A graduate of Seattle University with a degree in mechanical engineering, Michael joined Eastside FC as a 16-year-old and played two seasons for the U17 and U19 Red teams coached by Mark Kovats. Currently working as a design engineer for a mechanical contractor, Michael designs plumbing systems, heating and cooling systems and similar projects for commercial buildings, lab spaces and other construction in the Seattle area. He also coaches the Boys U10 White team at Eastside.
As a player at EFC, Michael and his teammates experienced phenomenal competitive success, winning the Washington Youth Soccer State Cup in 2010. “It’s the best memory I have from my time at Eastside,” he said of the state championship run. “But I did score the winning goal in the final, so that might play into it being my favorite!”
However, he also went on to point out several ways in which his time at Eastside has played a part in the personal successes that have followed for him. “EFC prepared me for college by giving me games at a competitive level, practices with competitive teammates and solid foundational team coaching,” he explained. “Then there was fitness training, training discipline and all sorts of other things, but really, the most important thing Eastside helped me with in preparing for college was that it gave me fond memories to look back on whenever I felt burnt out from the sport.”
That last part was critical, in Michael’s opinion, even though he didn’t realize the importance of having a good, fun club experience at the time. “If you’re looking to play soccer at a Division I school,” he said, “it’s a major commitment. Most of your teammates and opponents are hoping to play at a professional level, so it can be a very competitive environment—and then you’re adding more responsibilities with school on top of that.”
Michael’s career as a player for the Seattle University Redhawks was an unqualified success. He scored his first collegiate goal as a freshman in 2012, coming off the bench to tally the game-winner versus Houston Baptist. As a sophomore he hit the back of the net seven times, with two assists, including the helper on the goal that beat Creighton in the first round of the NCAA tournament. By his senior year, Michael had improved those numbers to eight goals and six assists, all while notching his second consecutive Academic All-WAC selection.
“My favorite part of the college experience wasn’t the goals or assists,” he says, noting how fast the four years go by. “It was watching the team grow year to year, being part of building a winning program out of a losing program, and of course, the friends/teammates that were there with to experience it alongside.”
Now seeing a new generation of Eastside FC talent on the field, Michael has a last piece of advice for any who want to follow in the steps of the many EFC players who’ve gone on to collegiate success in the past decade. “If you believe you can do it, find yourself a coach who believes in you and wants to play you. Or get a hefty scholarship and just be willing to put in the work to keep up with the growth of the team. If you enjoy the team experience, it will be loads of fun, but it's also extremely busy.”