Jaret Toshiro "JT" Minami started playing club soccer at age seven and went on to garner an athletic scholarship to play on the men's soccer team at Cal State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). According to his coach, "JT was definitely the most quietly competitive person I have ever met, and he's probably the nicest kid I've ever coached." At age 25, JT suffered a sudden neurological disorder; he died four days later. His family all agreed JT would want to be an organ donor, a decision that was confirmed when they discovered JT had already signed up on the donor registry.
Jaret Toshiro "JT" Minami grew up with a passion for the great outdoors and had fun playing soccer, fishing, camping surfing and hanging out with his family and friends. JT always sought to help others and befriend those kids who were often alone and had no one talk to. "After he passed, many of his friends told us that JT had such a kind heart," said his mother Barbara. "He was a true friend who didn't care about what was on the surface or befriend you simply to better his career."
JT had played club soccer since he was seven and went on to garner an athletic scholarship to play on the men's soccer team at Cal State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). He graduated with honors in business administration and was the recipient of the Dr. Hal Charnofsky Male Scholar Athlete of the Year award in 2006. After college, JT worked as a customer service representative at an automobile company.
“Players like him are why you coach," said Joe Flanagan, JT's coach at CSUDH. "I knew him as a student and as a teammate, and he was extremely well-liked by his peers and teammates. JT was definitely the most quietly competitive person I have ever met and he's probably the nicest kid I've ever coached."
On July 30, 2008, JT suffered a sudden neurological disorder; he was only 25. The exact cause was never determined, although the numerous concussions he suffered playing soccer over the years may have been a contributor. After four days in a coma, JT's family and friends said goodbye to him. The CSUDH soccer team wore his uniform number 3 on their sleeves in his honor during the 2008 season.
"When asked about organ donation, our family all agreed that is what JT would want. Unbeknownst to us, JT had already signed up to be an organ donor and was in the donor registry," said Barbara. "We are so thankful and grateful that JT is able to bless others with the gift of life. He is a hero in our eyes and his gift of life has saved and improved the lives of many others."