Joe and Kelly… The Best of Retirement in La Cruz

Delightful, happy, inspiring, and always thinking of others, Kelly and Joe Scopazzo changed their world and in so doing make a difference to those around them. Like many of us, it all started with the love of the area, purchasing a condo as a vacation home and then figuring out how to move here. The Scopazzos started visiting La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in 2009, bought their condo in 2010 and transitioned into retirement in 2016. They love the lifestyle, the culture, the weather, the good food and the safety.

Hailing from Vernon, BC, Canada they owned two construction-related businesses for over two decades. 
Once retired they looked to the community of La Cruz, assessing the needs, helping friends with their pets, volunteering with children at schools and our local kids camp. When they noticed kids playing with a torn, deflated soccer ball, they wanted something better for them.

“Joe has many talents in all areas of coaching, being a certified soccer coach to both house and rep soccer teams over ten years,” Kelly told me. “He traveled with the rep team throughout British Columbia and into the United States. Joe played soccer over the years, from youth to various men’s leagues. He also coached T-ball (baseball) to the young five- and six-year-olds when our son was that age. Joe always enjoyed coaching kids and gets great pleasure from watching them learn and improve their skills.”

When they put out the call to friends asking for donations to help with the ‘cause’—creating soccer or fútbol teams for the kids—they had great success! A guest at our inn put out the call to her community and brought a duffle bag full of soccer boots and jerseys. Others donated pesos. There was and continues to be much generosity from our community. Well-known locals Alfredo and Marichuy of the Tree House Bar were instrumental in getting the school involved and recruiting children. Locals Greg, Mary, Carl and Lisa donated funds to purchase a lawnmower. Peggy and Rick donated a leaf blower. Cirilo and Annette of The La Cruz Inn donated fundraiser monies. The Ballena Blanca restaurant along with Alex, our local dentist, donated a truckload of topsoil and another two truckloads arrived from an anonymous donor. Business owner Luis Martinez donated soccer balls, Dave Cullimore and Sandy Baker donated the use of their pickup trucks. A local nursery donated fifty plants. Financial donations were welcomed, too!

Joe greatly appreciates any time and energy folks can offer to help maintain the soccer field. 
The big need ASAP is donations of paint, brushes, and volunteers to help with the painting.

Ninety-six local kids registered
 from two schools: Emiliano Zapata, the morning school; and Juan Escutia, the afternoon school. They play five nights a 
week, divided into various age groups and teams. Known around town as Pepe, Joe was given his Mexican name when he was asked what his name was, which, in Italian, is actually Giuseppe…

“This project has become more than just about the soccer program,” Joe shared. “I’m working at making the soccer field, surrounding schoolyard area and the school buildings themselves more beautiful. I visualize ‘happy’ colors, flowering shade trees and shrubs. Painting the exterior of the school buildings is big on my wish list. If this could be completed before the new school year that would be awesome!” Linda Ward and the ladies of Bucerias Rocks have volunteered to paint rocks with uplifting, motivational sayings to be placed around the school.

Thank you Joe and Kelly for bringing more beauty into the lives of so many! For more information, and to support their project, please email

Cindy Bouchard on EmailCindy Bouchard on FacebookCindy Bouchard on Instagram
Cindy Bouchard
Cindy Bouchard, an expat Canadian runs a Boutique Hotel, Villa Amor del Mar, in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. She and her husband Chris are living and lovin’ in Vallarta–Nayarit. If you want more info on La Cruz or desire… A very special vacation contact Cindy via