When it comes to time devoted to local youth soccer, one name rises above all the rest — Jerry Boisvert.
“Since the inception of LCYSA (Lower Columbia Youth Soccer Association) in 1984, the one constant in the program year in and year out has been Jerry,” Past President Fergus Loughran wrote in a recent letter to the Oregon Youth Soccer Association.
That letter, in support of Boisvert, earned the longtime coach/volunteer/referee and field maintenance-man the prestigious OYSA Lifetime Achievement Award, which a partly surprised Boisvert received Saturday in Portland.
“I knew I was getting an award — my wife couldn’t pull me off to Portland without knowing that,” Boisvert said. “And I knew the OYSA was having its general meeting at the same time, so I just put two-and-two together.
“They had a table with 10 awards, and they went through all 10, and I thought, ‘great, they missed me.’”
But the humble Boisvert didn’t get off that easy.
It was then that the OYSA presented its Lifetime Achievement Award, named after Jimmy Conway, an original Portland Timber and former men’s coach at Pacific University and Oregon State.
Conway is a former Irish international association footballer who played professionally in Ireland, England and the United States. He also contributed as a coach and teacher at youth soccer clinics in Oregon.
“It’s about the most prestigious award you could ever hope to get,” Boisvert said.
Loughran and the LCYSA made the push for Boisvert to receive the award.
“He’s never taken a year off,” Loughran said. “Soccer and our community have always been his joy. He has been through 20 (LCYSA) club presidents and countless coaches.”
Boisvert has coached at every level of the LCYSA (recreation and classic), and initiated the club’s annual summer camp, which has run for more than 20 years. He also coached Astoria High School varsity boys soccer for seven years and the girls’ team for four years.
Since then, it’s been primarily Boisvert who takes care of the LCYSA fields on Ridge Road, in addition to coaching, officiating and helping at the summer camps.
“As a board, we have often spoke of how invaluable Jerry’s knowledge and labor have been to LCYSA, and I think we all wondered what if, God forbid, something happened to Jerry,” Loughran said.
And, unfortunately, something has.
Early in 2017, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer.
He had the bladder removed Oct. 8 in a surgery at OHSU, and he continues to undergo chemotherapy treatments.
“The surgery went fantastic,” Boisvert said. “My daughter organized a nice Thanksgiving dinner for me in Portland (complete with 31 Boisverts attending).
“But the chemo has not been very successful,” he said. “I was feeling good and getting ready to coach the U17 boys’ team this winter, but I got sick the first week of January, and I told Walt (Postlewait, the current LCYSA president) that I just physically couldn’t do it.”
Boisvert will continue to make trips to Portland to receive treatment.
“The cancer torpedoed us all,” Loughran said. “As Jerry has undergone chemo and the trials it inflicted on his body, we assembled a team of volunteers to mow and maintain the fields, line the fields, empty garbage, fertilize, spray edge, mend nets, fix leaks — the list is endless. It now takes six or seven of us to do what Jerry did by himself for years.”
In his letter to the OYSA, Loughran stated, “Lifetime achievement for youth soccer in Oregon? He’s an amazing candidate.”