Tomás Boy, one of the most iconic figures in Mexican soccer history, died on March 8, 2024, at the age of 70. The former player and coach, who captained the national team in the 1986 World Cup, suffered a pulmonary thromboembolism, a condition that occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery in the lungs.
A Brilliant Career as a Player
Tomás Juan Boy Espinoza was born on June 28, 1951, in Mexico City. He began his professional career in 1972 with Atlético Español, and then moved to Atlético Potosino in 1974. However, he achieved his greatest success with Tigres UANL, where he played from 1975 to 1988. He scored 104 goals for the club, becoming its all-time top scorer until he was surpassed by Frenchman André-Pierre Gignac in 2016. He won two league titles, one cup, and one CONCACAF Champions League with Tigres.
He also represented Mexico in 52 international matches, scoring nine goals. He was the captain of the team that reached the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup, which was hosted by Mexico. He was known for his leadership, charisma, and skill on the field, earning him the nickname “El Jefe” (The Boss).
A Controversial Career as a Coach
After retiring as a player in 1988, Boy became a coach. He started with San Jose Earthquakes in the United States, and then returned to Mexico to manage several teams, such as Tampico Madero, Querétaro, Veracruz, Monarcas Morelia, Monterrey, Puebla, Atlas, Cruz Azul, Chivas, and Mazatlán FC. His last job was with Mazatlán, where he left in May 2023.
Boy was a controversial figure as a coach, often clashing with the media, the referees, and his own players. He was criticized for his defensive and rigid style of play, as well as for his lack of titles. He never won a league championship as a coach, although he reached the final twice, with Morelia in 2003 and Cruz Azul in 2015. He also had a brief stint as a sports analyst for ESPN.
A Tragic End
Boy’s health deteriorated in early 2024, when he was hospitalized in Acapulco, Guerrero, after suffering a pulmonary thromboembolism. the sports analyst also presented discomfort that caused his sudden hospitalization. He died on March 8, 2024, surrounded by his family and friends.
His death shocked the Mexican soccer community, which paid tribute to his legacy and expressed condolences to his loved ones. Many former teammates, players, coaches, and fans shared their memories and admiration for Boy on social media and in the press. He was remembered as a legend, a leader, and a passionate soccer lover.
Tomás Boy’s cause of death was a sad and unexpected event that marked the end of an era in Mexican soccer. He will always be remembered as one of the greatest players and personalities that the country has ever produced. Rest in peace, El Jefe.