Arturo Marquez Jr., a 14-year-old Stockton, Calif., resident and rising soccer standout, died of gunshot wounds sustained late Friday night, according to published reports and San Jose Earthquakes youth team coaches.
Marquez, who was a freshman at Lincoln (Stockton, Calif.), played club soccer for Stockton Manteca and, most recently, with the Stockton Storm, where Earthquakes under-14 coach Jeff Jenkins took notice of the player. "I had just called his grandfather to invite (Marquez) to play for us in an upcoming event," Jenkins said. "He was a great kid, a hard-working kid and he had tons of talent. It’s shocking and sad."
Jenkins said Marquez was part of the extended player pool that the Earthquakes use in order to identify players who will represent the club at the Pre-Academy and US Soccer Development Academy levels.
Jenkins said Marquez's best friend, a current member of the Earthquakes' Pre-Academy team, was next to Marquez when he was shot in what appears to be a random drive-by shooting at a house party. "We're all affected by this," Jenkins said. "We have a player who is trying to grasp that his best friend is dead and why God spared him."
Jenkins and Earthquakes technical director Chris Leitch said the club plans to hold a fundraiser in March to help Marquez's family. Details have yet to be finalized.
Leitch said several players on the Earthquakes' Under-16 Academy team knew Marquez.
"He was part of our [Earthquakes] family," Leitch said. "This is going to touch us all."