Those who knew Adrian Alcantara said he had a heart of service that always went under the radar. Whether he was preparing five-course meals for his friends and family or coaching and mentoring youth football players, Alcantara loved giving back.
That’s why the Sobrato High football community and his loved ones are in mourning after Alcantara died on March 29. He was 31 years old and is survived by his mom, Thuy “Minnie” Recinos, stepfather Mario Recinos, and stepbrothers Mikel, Matthew and Daniel Recinos.
Mario Recinos said a cause of death had yet to be determined, but a “cardiopulmonary event resulted in his demise.” Recinos said officers have ruled out any drug-related issues, paraphernalia and foul play.
Alcantara was Sobrato’s junior varsity football coach for the past two seasons and a site manager for the South Valley Football League, a popular non-contact youth football program associated with Gridiron Football.
“This one hurts,” former Sobrato varsity football coach Jubenal Rodriguez said. “He was well loved by all of his players and anybody he ever interacted with. He was very caring, very selfless, and his ability to maintain a positive attitude regardless of the situation was super contagious. He will definitely be missed.”
Rodriguez said he and Alcantara initially met as Sobrato High football teammates in 2004, the first year the school fielded a football team. They grew so close that Alcantara was a groomsman at Rodriguez’s wedding. Thuy Recinos said her son was set to be a groomsman at another one of his friend’s weddings in October.
Mario Recinos said Alcantara’s biological dad, Gilford Alcantara, helped instill a love of sports in his son. Adrian started playing Little League Baseball and Pop Warner Football in his early grade school years, and continued playing both sports through high school.
Gilford died in 2004, when Adrian was 13 years old.
“His father was really the spark that lit up his interest in sports, and that basically blossomed into a passion for football,” Mario said. “The seed that was planted from his father at an early age, that really stuck with him and I think he honored his father by being successful in the one thing his father would be smiling about, which is out on the football field.”
Rodriguez cherishes all of the memorable moments that were forged with Alcantara, but being teammates on Sobrato’s inaugural football team stood out.
“I’ll never forget having him as a teammate because there was never a drill where you could take it easy,” Rodriguez said, “because every time you went up against Adrian, you knew he was going to give it his all so you had to as well.”
Alcantara first got into coaching in 2017 as an assistant with Rodriguez at Gilroy High and was part of the staff that led the Mustangs to a perfect 13-0 season and Central Coast Section championship. A couple of years later, he took a role as the site manager for Gridiron Football and as a coach at Sobrato.
“He enjoyed working with young kids and helping them, mentoring them,” Mario said. “He didn’t have any kids of his own, and I think the lessons he learned in football motivated him to return the favor.”
Thuy echoed similar sentiments: “He mentored kids and I remember him saying, ‘Mom, I understand now. Sometimes kids don’t listen to parents, but they’ll listen to coaches.’ So it made me smile and feel like he understood (the value of coaching). I think he saw himself in a lot of kids he was mentoring.”
Alcantara’s memorial service is scheduled to be held at Darling & Fischer Garden Chapel at 471 E. Santa Clara St. in San Jose on April 7 at 11am.
Mario admired Alcantara’s grit and dedication for promoting youth football players and their achievements, and he hopes others will take the torch and run with it.
“We can only hope his friends who are now teaching and are coaches will carry on his legacy and passion for mentoring our youth,” Mario said. “We’re still reflecting on the impact he had. It will take a long time to come to grips with his passing.”
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]