The sympathy for the untimely passing of former Pachuca goalkeeper Miguel Calero was heard throughout the soccer world this week. For former teammate and fellow Colombian Oscar Pareja, the Rapids head coach, Calero's death was difficult news to accept.
Pareja and Calero were teammates for three years with Deportivo Cali and on the Colombian National Team. In 1996, with Calero in goal and Pareja in the midfield, Cali won their first championship in 22 years. The two had remained in contact during their time in Colombia, and their spouses had also become friends.
"It's an indescribable sadness," Pareja told ColoradoRapids.com from England. "Miguel was a person that was full of life, with a young family, and had so much more to give as a person and to our sport. This is just incredibly sad. On behalf of my wife, Sandra, and our family at the Colorado Rapids, I want to express our sincere condolences to Miguel's wife, Sandra, and their children."
The 41-year-old Calero was initially hospitalized in Mexico City last weekend with cerebral thrombosis and then declared brain dead by doctors on Monday. Pachuca confirmed his passing on Tuesday, as Pareja was about to derpart to England for a scouting trip.
Local soccer fans may recall Calero and Pachuca's appearance at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on July 31, 2007, where the Tuzos defeated Chivas Guadalajara 1-0 in a SuperLiga match in front of 14,069 fans.
(Photo: Oscar Pareja with former Rapids midfielder Carlos 'El Pibe' Valderrama and Miguel Calero while with Deportivo Cali).