Monday, August 16, 2021

New club goalkeeping coach Bryan Hernandez considers himself a bit of an adventurer, but the Shadow Men’s First Team keeper may have found himself a new home in Spokane after spending much of his life in California.

“My head coach at Humboldt State told me they needed a keeper for the Shadow in Spokane. The first thing that ran through my head was, where is Spokane and second thing is, when and where?” he said with a laugh about how he landed here with the First Team in 2017.

“I always considered myself as a soccer nomad so I was willing to leave my nest in Los Angeles to be able to play soccer a full summer before going back to school so therefore going to Spokane was a no brainer for me. And to top that off I was able to bring some legends with me from my school such as Rudi with me!”

After a few seasons with the Shadow and spending time in the community, he was hooked. With college finished up, the transition was in the making.

“The reason why I returned was the fact that there is a strong soccer community here and I know the coaches are some good people around here. I can say I get along with all the coaches here, and I really enjoy learning from them as well. Only thing that changed from when I first came here in 2017 and now is that I brought my wife up and she truly enjoys what Spokane has to offer. So no complaining from the missus and I.”

Where did it all begin for Hernandez. Well, it was the ages-old tale of like father, like son.

“I started as a center back but my father played professionally (San Miguel Aguilas) as a goalkeeper and watching him play growing up made me want to play in goal. Funny thing is that my dad really never wanted me to play as a goalkeeper as he knew the responsibility as a goalkeeper was way too much and he wasn’t sure if I would understand it at a young age.”

He started off with a youth club called South Bay Force, but transitioned over to Pateadores Academy, where his side won a U18 national championship in a 2011 tournament that saw him face Kellyn Acosta and a few other current professionals in the final.

A Cal South ODP player from 2008-10, Hernandez spent some time with the U20 El Salvador National Team pool and credits several well known coaches for his development such as Hector Garcia (LAFC Academy Scout), Victor Salas (played for Club America in Mexico), Todd Saldana (current Academy Director for LAFC) and Thomas Dooley (former assistant coach with the US Men’s National Team).

Another inspiring figure, however, is what guides Hernandez as a coach.

“What I truly enjoy about coaching is the fact that with goalkeeping your style of play and coaching really influences the keepers you train on a daily basis. My idol growing up was Iker Casillas, and he always said that he does not want to be remembered as a good goalkeeper but as a great person. This is my coaching motto and I truly try to put the same energy into my goalkeepers.”

An LA kid, Hernandez’ enjoyment of exploration and outdoors began with the move to northern California to play at Humboldt State, which is located in the midst of several national parks a couple hours south of the Oregon border.

“It was a straightforward path to be honest,” he said of the move. “I just contacted them and went to their camp and the rest is history.

“My time in Humboldt on the other hand was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Truly enjoyed the playing experience, the city and the culture around that college.”

“I enjoy exploring the outdoors. I love the fact we are a stone’s throw away from the Pacific coast,” said Hernandez, who is also dabbling a bit in landscape photography when out adventuring. “I will definitely be taking advantage and going down the coast when time is available.”


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