High School Football Coach Rob Mendez Featured on Cover of ESPN The Magazine’s Heroes Issue—Hitting Newsstands on Friday

ESPN The Magazine

High School Football Coach Rob Mendez Featured on Cover of ESPN The Magazine’s Heroes Issue—Hitting Newsstands on Friday

Mendez will also be honored with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at The 2019 ESPYS on July 10 on ABC

To download cover: http://bit.ly/2IQDJkO

Rob Mendez was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder that caused him to be born without arms or legs, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a head football coach. In the next issue of ESPN The Magazine, Mendez writes a letter to the game that changed his life and allowed him to inspire so many others. Though Mendez himself was not able to play football, he did develop a passion for it at an early age. He taught himself the fundamentals of the sport using the Madden video games, became manager of the football team as a freshman in high school, and eventually quarterback coach in his senior year. After graduating, he spent 12 years as an assistant coach for various programs. Finally, in 2018, he was hired as a head coach for the junior varsity football team at Prospect High School in Saratoga, California. His football acumen, positive outlook, and genuine love for his team have made him a revered coach, and those around him are endlessly inspired by the adversity he overcomes in his day-to-day life. ESPN will also honor Mendez with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at The 2019 ESPYS presented by Capital One, live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET on July 10.

ESPN The Magazine’s Heroes Issue will also break down “Another Year of Living Heroically” as writer Dan Appenfeller highlights some of the past year’s daring rescues, feats of strength and feel-good moments from luminaries like Simone Biles, Mookie Betts and Chris Long—and from some remarkable regular folks too. Editors also reached out to 122 current stars across 27 sports for the “Starstruck!” feature to ask them a simple yet revealing question: Who was your childhood sports idol?

With the Women’s World Cup underway, The Mag has several features looking back on the golden memories of the heroes of ’99. In “Both Sides Now” writer Elaine Teng explains why the 1999 World Cup was an inspiration for her 9-year-old self as she grew up in a Chinese-American household. But the final hit a little too close to home. In “Instant Icons, Lasting Legends,” writers Laura M. Purtell and Lynn Olszowy look back on the U.S. National team that changed it all for women’s soccer—and female athletes. And in “Captain Fantastic,” Becky Sauerbrunn pens her thank-you to Carla Overbeck, who taught her to lead.

Also in this issue:

No Safe Place

Violence and death threats forced Saadiq Mohammed from Somalia and Kenya. In the U.S., he sought asylum—and a soccer field to call home. By Hallie Grossman

Handy Man

After being benched in the World Series, Cody Bellinger now leads MLB in WAR and owns the lefties who once owned him. How’s he done it? The All-Star wields five tools like a master craftsman. By Anthony Olivieri

It’s Chow Time

Who has the stomach to be the next Joey Chestnut? We asked Matt Stonie, holder of 13 competitive eating records and the last guy to beat Chestnut at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, about what it’s like to be a competitive eater ahead of this year’s Fourth of July contest…maybe let’s leave the Mustard Belt for the pros. By Lane Strauss

Tape of the Tales

Height? Reach? Who cares? Let’s break down UFC 239 purely with the best backstories from the main card. By Sachin Dave Chandan

Stadium Food Deconstructed: Noodle Me Timbers

Providence Park executive chef Tony Parker rhapsodizes about serving the Rose City’s eclectic palates, including this glass-noodle, cilantro-sesame-dressed Vietnamese salad. By Dan Hajducky

Field of Broken Plays

How hubris, ambition and colossal miscalculation doomed the Alliance of American Football. By Seth Wickersham and Michael Rothstein

From Willow to Wicket

A look inside the 125-year-old family-owned British company that handcrafts most of the bats used in this summer’s Cricket World Cup. Photographs by Kate Peters

Grammer Time!

Spotify alert! Andy Grammer’s new song “My Own Hero” debuts at ESPN’s 2019 Sports Humanitarian Awards, so The Mag asked the lifelong sports fan about his inspirations, his own heroes and those pesky KD-to-NY rumors. By Charlotte Gibson

The Mystery of Superhuman Strength

Athletes have long sought to harness the power of heroism. Why has it proved so elusive? By Scott Eden

The Numbers: Calling His Shot

Ahead of the 2019 NBA draft, a new cache of college basketball data is finally allowing statisticians to draw some firmer conclusions about the differences between the pro and college games. Peter Keating examines how Zion Williamson’s game may translate to the NBA. The rookie season of Deandre Ayton offers some tantalizing clues.

The Truth: Vicious Cycle

He cheated, he lied, he finally got caught. Howard Bryant explains why the Lance Armstrong story didn’t end with his fall from grace—it had sadly and predictably only just begun.


Jennifer Cingari Christie

Based in New York City, Jennifer Cingari Christie is a Communications Manager for ESPN Films and Original Content. Her projects include the critically-acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary series, ESPN The Magazine and The ESPYS, among others.
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