Sparks High Girls Soccer Teams Remember Coach Killed in Shooting

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FERNLEY, NV - Just one day after the tragedy at Sparks Middle School, the students and staff who knew Michael Landsberry are still coping with loss, and some still can't believe it happened. The Sparks High School girls Junior Varsity and Varsity soccer teams pressed on to play against Fernley High school Tuesday, in honor of their favorite coach.

When the 36 Sparks High School girls soccer team pulled up to Fernley High school for their game, there was just one person missing in action.

"On the bus today, it was pretty loud, but I liked it because it kept my mind off things," Evelyn Nunez, team manager, said. "It wasn't like it was before."

"Our coach asked us, 'do you want to play {today}' and we all said 'yes' because that's what he would want, to be on this field," Sierra Balois, former student, said.

With the tragedy still fresh on their minds, their hearts were heavy, but they carried on because there was only one goal in this game that mattered to them.

"We came to win for him and in his honor," Nunez said.

Michael Landsberry had been coaching soccer for more than 15 years, but took this year off to be closer with his family. His wisdom carried through past the green turf.

"Even off the field he would be there and he would never give up and he would motivate us throughout everything," Nunez added.

"I could go on about him because he's made a huge impact on my life," Balois said. "Every day we would walk into class, he stood by the door with a big smile on his face."

The players relied on each other for support and held it together for their current coach, a man still mourning for his best friend.

"It's like losing a brother," Coach Jerry Miller said. "It's just been numb. Part of the therapy was doing this game; it takes my mind off of it."

"It's really not easy, because you don't know what's going to happen to you especially when one of the closest people you know has his name is on TV," Balois said. "It's really not easy."

However, his presence still lives on; the team tied ribbons to commemorate him--green for solidarity and black for mourning, all while keeping memories of him close. Even the opposing team showed respect to the Railroaders by wearing gold and maroon ribbons in their hair.

"I will always remember him for everything that he did, especially taking that bullet for us."

Students remember him for his Batman obsession, his dedication and love for his students. Nunez says his most popular quote to the students was "I love you to the fence and back."

"He was a superhero persona," Miller said. "He died a hero."

The team achieved the goal, hoping to make Coach Landsberry proud. The JV team won 2-0.