The New Bedford High School Soccer team and the Whaling City itself suffered a massive loss on Thursday after the unexpected passing of longtime coach Valdir “Val” Araujo at the age of 53.

“He was loved by so many of our athletes,” wrote NB HS Boys Soccer on Twitter. “Our deepest condolences go out to the Araujo family at this time.”

Araujo had been an assistant coach for the Whalers for 12 years. He was a founder, coach, and member of the St. Michael Futebol Club.

WBSM-AM/AM 1420 logo
Get our free mobile app

“Val loved everything about this club and every player who came to play here,” the club stated.

Justin Medeiros coached with Araujo both at New Bedford and with the St. Michael Futebol Club, coaching many teams together and also serving as the president-vice president duo.

“Val’s life revolved around his love for the game. He had such a huge impact on so many young lives that his legacy will continue to live on through each and every one of those players he had the opportunity to coach," Medeiros said.

Medeiros said his impact as a person was even bigger than the impact he had as a coach.

"He was a great family man and an even better friend to many. His presence and loving personality lit up the room wherever he was," he said. "He will be greatly missed by so many in the soccer community and he will be remembered for many years to come.”

The futebol club generously put together a fundraising campaign to assist the Araujo family with the unexpected loss and unfortunate expenses that follow.

Loss is never easy, but it's clear that Araujo leaves behind a legacy in New Bedford of being a positive role model, dedicated coach, and loving friend.

More From WBSM-AM/AM 1420