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York United Mauro Eustaquio

‘A Lot To Be Thankful For’: Amidst Tough Time Of Loss, Mauro Eustaquio Finds Purpose In Club Opportunity

By on May 24, 2024 0 862 Views

Mauro Eustaquio will step out of the tunnel tonight as York United’s head coach for the first time.

The interim boss will fill in for Martin Nash for the next couple weeks, tasked with guiding the club through a transitional moment in not only leadership, but in preparation to change their philosophy out on the pitch, too.

See Also: Why York United Fire Martin Nash, And What It Wants In His Successor

The moment in time comes during an emotional chapter for Mauro, who unexpectedly lost his father Armando earlier this month. The last year as a whole has been filled with extreme highs in lows for him, with his Mother passing away last year and the 31-year-old getting engaged over Christmas. Life – and death – come at you fast.

“It’s obviously something that we weren’t expecting,” he reflected to Eoin O’Callaghan on the Added Time Podcast, opening up about the loss of his Father that led him home to Portugal just weeks ago. “It came out of the blue, so that was an adjustment that I wouldn’t say has been made, but is continuing to be in new in our lives.”

Adjustment is an apt word for his work environment, too: upon his return to the club office, he found himself being asked to don the head coach role on an interim basis after the club opted for part ways with Martin Nash. It was an unexpected opportunity in a difficult time, but one that he’s all-in on.

Suddenly, it was Mauro’s responsibility to mark who cracked the team sheet and who didn’t: with he and the rest of the support staff remaining in place following Nash’s departure, he’s stepping into the role with a calm authority.

“You almost have to be a little bit cold. Funny enough, my personal life, my Dad’s situation and my Mom’s last year, it almost teaches you that you’ve got to be cold at certain moments. We have to be prepared to step up for certain occasions,” adds Mauro, who now replaces the man who gave him his opportunity in the professional level and had shown him a great element of trust in doing so.

York United Martin Nash
Photo Credit: John Jacques

“He was someone that always thought about this club very highly,” reflects Mauro on Nash. “We weren’t put into easy situations, but we always fought through and we still broke records, we still put ourselves in situations to succeed, and obviously I’m thankful for the opportunity that he gave me not only when he called me up, but during these past years.”

York United sit fifth place in league standings after six matches played. They’ve had a mix of strong and weak showings, and seem to be a team that has spurred to life in reactionary moments rather than the first whistle. The recipe for success is there, but Mauro’s role isn’t to enact the broad, sweeping changes – it’s to guide the club through these waters as best he can until the new gaffer gets signed.

“I’m not going to save the world in three or four days. You know, what we believe to be a successful team and the way that we want to play is still going to be very much what the team has been building towards since February, and in the last months,” adds Mauro, who finds that the season has been growing nicely on them.

The last two results came as a home win over Valour and a hard-fought away draw to Cavalry. After a tough home opener loss to Forge, the other two home games saw the Nine Stripes tally six goals in all. He home grounds are starting to be a fortress, and he wants to continue that during his tenure in charge.

York United Mauro Eustaquio
Photo Credit: John Jacques

Tonight will see York United host a Halifax side that will come in hungry after a nightmare start to the season: with only one point on the board, last year’s third-place finishers are bottom of the table and in dire need of a confidence-building win. Mauro’s first task is to deny that entirely.

“I’m going to make sure that the players know exactly what they have to do. The communication has to be as clear as possible, but we have to make sure that our intensity and our will is spot on, because that’s going to be a good base for us to have a good performance.”

Mauro believes snatching seven points from the last three games would be a very food accomplishment for the club, and he believes his players are ready for the opportunity despite what has, of course, been a whirlwind week for them too. Some of them have spoken to Nash, with the collective understanding that these tough moments are part of the professional game. Mauro believes their heads are clear.

“As much as Halifax may think that we’re shaky, I think the locker room is quite stable, quite hungry. I think this is actually a situation that makes us want to fight more, for all the memories that we’ve had with Martin. So I would say that the locker room is stable. I would say the locker room is focused on the goal, and I think the locker room is more hungry than ever.”

York United Mauro Eustaquio
Photo Credit: David Chant

For Mauro, he knows this transition won’t be easy: both players and staff had two-and-a-half years under Martin Nash, and those come with good moments that they will want to cherish. It’s his job to make sure that the team is ready, and that the message for change is very clear. That doesn’t mean players aren’t supported, whether in these difficult moments or not.

“When Nash was with us, the environment was always a positive one, it was always an open door type of policy where we could talk about what was going on, how would we become better, and the demand was there. I think for the players it’s important the staff is with them, they understand the situation. At the end of the day, we’re all here to perform, we’re all here to make sure that we get our goals and accomplish our tasks.”

On a personal level, the transition to this interim role has helped him put his head down and focus his energies as he deals with the tough, painful, and deeply personal loss of both parents in the span of a year. Sport has always been his escape, and it’s been his world since he was able to work professionally in it since the age of seventeen.

Cavalry FC Mauro Eustaquio
Photo Credit: John Jacques

“It’s something that brings me joy. At the end of the day, obviously there’s situations in life that happen. It is the pattern of life: your parents go before you. Unfortunately, they were super young, and the way that it happened, you know, you don’t understand it. But if you don’t accept it, if you don’t try to at least be in a happy place, things will just become harder. I know that my parents, both of them, they were very keen on making sure that we accomplished our goals. They were always that strength, both from my brother and I, to continue to punch through.”

That’s exactly what Mauro plans to do here in the present. Dialed in to the task-at-hand, he’s able to focus his talents on what the club needs and put himself in a space of productivity.

“We’ve got to move forward. I know they’re in a place now. They’re still looking for us. I still look for guidance through them, and at the end of the day I’m doing what I like. It’s, again, being almost extremely cold, but very, very passionate, obviously, with my parents…but I’m in a situation that I wanted to be in. I wanted to be in pro sports.”

Through both of those losses, Mauro found himself supported by the club, and that isn’t a fact lost to him. He says at this moment in time it’s about looking at what one has and not what they don’t.

“So even though the losses are big, I think there’s a lot in life to be thankful for and to be lucky to be exploring those options. So I think we’ll move forward. I think I’ll have my good days and bad days, but I just have to make sure that I have more good days and those bad days, that I make them better days.”

Source: Added Time Podcast with Eoin O’Callaghan

Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques

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