Fresno soccer player Moises Martinez has died. Help sought for funeral expenses

Moises Martinez
Moises Martinez Special to The Bee

Fresno soccer player Moises Martinez died Monday afternoon following a severe brain aneurysm last year.

He was 25.

His fiancée, Juanita Barrita, who is seven months pregnant with their daughter, made a GoFundMe online donation account to help his family cover funeral costs.

The Fowler man played soccer for the Fresno FC junior team and was on the training roster for the Fresno Foxes USL Championship team.

“We want to thank everyone who was there by his side during the tough five months he was fighting for his life,” Barrita said Tuesday. “We appreciate everyone spreading the word and recognizing the person he was.”

The family is working on setting a date for a memorial service.

Juanita Barrita talks about her fiancé, Moises Martinez, a former West Hills College player who played for Fresno FC. Photographed Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018 in Fresno. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA

Martinez fell unexpectedly ill in October and was rushed to a hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. Family learned his aneurysm and a ruptured vein was caused by a serious genetic condition, described as a tangle of veins in the back of his head that doctors called “a bomb waiting to go off.”

Fresno FC shared condolences Tuesday on Instagram, writing, “You’ll be a Zorro in our hearts forever, Moi.”

“Moises was a son, brother, friend, teammate, loving fiance and expecting father when his life was cut short by a tragic turn of events,” the soccer club wrote in a statement Tuesday. “Moises will always remain in our hearts, leaving behind a legacy in our Central Valley soccer community. Our hearts are with his family at this difficult time, and forever.”

Martinez came to the U.S. from Mexico with his family when he was 3 and had been living in the central San Joaquin Valley since he was in middle school. Milton Blanco, a Fresno FC player who also does coaching and promotions for the team, said last year that Martinez “would do whatever for his family.”

Blanco recalled Martinez bringing home additional income for his parents by selling traditional Mexican ice cream, bolis, that his mother made.

Moises Martinez’s mother, Teresa Ramos, left, is seen as Martinez’s fiancé, Juanita Barrita, sits to the right, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018 in Fresno. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA

Assistant coach Jose Luis Delgadillo described him as humble, positive, respectful, and a “light.”

“Apart from being a great soccer player … he was always willing to work hard and he would always be smiling,” Delgadillo said.

Jose “Capi” Delgadillo, a Fresno Fuego assistant coach, talks about Moises Martinez, a former Fresno FC player. Photographed Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018 in Fresno. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA

Martinez was a forward and midfielder for the Fresno FC under-23s team – a non-professional team competing within the USL’s Premier Development League, which requires the majority of players to be 23 or younger.

Fresno FC, the Valley’s first pro soccer club that plays at Chukchansi Park, is a member of the United Soccer League, one division below Major League Soccer.

Martinez played for Selma High School and then West Hills College in Lemoore. In 2017, he was part of Broken Drum, a seven-player team that won the Fresno qualifier of the U.S. Neymar Jr. Five challenge, winning a trip to the national championship in Miami.

Juanita Barrita talks about her fiancé, Fresno FC under-23 player Moises Martinez, who has been at UCSF for over a week

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Carmen George is a features and news reporter for The Fresno Bee. Her stories have been recognized with Best of the West, George F. Gruner, and McClatchy President’s awards, and nine first or second place awards from the California News Publishers Association. She has a passion for sharing people’s stories to highlight issues and promote greater understanding.