Keith SouzaIn the spirit of our We Love Our Coaches Award, we’d like to share a story of a coach who restored a former Major League Baseball player’s love for the game.  

 

After years of finding joy from baseball and playing for major league teams like the Anaheim Angeles and St. Louis Cardinals, Jason lost his ability to continue to play in the major leagues due to a shoulder injury. He battled depression and anxiety and even had bad dreams about not being able to compete professionally. His injury also stole his love for the game.

 

Eight years later, Jason randomly stirred up a conversation about baseball with an off-duty Oakland police officer, Keith, and they exchanged numbers to keep in touch. Later, Keith gave Jason a call and asked if he’d like to be a member of his adult baseball team he’d been coaching for over 20 years. Jason reluctantly said yes, not knowing how this decision would change his life. It had been almost ten years since he had stepped on a baseball field.

 

Before Jason’s first time at bat, Keith took him aside and said the most important words Jason had heard in years. Keith said, “It’s just a game.”  Jason not only played a specular game that day, but still plays for Coach Keith’s team, which has won two national championships.


Keith helped revive Jason’s passion for not only baseball, but life. Keith was also the Director of the Oakland (PAL) Police Athletic League from 2014-2016. He coached his own twin boys throughout their little league baseball career, and every year Keith invests over $5,000 to give back to his baseball community and asks nothing in return. The world needs more coaches like Keith.