Coach Buddy Monument Installed at Shipman Park Soccer Fields
The soccer fields at Shipman Park in Kea‘au were named the “Buddy Perry Soccer Fields” last year in honor of the late Justin Masayoshi “Buddy” Perry, after members of the Nā Hoa O Puna Soccer Club petitioned the county to name the fields after “Coach Buddy.”
The sign reads: JUSTIN MASAYOSHI “BUDDY” PERRY
Coach Buddy was known as a strict and loving soccer coach. He was born on O‘ahu and raised on Maui. He moved to Hilo to attend the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo in 1997. When his first son was old enough to participate in sports, Coach Buddy became a volunteer coach for Puna AYSO.
There were not many options for competitive sports in Puna, so years later, he founded Nā Hoa O Puna Soccer Club.
Coach Buddy was diagnosed with ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in 2009 but continued on with his tireless devotion to Nā Hoa O Puna Soccer Club. His love and passion for the sport and the children made him stronger even though his health was deteriorating.
On Dec. 13, 2015, he passed away peacefully at his home in Puna, leaving area youth with much to be thankful for and many life lessons learned.
He was hard on his players, knowing it would help them to better individuals on and off the field.
As Coach Buddy would say, “Always play hard and never forget where you come from.”