Oct. 17, 2007
(Las Vegas) - Victor Arbelaez, a key member of USF's 1975 NCAA Division I National Championship team passed away Thursday, October 11. Funeral services were held in Las Vegas Wednesday, October 17, 2007 at St. Viator Catholic Church.
A legendary prep and club coach in Las Vegas, Arbelaez collapsed on the soccer field during a Bishop Gorman's boy's soccer practice and was pronounced dead at Summerlin Hospital. He was 54.
A two-time All-American at the University of San Francisco, Arbelaez scored eight goals with four assists for 20 points as a senior and scored in the Dons 4-0 shutout of Southern Illinois in the 1975 title match. A four-year letter-winner and a two-time team captain, Arbelaez played professionally for five years with the San Diego Jaws, Las Vegas Quicksilvers, Pittsburgh Spirit, Las Vegas Seaguls and Phoenix Fire.
"Victor was one of the all-time greats of USF soccer," USF head coach Erik Visser said. "He is a living example of what dedication, commitment and hard work are all about. He epitomizes what it means to be a winner on and off the field. He will be sorely missed. He exemplifies what the University of San Francisco and the soccer program represents."
It was with the North American Soccer League's (NASL) Las Vegas Quicksilvers, where Arbelaez enjoyed one of his greatest moments on the field. In 1977, he scored the lone goal for the Las Vegas Quicksilvers in a much-anticipated match against the New York Cosmos at what is now Sam Boyd Stadium, upstaging world-famous stars Pele of the Cosmos and Las Vegas teammate Eusebio.
Once his playing career ended, Arbelaez turned to coaching and excelled once again. In 22 seasons coaching Bishop Gorman, he was 371-31-8 and led the Gaels to 11 state championships. He also coached the Las Vegas Strikers, a club team, in 2004 and 2005.
In 2002, Arbelaez underwent surgery for lung cancer, and he had a benign tumor removed from his jaw in July 2006. He is survived by his three children, Nicholas, Victor Jr. "Boomer," and Jaclyn; his children's mother, Mary Arbelaez, all of Las Vegas; his mother, Susana of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; four sisters, Martha, Maria, Maggie and Vicky, all of Fort Lauderdale; and 30 nieces and nephews.