By Robin Rieger
NEWFIELD, N.J. (CBS) - The soccer team at the all girls Our Lady of Mercy Academy High School in Newfield is trying to smile through their tears as they mourn the loss of a beloved family member Monday and rely on their good memories of him to cope.
“No one can even like focus right now because it’s so sad and so devastating and everyone’s in shock still,” said senior Elena Grady, team captain.
Their soccer coach, 31-year-old Philip Caporale, of Vineland, was killed around 5 Sunday morning when his car, headed eastbound on Route 40 in Franklin Township crossed the center line and collided with a westbound tractor trailer. He died at the scene.
“I think he fell asleep, the cop told me because there were no skid marks or anything,” said his mother Terri Moyner.
“Got a call yesterday and couldn’t believe it,” said his father Phil Caporale.
His parents describe how a visit Monday morning to the school’s soccer field brought them comfort. The players hung a poster with pictures and left mementos where they all celebrated Caporale’s 100th win last fall in his 8th season.
“I never knew what a great bunch of girls they were until they were hugging me telling me how sorry and they want to be here for me,” said Moyner.
His parents say aside from the incredible impression he left on those soccer players, they’re proud he got to live his dream.
“He’s happy. That’s what he wanted to do, just coach soccer,” said Caporale.
“He didn’t care if he had a nickel in his pocket, as long as he could coach these girls,” said Moyner.
At practice, the girls said he played right alongside them.
“It was just so fun watching him play, just watching him do what he loved. And he had so much fun with it,” said junior and soccer team member Caitlyn Covella.