by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Lauren Nygard Photography

San Marcos’ Juli Veee Had a Fulfilling Professional Soccer Career – Now He’s Fulfilling His Own San Diego Dreams

face02Juli Veee was born Gyula Vis in Budapest, Hungary. During his childhood, the communist government controlled every aspect of a Hungarian’s life. At 15, Juli was given a choice: pursue a career in soccer or table tennis. He chose soccer. Chafing under the restrictions of his totalitarian homeland, Juli defected at 18 while on a tour with the Hungarian U-21 national team. He took the profession he was forced to choose and turned it into a remarkable career here in the United States. Juli Veee played professional soccer from 1975 to 1988, for everyone from the Los Angeles Aztecs to the New York Arrows, but he most frequently played for his ‘hometown’ team of the San Diego Sockers.

‘Caps’ is a metaphorical term for a players’ appearance in a game at international level. Juli earned four caps and scored two goals with the U.S. National Team. He is most proud of his 10 years with the Sockers, where he was a three-time MVP scoring a total of 338 goals and 348 assists. Once he even scored three goals in 58 seconds in a game against the Dallas Tornadoes! Of his memorable achievements, he points to “being part of a great team and partaking in the unmatched legacy the SD Sockers developed here in San Diego. I still work with Raffi Rotolo and Brian Quinn at the SD Soccer League.”

Since he has retired from professional soccer, Juli is free to pursue other loves. He works for the nonprofit Pacific Southwest Community Development Corporation (PCSDC), which is an arm of Chelsea Investments and is the premiere builder of affordable housing in San Diego County. “I grew up in a similar circumstance in Hungary,” he confided, “and I enjoy working with the kids to show them they have an opportunity to make more of their lives.” In addition, he does charity work on the Alpha Project downtown, in San Marcos with North County Health Services, Palomar College, TERI, Inc. and the Boys and Girls Club.

Juli has two adult daughters and three grandsons who are big soccer players and fans. He’s also an artist, an opportunity he was not afforded growing up in Hungary but which he can pursue passionately now. “I have always loved art and literature, but I made my living playing soccer,” he shared. “Once my career was over I was free to pursue my interests in painting and books.”

Name: Juli Veee
Profession: Professional Soccer Player and Artist
Community: San Marcos since 2000
Interests: Book Collector
Favorite Local Spots: 55 Yardline Bar & Grill in Restaurant Row