Paul Talens was a Champion in Life even before he became an Eastside alum. A leader by example on and off the field, he was always respectful to teammates, opponents, coaches and referees. Despite being a busy multi-sport athlete, Paul volunteered to help other EFC team trainings and was a referee during winter futsal leagues. Today, Paul runs for Gonzaga University, continuing to shine on the track and in the classroom as he pursues a challenging engineering degree. Read on to learn how Paul’s perspective has created the framework for his continued success.
EFC: Tell us about what you are currently doing?
PT: I am currently studying civil engineering and running cross country and track at Gonzaga University in Spokane.
EFC: When did you join Eastside and what team were you on?
PT: I joined Eastside FC in 2011 when I was 8 years old playing for Anderson “Xinho” Prestes on the Red team. I played in the midfield.
EFC: What were some team and personal accomplishments during your time at EFC?
PT: Playing for Xinho, we won the Labor Day Cup, Spring Starfire Classic and were state finalists, losing to my old Crossfire team. Over the years, we went on to win a few other tournaments around the area including the Far West Regional RCL crown in 2015. In 2016, coach Kovats took over and we won the Rainier Challenge and the Davis Legacy tournament. We also qualified for the National League Showcase held in North Carolina and Las Vegas.
I was team captain for seven of my eight years at EFC and a starter every year. I was chosen to play in the Netherlands with Adidas Generation International in 2016. Playing amongst some of the best soccer players in the nation and meeting Ajax legends was an awesome experience!
I only played High School soccer my sophomore year, but that was the best season in Mount Si HS history. We were nationally ranked and had a 17-2 record losing by one goal in the district and state championships. I made the All-KingCo 2nd team along with my fellow EFC teammate and Mount Si goalkeeper Colby Ramsey.
Outside of soccer, I qualified for the state cross country championships all four years, placing 17th, and leading the team to a 6th place finish my junior year.
EFC: Share a favorite memory from your time at EFC.
PT: Some of my favorite memories were the team dinners where we would all meet up at someone’s house and enjoy quality time together. We always had good laughs and conversations and often played pick up in the backyard. Another funny and humbling memory was way back in my first couple of years at EFC we had the opportunity to play in the Albion Cup in California. The teams there were extremely competitive, and it was nice to get a taste of that real and passionate way of playing soccer that stuck with me throughout my club soccer career.
EFC: How did EFC prepare you for college and life beyond?
PT: EFC has significantly impacted my life in athletics and academics. Learning how to cooperate with a team in win-lose situations is something that has benefited my daily social skills in many ways. The commitment of playing for EFC growing up taught me necessary time management skills. Now in college I have a busy schedule and must be efficient with my time to plan and organize school, athletics, work, etc. Eastside was also a big part of building up my work ethic and competitiveness. These attributes are still applicable today with my involvement in NCAA athletics at Gonzaga.
EFC: What advice would you give to our current Eastside players?
PT: Whether you are on an ECNL, red, or blue team, take advantage of the experiences you have with your teammates. Those people you practice with 3+ days a week, share wins and losses with, and annoy in the hotel room of your travel trips could be your lifelong friends and part of your success! Playing soccer should be fun, competitive, and enjoyable; make the most of it.
EFC: Did you learn anything impactful about balance and rest over the course of your athletic career?
PT: I’ve definitely learned a lot about balance and rest during my soccer career and my current running career. During middle school and high school I participated in both school sports as well as club at EFC. Playing competitively at both these levels took a huge toll on my body and caused frequent moments of fatigue where I couldn’t perform at my highest level. Unfortunately, this continued into college as well during my freshman year where the increased mileage and increased stress in school caused injury throughout most of the indoor and outdoor track seasons. After lots of time to reflect, my coach taught me a super important mantra to keep in mind: “train to recover, instead of recovering to train.” Although this differs a bit to training for soccer, when trying to maximize your fitness and endurance it is still important to keep this idea in mind.
It’s incredible to hear how Paul has consistently incorporated lessons from both his success and setbacks. As Coach Xinho said “Paul was an awesome player and tip top person. He was super focused on getting better and a true leader on the team when I coached him.” It’s clear to see that we can all learn from Paul’s commitment to personal improvement!