John Trino was a man of many talents. A produce packer by trade, but his biggest achievement to Kern County was what he did in 1977 that completely revolutionized the game of soccer in the region.
Trino leased a 12-0-acre parcel on Alfred Harrell Highway from the county and brought along some of the smartest soccer minds around like Dr. William Baker, Dan Imes, Richard Peoples, Trice Harvey, Gene Tackett, Mary K. Shell and John Gotjen, to name a few, to build what we now know as the Kern County Soccer Park.
The achievement was so big, that Pele himself made an appearance to the park in 1988 for the grand opening.
KCSP has become a staple for the county with 21 fields, four major concession stands, and a building on site that has been used as staff office and tournament headquarters and a grand entrance into the park that has welcomed millions of visitors of the park over the decades. The park had been a work in progress for nearly two decades before it finally opened, but Trino was steadfast in his quest to give back to the community.
The sport was growing exponentially in Kern County and in the late 1960s, there was not enough fields for the amount of soccer teams and Trino knew a multi-field complex was a necessity. Along with Hank Hinse, a regional commissioner for the AYSO Region 181, was looking for more space. Trino then received a call from Frank Stramler, the head of the county parks and recreation department and showed him the land parcel. And it wasn’t a pretty sight.
It took another five years before the ball really got rolling and after 11 years later, his dream became a reality.Over the course of decades, Trino then became the CEO and president of the park and its foundation.
Trino, who passed away on Oct. 9 of this year, also qualified for the IRONMAN competition in 1983. Despite breaking his right ankle referring soccer, Trino entered his first IRONMAN competition in Maui on March 15 of that year and went on to compete four more triathlons in Bakersfield and many more around California.
Trino also spent years as a soccer official, becoming a national instructor and was the first USSF national referee in Bakersfield and 24th in state history. He officiated pro league, junior college, NCAA-level soccer games during his career.