Former Union girls’ soccer coach Eric Shaw fondly remembers Julia Caseres

Former Union High School girls’ soccer coach Eric Shaw remembered Julia Caseres as not only a pretty good soccer player, but also as a person her teammates could look up to with pride.
“She led by her work ethic,” Shaw recalled in a phone interview Sunday night. “She was the hardest worker day in and day out and that’s how she approached it.”
A former standout soccer player at Union High School and then at New Jersey City University, Caseres passed away Friday after a year-long battle with a rare form of lung cancer.
She was only 28.
“Julia was one of the best players I ever had at Union,” said Shaw, whose first two seasons as the head coach at Union were 2006 and 2007, the junior and senior campaigns for Caseres. “Ability-wise, leadership-wise and character-wise she was top notch from the day she stepped into the program.”
Shaw, who is now the boys’ soccer coach at Westfield, was a head coach for the first time when he had Caseres in his lineup his first two years.
“She was a huge asset to our program back then,” Shaw said.
Longtime Scotch Plains girls’ soccer coach Kevin Ewing told Shaw that Caseres was, “always a threat,” and a player that “always made him nervous.”
After excelling for the Farmers, Caseres became the all-time leading scorer in the history of collegiate men’s or women’s soccer in the state of New Jersey after standout performances at NJCU. She was a highly-decorated Academic All-America and D3Soccer All-American honoree.
“She was the type of player who could change the game in a moment,” Shaw said. “She certainly had big goals for us.”
On Oct. 29, 2007 Caseres netted her final three goals for the Farmers, producing a hat-trick that helped lift Union past visiting Watchung Hills 4-2 in a North 2, Group 4 first-round contest.
Union went 10-10-1 in 2007 and 10-8-1 in 2006, both times eliminated by Bridgewater-Raritan in the N2G4 quarterfinals.
Also her senior season of 2007, Caseres scored three goals – two on headers – in a 5-1 home triumph over a 4-0 West Orange squad.
In her junior year at home against Summit it was a goal by Caseres – off an assist from Kyarah Foushee – in the 79th minute that enabled Union to tie Summit 3-3.
In Union’s next game three days later, Caseres scored three goals and assisted on two others in an 8-0 triumph at Irvington.
Later that season Caseres also had a hat-trick – netting three more goals – in an 8-0 home win over Newark East Side.
“She was a person who made a big difference for us,” said Shaw, who named Caseres a team captain. “She just loved the game and loved playing it and you saw that every day she showed up.”
Shaw said that after college Caseres coached for team called US Parma and played and coached for an adult women’s team.
“She was still connected to the game,” Shaw said. “She stayed connected to the game for a long time.”

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