Life of a Brave: Unsung Hero E-Sports Head Coach Gabe Giangualano
By Matthew Parsons
Head Coach of the E-sports program, General Manager of the soccer team and teacher at St. John Bosco, Coach Gabe Giangualano, has worked incredibly hard over the past few years at Bosco to provide the best opportunities for his students.
Despite not getting much recognition for his work around campus, he is still extremely passionate for what he does and is dedicated to all the boys who practice and work under him.
Before arriving on the Bosco campus as a teacher and coach, Coach Gabe was also, once upon a time, just another student who attended St. John Bosco. As he grew up in a family of nine in West Covina and Anaheim, all of his siblings took the private school route although he was the only one to attend Bosco. Coach Gabe has also had three of his sons attend Bosco, all of them active in the community and part of athletics programs.
As a child, Coach Gabe fell in love with sports, more specifically soccer. He’s always had a love for gaming, but his strong passion for E-sports came much later in his life. His love for soccer was ignited as a child when he scored a game winning goal.
After middle school, Coach Gabe was originally set to go to Servite, but fate had other plans when his father was given a promotion. Coach Gabe and his family were forced to move to Long Beach, leading him to attend Bosco.
When he attended Bosco, by his own admission, he was not an amazing student, but he poured himself into athletics. He dedicated himself to playing soccer at a high level and even won a league championship with his team. Though looking back, he somewhat regretted that he wasn’t so involved with his academics and grades, which is why he is a big supporter of the school’s Pathway Programs. His belief is that they allow a student to be much more engaged with their academics, helping them achieve more in school.
“I think there were too many distractions, you know, that kind of pulled me away from being a full academic, but I would have loved to join a Pathway here. And I think that would’ve committed me a little bit more,” said Coach Gabe.
Once Coach Gabe graduated from Bosco, he attended Long Beach City College and Cal State Los Angeles, where he played soccer for both schools. After playing soccer in college, he decided to make the transition to playing soccer at a higher level. This led him to Europe for a period of time, before coming back to the United States and becoming a teacher.
“If I could go back in time, I probably would have stayed more committed to playing at Cal State LA and seeing where that was going,” said Coach Gabe.
Even though for a long while he pursued a career in soccer, E-sports became a new goal of Coach Gabe’s. Even in college, he knew that eventually he wanted to do something with it. This dream had stuck with him ever since 2009, when he played World of Warcraft and had his own guild, climbing the national leaderboard and gaining personal recognition for his in-game achievements. He’s a firm believer in all types of games and their importance on being well rounded.
“I love games of all types: board games, video games. When you can sit down and compete on a different playing field and constantly compete and change the playing field, you create an ability to think outside the box and think for yourself,” said Coach Gabe.
Before his return to his alma mater, he taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District for six years at Huntington Park and Manual Arts High Schools before changing jobs to be a Staff Analyst, working on budgets for the L.A. County Office of Education, which he did for about seven years or so. He then transitioned into being a teacher at St. John Bosco, as he felt the desire to teach at a place where he believed the students actually wanted to be there and learn.
“I think, it was working at LAUSD when I realized every time I went to class, there were 90% of the kids that didn’t want to be there. And that constantly wears down on you too. And so I really wanted to be in a place where people want to be there,” Coach Gabe said.
Coach Gabe has always been personally interested in entrepreneurship and finance, and it was actually his plan out of college to work in entrepreneurship or have some sort of business somewhere. This has led him to teaching business and finance, computer applications, office practices and now, at Bosco, economics and third-year engineering.
Coach Gabe feels a great sense of joy and satisfaction organizing and leading the Esports program, which has allowed him to mentor the young boys who join and instill life lessons in them. He is extremely passionate about the program, many people had to come together and work very hard for it to come to fruition.
Six years ago he pitched the idea to the administration, and since the idea was not met with much support, it failed to start up. Two years later, he met with student Mauricio Contreras, who accumulated the support from several parents, and the matter was taken up with the principal, which gave them a chance to showcase E-sports potential. Several years later, they’ve become a winning program, getting a State Championship in Valorant last year and having garnered some standout partnerships, especially ones with Razer and HP Omen, which allowed them to create their new room E-sports room worth around $70,000.
Coach Gabe has only been a teacher and staff member at Bosco for a few years, but in that time, he’s been given a lot of responsibility. He is always dedicated to the Bosco community and feels a great sense of satisfaction watching it thrive.