Long before Jozy Altidore was booting big goals for Team USA, Barbara Schulz and her soccer coach husband Josef noticed a little guy in Boca Raton with big potential.
"Josef saw (Altidore) -- he was not even 8 years old -- with his father there," Barbara recalled. "We were jogging, and Josef went up to (Altidore's) father and said he will one day be playing in the World Cup."
Altidore's parents laughed, but soon Jozy was training with Josef Schulz. He would coach Altidore for more than seven years.
Photos of the young Altidore show the growing relationship. From soccer games to soccer cakes, Altidor and Josef had something special.
"Like a second father to him -- a father-son relationship," Barbara said.
The bond between the two grew until last July when Josef was diagnosed with an aggressive colon cancer. He died only four months after being told of the illness.
Barbara said Altidore has pledged to help keep the Schulz Academy alive once the World Cup ends.
"(He) always said, 'When you need help, I'll help in any way I can,'" Barbara said.
Watching Altidor heal from his hamstring injury in Brazil has helped Barbara mend.
Successful stars who grew up on South Florida's fields, like Altidore and Weston's Alejandro Bedoya, Barbara believes are good for her and her husband's soccer-loving souls.
"We are really proud of him," she said. "I know Josef is with him all the way."
Barbara is having a memorial three-on-three soccer tournament for her husband July 20. For more information or to register, visit SchulzSoccerAcademy.com.