Milwaukee Wave greats remember fallen friend

Posted at 7:28 PM, May 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-02 20:28:53-04

Jimmy Banks was just 54 when he passed away from pancreatic cancer last week. So just how much will former Wave player and Milwaukee native be missed?

"I played in Cleveland and we had another African American player that played on that national team that went to the World Cup, Desmond Armstrong," Milwaukee Wave all-time leading scorer Michael King. "They were pioneers, you know. There wasn't many players of color on the team and they literally put a team on the map."

"It was hard, it was hard to hear," Larry Sayles, who has worked for the Milwaukee Wave all 35 years they've been a franchise, said. "And then he was the only player that I've had his son play for us also, you know so that was a special thing."

Banks was a trailblazer and a pioneer in many ways.

"We have a lot of inner city programs here at the Milwaukee Kickers," King said. "We do a lot with the inner city after school programs and stuff and so he was really the pioneer in setting that up and hopefully you know, we can continue the great work that he's done."

"He helped the inner city kids and he started so many things," Sayles said. "It wasn't about Jimmy Banks, it was about the game of soccer and giving back to the kids in the community."

And the hope?

"Hopefully Sunday can be a celebration not only for the Wave winning a championship - hopefully winning a championship, but also a celebration of his life," King said.

"And hopefully he's up there, cheering us on to a victory this weekend," Sayles said.