by Pete Richmire

TACOMA, WA. – The Tacoma Stars are mourning the loss of Stars Family member Joe Jarzyka. Joe was a member of the South Sound FC from the beginning and continued when the team began playing indoors as the Tacoma Stars. He has been with the team from the beginning and anyone who played against, or with him can attest to his competitiveness and dedication on the field.

Bigger than that, though, is the positive personality and friendship he gave off the field. Anyone who had the pleasure of talking with Joe before or after a Stars Reserves game at the Tacoma Soccer Center or any other venue walked away knowing Joe carried a good heart with him.

His accomplishments as a member of the University of Washington football team are well known and he was honored as a Husky Legend for what he did on offense for his team in the late 90’s.

What he provided for the Stars cannot be measured with just statistics. His leadership, passion for the game, and even more, passion to help others reach their potential both on and off the field can not be expressed in numbers. Joe wanted the best for all around him.

Tacoma Stars owner Lane Smith, like so many others, was shocked by the news of Joe’s passing.

“I was stunned and saddened to hear the News of Joe’s passing. Everyone in the Tacoma Stars family and soccer community knew and loved Joe. At the beginning of the Stars MASL professional team, Joe played and gave it his all. An incredible athlete, he was a fixture for the Reserves team and a relentless competitor, plus he helped on the coaching staff as well. Personally, I have awesome memories of me and my sons playing with him in a local outdoor men’s league, and countless years of Tuesday nights at the soccer center as one of the fastest guys around, then he would go play a game as keeper and make incredible saves.  He was always positive with a smile on his face, a great local real estate agent with development knowledge, and someone you always wanted to be around.  My heart goes out to Jen, Fisher, Madi, and his extended family. They will need all our love and support,” Smith said

Adam Becker, a member of the Stars coaching staff and longtime friend of Joe, spoke of what the loss of Joe means by saying “I first met Joe when I was a teenager playing drop-in soccer at the Tacoma Soccer Center. We soon became friends, and teammates, we coached our sons together and the Tacoma Stars Reserves. I have so many amazing memories on and off the field with Joe. Words cannot express how much I am going to miss him. He was an amazing friend, the life of the party, and most of all the best father and husband to Jen, Madi, and Fisher. RIP Joe, I love you and will always cherish our time together.”

Joe will be dearly missed by Stars players, staff, and fans. He will be honored before the Tacoma Stars Reserves WISL Championship game on Saturday, March 11 at the Tacoma Soccer Center as well as before the Stars game at the accesso ShoWare Center on Saturday, March 18.