Monday, November 1, 2021
As a player he put full dedication into playing full-time only to see his collegiate career cut far too short. But now, Nick Piger is dedicated to coaching the high school age boys primarily off the field, preparing them for the college process as an assistant coach with Tim Seely, but more importantly as the Boys College Advisor.
“I know that with my corporate career, I cant coach teams every day and give those players the energy they deserve. I felt that Spokane as a whole had historically not done a great job getting collegiate level boys out there to be evaluated by the top programs, and that is where I thought I could have an impact.
“I had done it myself, and I know that I could be an advocate for these players to showcase themselves. If I was going to put what little time I had to give to the sport into something, then it needed to be helping Tim’s oldest teams with the collegiate process.
“For me, being college ready is partially about soccer, partially about doing well in school, and partially about being mentally tough enough to deal with all the transitions that an 18-22 year old player will deal with. I knew that Tim can play a big role in the soccer and becoming mentally strong aspect of becoming a college ready player, but I could have a large impact in guiding the scholastics and college recruiting process.”
It is an interesting combination with the pair.
“We are definitely a Batman and Robin type of duo. Some days we are at each others’ throat, and some days we are knee deep into a battle with the fellas for a Surf Cup final. Being around Tim keeps me on my toes and he continues to ask me to give my all when I am around, and I appreciate that. I don’t know that I would do it if it wasn’t for him. We have helped hundreds of players throughout the years, and I love that he cares about their success as I do – if not more!”
The partnership between the two was forged long ago when Piger was a player constantly looking to become the best goalkeeper that he could, learning from numerous coaches along the way.
“I was lucky enough to have a lot of great coaches growing up, and they all impacted me in different ways. As a goalkeeper I could only control the controllable – my height was not ideal!
“From about 10-14 years of age I spent four hours a day at team training or 1:1 goalkeeper training with Sean Bushey. He really pushed me to be fearless and worked on me to master the techniques that could allow me to separate myself. As I entered my high school career, I knew I needed to play year-round and be with the best players in the area.
“I started playing with Tim Seely from May-February and then played high school and CDA Sting (now CDA timbers) at the same time from February to May. This was quite the balancing act, but it was well worth it. I loved my time playing for Mike Thompson and Matt Ruchti at the CDA Sting, but it was under Tim where I really started to take my game to another level. He demanded the best in me each and every minute that I trained and played for him. He knew, and still does, how to get the best out of everyone no matter their skill level. I don’t think there is a better trainer of boys that I have ever been around.”
Piger, though, was not only a keeper constantly looking for games and training, but for the right future as well.
“I was able to travel the country with club teams, ODP and Super-Y league teams, and that really opened my eyes to how different each area of the country was. It is what allowed me to start thinking about college in a different place other than Spokane. I was fortunate enough to do well in school, and knew that If I took an active part in getting my name out there, my soccer abilities might help me get into some pretty awesome schools.
“After writing hundreds of emails, letters, and constantly calling office phones of coaches, I had a fair amount of offers going into my senior year of high school. I went on official visits to schools like Yale, West Point, Air Force Academy, and St Mary’s. I was also lucky enough to go on a handful of unofficial visits with my parents. I had known (now retired) Gonzaga coach Einar Thorarinsson – as he had been at nearly all of my games – and coach Mike Thompson (then GU assistant coach) for many years. After a lot of debating about opportunities, where I would be happy if soccer didn’t play out and what I was looking for in a school, I settled on Gonzaga and am very happy that I did.”
Even though things did not go his way at all.
“Man, my GU career was short-lived. I tore my triceps twice, and then couldn’t get medically cleared to play. It was heartbreaking, but it ultimately helped me find myself outside of soccer.”
In doing so, he didn’t attend a game or watch soccer for four years as he finished his education at Gonzaga and completed law school at the University of Oregon.
And then, he was ready for a return.
My wife and I knew that we wanted to be in Spokane and I knew that I needed to get back involved so I phoned Abbas and Tim. I decided that I wanted to help Tim and Mitchell Weller (one of my best soccer friends) grow WE. I also knew that if I was going to impact youth soccer, there was no one better than Tim in my eyes. Tim is fair, but honest, and I respect that. You know where you stand on every kick of the ball, and as an aspiring coach, I appreciated that honesty.”
After a few years with Seely at WE, the dynamic duo took their talents to the Spokane Sounders as the club embarked on a new era as an affiliate of the Seattle Sounders, taking local boys soccer to new heights and sending them onto successful, impactful careers that can be noticed on social media feeds on a regular basis from their various schools.
And rumor has it he is already working on the college plans for one individual’s distant future.
“My wife and my son are my world. Chay has been with me since I was 16 and has lived every up and every down of this soccer world. She understands how much helping these kids means to me, and supports me in every way – even if it means less time with just her and I.
“Henry is little, but I have pre-registered him for the college recruiting system for 2034,” he added with a smile.