will have his ashes left next to his wife’s at a funeral later this month, the children said.

The Chargers soccer club and the community have rallied since to raise money for his three orphaned children. Donations can be made here.

“Really amazing seeing how much people care to help us out,” Jhoana told 8 On Your Side.

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