Jim Creasey has devoted his life to good things |
Jim Creasey will tell you that every human being has value. That every person deserves recognition. On that note, we want to take a moment to recognize a man who, in one way or another, has given a great deal of value to this community.
You might know him as Coach Jim. Crusty, competitive, loveable Coach Jim. The sideline sovereign who pioneered soccer as we know it in Boulder County, making the game one of — if not the — most popular local pursuits, especially for school age kids.
“Soccer can’t be about the money and it can’t be about the coaches’ egos – it has to be about the kids,” Creasey says. “If you keep that at the forefront, you’re going to be successful.”
Creasey’s clear cut success is easily measured: he was assistant coach for UCLA men’s soccer, making it to the national finals twice. He was a winning coach for early Boulder High School varsity boys and girls soccer teams. His current team of U16 girls is having a huge season. He has been and continues to be a visionary for youth soccer here in Boulder County.
Creasey began coaching locally for Boulder Junior Soccer in the 1980s and later launched the Nova soccer club. Nova eventually became Boulder Athletic and ultimately merged with another local soccer club to become today’s FC Boulder. A director, coach, mentor, referee and passionate advocate throughout, Creasey was inducted into the Colorado Youth Soccer Hall of Fame in January 2013.
“What I hope I’ve been able to do is bring the game to anyone and everyone who wants to play – no matter their economics, no matter what language they speak, no matter how much their parents can be involved,” he explains.
That effort continues. Right now it means bringing afterschool soccer to 60 + children at elementary schools in Boulder through his volunteer service at El Centro Amistad, a local non profit that works to empower and develop leadership among immigrant communities. Creasey is ardently committed to that cause.
“We’re spreading the message of fitness and better health, and soccer is just one way we’re doing it,” he explains.
A gifted young athlete, Creasey was awarded a baseball scholarship to Biola University in Southern California in the 1960s. There he discovered the game of soccer and at the same time became a devoted Christian. He would go on to coach for American Athletes for Action, recruiting players from across the US for a missionary team to Latin America.
“We had a perfect record – we lost every game,” he says with a smile. “But the important work we were doing – sharing our faith – that was a huge success.”
While earning a Master’s degree in family and marriage counseling from Azuza Pacific University, Creasey worked as an assistant soccer coach at UCLA. There he took his team to the national championships twice (with heartbreaking losses in the finals).
At UCLA, Creasey met John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach who won 10 NCAA titles in 12 years. This friendship made a lasting imprint.
“John Wooden was just an incredible individual, and every good thing you’ve heard about him is true,” Creasey says. “He taught me what has become a guiding philosophy: recognize the value of every individual, accept that value, build on it, and help people achieve what they can in this life.”
By fusing two passions: soccer and service, Jim Creasey has done just that for countless kids throughout our community.
Take his current team: FC Boulder U16 Girls Galaxy. Integrating nine new players, Creasey and assistant coach Jed Marquis have a 6-1-1 record, allowing just 4 goals in league play this season and scoring 37.
“He’s a good coach because he’ll tell it to you straight. He doesn’t baby anyone,” says player Olivia Gribbon. “Most of all he knows what he’s talking about. Everyone really respects him.”
“They make me laugh,” Creasey says. “The other day I said something about having always wanted daughters and they told me, well Coach, now you have 15!”
But right now, Creasey doesn’t want to talk about soccer. He wants to talk about the causes so dear to his heart: El Centro Amistad. Flood relief for mountain towns and families hit hard by the disaster. Raising money so more kids can play competitive soccer. His work with the Kiwanis Club. And so much more.
He also wants to talk about his family. Married for nearly 40 years, Creasey and his wife Debbie raised two sons in Boulder. He spends a great deal of time with his five grandchildren.
Most of all, Creasey wants to express that his faith as a Christian is the most important part of his life.
“We’re all here for a purpose,” he says. “My purpose is to serve.”