Pictured above: Joe Mondello (front center, touching the trophy) during his Eastside FC days.
Never far from the field, Eastside alumni, Joe Mondello has spent a lot of time around the beautiful game of soccer. Mondello’ s soccer journey has allowed him to view the sport through many lenses. Now as a coach Mondello brings a fresh perspective to the Eastside F.C. coaching staff.
There is one person in a starting line-up that stands out from their peers. They can often be identified by their different color jersey. Between the posts, goal keepers alone can see the whole field. Their ability to read plays translates directly into shots saved. Being able to see and understand the game in its entirety is crucial to the success of a goalie.
Mondello fell into the position; in sixth grade he was a midfielder by trade.
“The two kids who normally played goalie didn't show up to a game, so I volunteered to play. A coach for Emerald City was at the game, he saw me play in goal and told me to tryout,” he said.
Perhaps Mondello gravitated towards this position because of an innate understanding of the game or perhaps he developed it as a part of his craft. Either way, Mondello made his skills known. Joining Eastside in his early teens, Mondello played on the red team under Mark Kovats for his remaining club years.
“Pretty much every goalkeeper training session qualifies as a favorite memory,” Mondello said. “We had a really good group of players and our coaches, Tom Bunnell and Jason Lichtenberger, made every session competitive and super fun.”
While Mondello enjoyed honing his craft, he also experienced immense success.
“We won the top league in Washington two years in a row and won State Cup our U-17 season. I think we only lost one league game over the course of two years. Playing at Regionals and Surf Cup against some of the top teams in the country was an incredible experience.
Mondello continued on to play college ball at Claremont Makenna College. During his time there, Mondello got the most play time his freshman and sophomore years. His fondest memories however, came from his senior year.
“Our goalkeeper coach took another job right before the season started, so my coach asked me to plan and run the daily goalkeeper trainings for the four keepers on the roster,” Mondello said.
Mondello’ s new role on the team gave him yet another perspective. Leading practices cemented the next phase of his soccer career.
“I knew I wanted to become a coach once I graduated,” Mondello said.
Now the Eastside Goalkeeping Director, Mondello has worked with the next generation of goalkeepers. When he isn’t repping the Eastside colors, Mondello works in media and content for the Seattle Sounders. There he works primarily on the website and written strategy, but on occasion Mondello is also behind the social media content.