We recently caught up with Saif Kerawala, who was not only an amazing goalkeeper for Eastside and the UW, but also played professionally. As Chance Fry shared, “Saif is one of those fantastic people who has come through the club that you are super proud to represent EFC. He would look you straight in the eye and was one of the most respectful, nice kids at the club.” Read on to learn more about how Saif became an Eastside Champion in Life and what he is up to today.
EFC: Tell us about what you are currently doing.
SK: I work in software sales as an Account Executive for a Series A startup called Release.
EFC: When did you join Eastside and what team were you on?
SK: I joined when I was 12 or 13, playing over the years for Dan Bubar, Michael Smith, Tom Bialek, Tom Bunnell, Mark Kovats, Andrew Dortch, and Kyle Tatro
EFC: What were some memorable accomplishments during your time at EFC?
SK: In 2014, we won the U17 State Cup in a PK shoot out. Our high school team won the KingCo championship in my junior year. I was the team captain for both teams.
EFC: What were some highlights of playing in college and professionally?
SK: Playing at the collegiate and professional levels was a wild dream of mine for the longest time. Eastside fosters an environment in which wild dreams are made possible. While it was some of the most physically and emotionally challenging years of my life, playing at that level was exceedingly rewarding in all facets of life and has shaped me into the person I am today. The work ethic, strong mentality, and discipline required to play at those levels serves you well in life.
My highlight of college soccer was winning the championship at an international tournament in Sao Paolo, Brazil. These were my first six games back after back surgery and we went on to win it all. The best part about college soccer is the friends you make for life and how much your discipline and attitude are later valued in the workforce.
EFC: How did EFC help prepare you for college and life beyond?
SK: My coaches at EFC were some of the most influential people in my life. The disciplined practices, culture of togetherness, and emphasis on being a good person off the pitch, all had a huge impact on my ability to make it to the collegiate level and have shaped my personality and perspective today.
EFC: Did you learn anything impactful about balance and rest over the course of your athletic career? How has this affected your life and success?
SK: While training at the highest level is crucial, finding balance, rest, and active recovery over the course of an athletic career is also pivotal for an athlete's physical and mental health. Not only can it prevent injury and reduce stress/fatigue, but it also allows athletes to perform at their best and reach their full potential, both in training and competition. Overall, prioritizing balance, rest, and active recovery can lead to sustained success and longevity in sports.
EFC: What advice would you give to our current Eastside players?
SK: Use soccer as a compliment to your school. Understand that while soccer is a beautiful game and a great vehicle to achieve your goals, (whether you play collegiately, etc., or not), there is so much to learn as an athlete playing at EFC that is incredibly valuable, although you may not realize it today. Continue to prioritize your education, be a great teammate, and show up to give 100% every day, and your future self will thank you.
Thank you, Saif, for sharing your story and for your inspiration as a role model to our young Eastside athletes today!