Monday, October 3, 2022
A successful Moses Lake product, Saul Maciel traveled to Spokane to play for the club and would eventually make the full move to the Lilac City for college and beyond.
Maciel grew up in the central Washington town playing for CB United, but as is often the case in small towns things changed as he got older.
“After middle school our CB United team for my age group fell apart. I Then played my first season of high school ball. I had some teammates that would drive up to Spokane to play for Spokane Shadow (now Sounders). I tagged along and played for Paul Johnson’s 97 boys team.
It proved to be a decision that sent him down a successful path.
“I ended up playing for Shadow up until 18. After I graduated high school, I played at Spokane Falls under Chad Brown for the 2016-2018 seasons.
“I played at Spokane falls as defensive center mid for two great seasons in which we found amazing success with such a cohesive group of guys.
The Bigfoot were a dominant side at the time in the NWAC Eastern Conference, and with Maciel they claimed the division title back-to-back seasons in 2016 and 2017, unfortunately coming up a bit short in the NWAC championship run.
“I decided to play for Spokane Falls because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do exactly career-wise. I felt that Spokane Falls was a perfect option to start my academic career while at the same time still being able to experience
a collegiate level of soccer and see if it was something I would pursue even further after I finished my two years.”
And he did… though it was from the sideline.
“I knew I always wanted to coach at some point in my life, so I didn’t have to completely walk away from this beautiful sport.
“Over the last few years I never had the flexibility to be able to do so until now, which is the main reason I started coaching for Spokane Sounders. I specifically wanted to coach for Spokane Sounders as it was the club I grew up playing at and found it as an opportunity to give back to this community that shaped me as a child.”
But first, Maciel had to focus on life away from the pitch.
“After my two years at the Falls I decided to stay in Spokane as I enrolled into the Avista Lineman School. I later became a contractor for Comcast, which is where I am today.”
He also met his girlfriend and set some even more permanent roots down in the community, becoming a homeowner.
As a new, young coach it is still a learning process for Maciel, who much like his players is learning new skill sets on a weekly basis.
“Since being back at the club as a coach Johnny Palladino has been my biggest mentor. We have been working closely together between our teams since I joined. He has been awesome to work with and learn from.”
And as a young coach, he has fresh insight for the players he coaches and advice for players that are in the situation he was just a few short years ago.
“I tell my players to work hard and figure out how to outsmart any opponents or obstacles.
“And for the older boys I would say if you really want to pursue this sport after high school they have to grind, focus on the goals and minimize distractions.”