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For week ended January 23, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Eileen Bell

LDS Coach Builds Better Lives for His Players
Los Angeles Times 22Jan00 P2
By Agustin Gurza

This article looks at the life of Justo Pastor Frutos, the men's soccer coach at Santa Ana College in California. Now a 58 year old grandfather, Brother Frutos has had a positive impact on many lives.

Growing up in Paraguay, young Justo seemed to have the potential to become a soccer star. Instead, years of smoking and drinking took that away before he became an adult. Happily, his life changed course when he began working as a language translator for Halver Skinner at the U.S. Agency for International Development in Asuncion.

Brother Skinner, from Montana, helped Justo find purpose in his life. He also introduced him to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Justo was baptized and served a mission in Uruguay. He moved to the U.S. afterwards, and married Kathryn Skinner, his mentor's daughter.

He received a Bachelor's degree in Education from the University of Utah, and was hired to teach English and Spanish in Santa Ana. He has had various teaching jobs there, and has coached soccer for 30 years. Sister Frutos says, "He not only has a winning soccer team, but he has influenced young men in a way that has caused them to turn their lives around."

He helps his students learn to value their education, making sure that on road trips their schoolwork doesn't slip. Brother Frutos tells them, "I've been there. We have many young men here in this city who have practically the same situation I did."

He spends time putting together inspirational readings for them. "The obstacles you will find, whatever they may be--prejudice, discrimination, difficulty with language--will be things you will have to get around and solve."

His college team has won three state championships in the past five years. In 1999, they were the1999 national champs by a vote of two-year college coaches.


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