A beloved member of the Corvallis-area community will be honored this weekend as high school athletes and alumni compete in an open soccer tournament in memory of Corvallis High player and coach John Callahan.
Four high school teams and four adult teams will lace up their boots and take to the pitch Saturday alongside a community yard sale and scholarship fundraiser as part of the John Callahan Memorial Soccer Festival at Corvallis High's Spartan Stadium.
Callahan, a 1987 CHS grad and longtime Spartan boys soccer coach, died in 2015 of cancer. He was 46.
CHS, Crescent Valley, Newport, and South Albany high schools will kick off their conditioning weeks ahead of tryouts, competing against former players while representing the legacy of community that Callahan dedicated so much time to.
“What’s really kinda cool is that the whole planning committee is CHS soccer folks,” said South Albany coach Tony Vandermeer. “It really brings the family back together, and it’s easy to do because so many people loved John Callahan.”
It will be the third “JC” Soccer Festival and the planning committee has built on the event each year.
The five-a-side soccer tournament will kick off at 9 a.m. Saturday just after the yard sale “opens its doors” at 8 a.m.
“It’s a cool collection of things,” said event coordinator Chad Foley, the current CHS boys coach. “The people that donated to us are mostly affiliated with soccer programs. What we have is clothing, sports equipment, furniture, books, games, typical stuff you’d see at a yard sale. We expect it to be pretty big this year.”
The event will last throughout the day and is fondly being considered a festival in the spirit of the man the day is named for.
“JC was a guy that everyone wanted to be around,” Foley said. “He had a knack for bringing people together. That’s why he was such an impactful coach.”
The soccer is a subplot beneath a story of community that Callahan was such a proponent of.
“He taught a group of young men to work together while enjoying their time working together,” said Foley. “This tournament embodies that spirit. Both the competitive environment as well as the collective aspect. That’s why we are pushing this event as a festival, people coming together to work with and for each other.”
The festival's proceeds will support the CHS soccer program as well as the JC scholarship. The scholarship is given to one graduating CHS senior per year that in some way was influenced by the beautiful game.
“I’m humbled by the fact that the proceeds benefit our program as well as our graduates,” Foley said. “It represents what John was all about, providing teaching opportunities and a chance to advance in a soccer context.”
Following the conclusion of the tournaments, the festival moves to the Corvallis Sports Park upper deck, starting at 6 p.m., where there will be no-host food and beverages and people will be able to share stories and memories of Callahan.