“The sport of soccer is a teacher of life.”
It was always more than a game for retired San Diego Socker Frank Vizcarra. He could see the life lessons in the sport he loved and knew one day he would use them as tools to succeed off the field.
“You learn about the value of teamwork, relationship building, how to depend on others, discipline and focus,” says Frank. “It’s about trusting your brain to read complex schemes and how to read a person’s moves and intentions.”
In the early 1980s, Frank played professionally in Portland, Columbus, Denver and finally in San Diego. Sockers fans will remember Frank as a midfielder for the team from 1982-1983. He remained involved with the team until 1987.
After retirement, he launched a successful career in the restaurant industry working for McDonald’s for more than 20 years, earning his way up to Corporate VP of Strategy. Frank, who graduated from Ohio State University in 1979, says education is vital when switching careers, especially for athletes who will eventually have to retire.
“Get educated. If you did not finish college, do so. Find out what you would like to do after soccer long before you decide to stop playing. Then, become really good at it. Use the time you have every day to exercise your mind and grow in the knowledge of that which you would like to do.”
After retiring from McDonald’s in 2006, Frank launched a consulting firm. It was also important to him to give back to the community, so the following year he and his family founded the College Success Program. The program provides a path out of poverty to underprivileged students through scholarships. And he didn’t stop there. Four years ago, he founded the Opportunity Foundation to fund multiple scholarship programs.
At this point, Frank could have slowed down, kicked back and enjoyed a quiet retirement. But that’s not his style. In 2015, he and his children founded Vizcarra Enterprises LLC, DBA LOLA 55, a new concept for a chain of Mexican restaurants. They opened LOLA 55 in San Diego in August 2018 with plans to eventually open more.
“LOLA 55 is the culmination of two years of researching the taco space in the United States and Mexico,” Frank says.” It blends the traditional taste of Mexico with the modern taste of the new generation of Mexican chefs.”
Frank still supports the Sockers, although now he’s a fan in the stands with fans who sometimes do a double take. “Some of the fans still recognize me, especially those with whom I developed a friendship. From time to time, some even come into the restaurant to say ‘Hi!’.”
Those life lessons Frank learned on the soccer field have clearly helped him win at the game of life. And with as much as he’s accomplished since he retired from the sport he loved, he still cherishes the memories and friendships he formed during his time on the Sockers.
“I had a great time being a player for the San Diego Sockers,” says Frank. “The level of play was the highest in the league. Playing alongside Julie Vee, Kaz Deyna, Jean Willrich, Alan Meyer, Vidal Fernandez, Cha Cha Namdar, as well as the rest of the team, was a real joy. Frankly, the bond in the team was so strong that whenever I see one of the guys all the fun we had together comes back in a hurry.”