Eric Alvarenga, a Glen Cove native, in a photo when he...

Eric Alvarenga, a Glen Cove native, in a photo when he was 15. Credit: Alvarenga family

Soccer fanatic Eric Alvarenga had his eye on the ball: joining the professional FC Barcelona soccer team.

The 11th-grader’s love affair with the sport started early and grew as he won youth trophies, including best goalie, his family said. At age 3, he was kicking a mini soccer ball as his father and uncles kicked the real one. Over the years, he just wanted to play — in the Glen Cove Junior Soccer League, at the soccer academy, with his neighbors in their yard and more — kicking the ball in the dark if the adults didn’t stop him.

“He wanted to be on the soccer field every day,” said Miguel Alvarenga, his uncle, or “tio,” the president of the Glen Cove Soccer League. “It’s so funny because even when we have barbecues with the whole family together, he’s always talking about soccer, with his friends, with his brother, with me, his parents. I said, ‘Why don’t you talk to your friends about girlfriends, about school?’ He said, ‘No Tio, I love soccer.’ ” 

Alvarenga, born and raised in Glen Cove, wore a Barcelona jersey from his uncle but never fulfilled his professional dream. He died suddenly March 14 in Charlotte, North Carolina, where his family moved about three years ago for better opportunities. He was 18.

The family had returned home from dinner, and feeling tired, Alvarenga went to bed, where his girlfriend found him dead two hours later, his uncle said. A medical examiner will determine the cause of death, he said.

Those who knew Alvarenga, the oldest of four children, described him as a “gentle spirit” who wanted to be helpful, from doing household chores for his mother to wanting to distribute pandemic donations with his uncle.

“I remember Eric always having a smile on his face,” said Nelson Iocolano, principal of Robert Finley Middle School in Glen Cove. “He was always very polite and well-mannered, a true embodiment of kindness and positivity.”

His tender soul was at times scared by the violence he saw in the world, his family said. When ISIS kidnapped and killed its victims, he told his uncle, “People are sick.”

Alvarenga said little Eric always wanted to hang out with him, from soccer events to the barbecue grill, where he’d tell his uncle, “That’s burned.” The teenager had a serious demeanor, ripe for teasing, like the times they caught little fish, his uncle recalled with laughter: “He wanted to grab the fish, but when I told him, 'It’s going to bite you,' he was scared.”

In recent years, the teenager was opening his mind to the world, his uncle said. He was exploring career options outside soccer. He relished trips to his parents’ native country, Honduras.

Alvarenga planned to go to college and play soccer, based on his uncle’s advice that it was the best way for professional recruiters to notice him. As a goalie, he could calculate the ball’s trajectory, screaming, “It’s mine!” to teammates and grabbing it, his uncle said.

In one of their recent conversations, the teenager said he longed to return to Glen Cove to be with his childhood friends and his uncle.

Now, Alvarenga said, he has “only happy memories” of his nephew.

Besides his uncle, he is survived by his parents, Erica and Jose Alvarenga; and siblings, Brian, Ever and Abby, of Charlotte.

A service was held March 23 at the Dodge-Thomas Funeral Home in Glen Cove, followed by burial March 25 at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.


Soccer fanatic Eric Alvarenga had his eye on the ball: joining the professional FC Barcelona soccer team.

The 11th-grader’s love affair with the sport started early and grew as he won youth trophies, including best goalie, his family said. At age 3, he was kicking a mini soccer ball as his father and uncles kicked the real one. Over the years, he just wanted to play — in the Glen Cove Junior Soccer League, at the soccer academy, with his neighbors in their yard and more — kicking the ball in the dark if the adults didn’t stop him.

“He wanted to be on the soccer field every day,” said Miguel Alvarenga, his uncle, or “tio,” the president of the Glen Cove Soccer League. “It’s so funny because even when we have barbecues with the whole family together, he’s always talking about soccer, with his friends, with his brother, with me, his parents. I said, ‘Why don’t you talk to your friends about girlfriends, about school?’ He said, ‘No Tio, I love soccer.’ ” 

Alvarenga, born and raised in Glen Cove, wore a Barcelona jersey from his uncle but never fulfilled his professional dream. He died suddenly March 14 in Charlotte, North Carolina, where his family moved about three years ago for better opportunities. He was 18.

The family had returned home from dinner, and feeling tired, Alvarenga went to bed, where his girlfriend found him dead two hours later, his uncle said. A medical examiner will determine the cause of death, he said.

Those who knew Alvarenga, the oldest of four children, described him as a “gentle spirit” who wanted to be helpful, from doing household chores for his mother to wanting to distribute pandemic donations with his uncle.

“I remember Eric always having a smile on his face,” said Nelson Iocolano, principal of Robert Finley Middle School in Glen Cove. “He was always very polite and well-mannered, a true embodiment of kindness and positivity.”

His tender soul was at times scared by the violence he saw in the world, his family said. When ISIS kidnapped and killed its victims, he told his uncle, “People are sick.”

Alvarenga said little Eric always wanted to hang out with him, from soccer events to the barbecue grill, where he’d tell his uncle, “That’s burned.” The teenager had a serious demeanor, ripe for teasing, like the times they caught little fish, his uncle recalled with laughter: “He wanted to grab the fish, but when I told him, 'It’s going to bite you,' he was scared.”

In recent years, the teenager was opening his mind to the world, his uncle said. He was exploring career options outside soccer. He relished trips to his parents’ native country, Honduras.

Alvarenga planned to go to college and play soccer, based on his uncle’s advice that it was the best way for professional recruiters to notice him. As a goalie, he could calculate the ball’s trajectory, screaming, “It’s mine!” to teammates and grabbing it, his uncle said.

In one of their recent conversations, the teenager said he longed to return to Glen Cove to be with his childhood friends and his uncle.

Now, Alvarenga said, he has “only happy memories” of his nephew.

Besides his uncle, he is survived by his parents, Erica and Jose Alvarenga; and siblings, Brian, Ever and Abby, of Charlotte.

A service was held March 23 at the Dodge-Thomas Funeral Home in Glen Cove, followed by burial March 25 at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.

From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

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From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

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