Wenatchee FC just completed their first season in the Evergreen Premier League in 2014. The club was founded to serve the Apple Capital Valley, giving fans a club to support and scores of players a place to play. The importance of WFC is clear. In the very center of Washington geographically, the greater Wenatchee area is also host to talented soccer players whose careers can now keep going after high school and college. In “Apple Valley Grown” we will visit with a few guys who are benefitting from the birth of the Capitals of WFC.
Eleazar Galvan isn’t the biggest guy around. He likes to use skill, touch and tactics to beat his opponents from his attacking positions. He’s been doing that in Chelan and now around the state for some time now.
“When I was about 7 years old, there were great people in our community that made teams for us youth to start playing,” Eleazar tells goalWA.net. “I first started playing for Jose Vargas, my uncle, and then Benjamin Sanchez who got me to play on their team. Ever since that, I have been playing the beautiful sport. I would always carry a ball around everywhere I went. Even inside my house I would break things and I remember my mom and dad getting mad at me, but they couldn’t stop me from doing it.”
Galvan’s run of good coaches kept going. “I played for another outstanding coach, Santos Rodriguez. He taught me how to become a man on and outside the pitch. After his season was over, I ended up playing for a club team closer to home called “Arsenal,” with coaches Sheila Hodges and Mike Osborn. Sheila and her husband Mark Hodges have taught not only me, but also all of Arsenal players that she has coached, so much about life. They did so much for every one of us that we still can’t thank them enough today. They sacrificed so many things to keep our future bright, that’s what they do. I consider them my second parents. That team was a true family! After leaving the team due to my age, something that will remain in my heart forever will always be our saying, “Once Arsenal, Always Arsenal!”
A player from Chelan needs to do more than just go down into “Apple Valley” if he gets the chance. Eleazar did get those chances. “I have attended the San Diego Surf Cup and Santa Clara College Showcase tournament playing for David Hoggan. I also played for Seattle Sounders ODP team my sophomore year. During my high school years, that was another team I considered my family! Thanks to another amazing coach, Jamie Richards, that was willing to coach our Chelan High School team without knowing anything about us. He took that risk and that’s what a real coach does. He truly believed in us and gave us that confidence that every player needs to overcome any obstacle. He gave me the chance to take responsibility and become a Captain for him as a sophomore. I got First-Team All League and MVP all four years of my high school career. I ended up scoring about 120 goals my high school career. Jamie changed the whole Chelan High program around. He took us to the State Championship two times in a row starting my junior year. We lost in a penalty shootout my junior year, which was very heartbreaking for me, especially for the seniors.”
Galvan was ready to lead again as a senior for the Goats, and it ended in one of those fairy tale ways that make sports so great. “We didn’t want to end our high school career without a state title because we knew we had all that it would take. We knew there were things that we needed to work on, but we truly believed in each other my senior year. We came back to Sumner (for State) and won it all. We were State Champs! I couldn’t believe it. The best moment was when I scored the first goal to give us the lead in the state championship game and pointing at my coach and seeing tears come down his eyes. That meant a lot to me. The whole team overall was just something else that I can’t really explain. He made us accomplish something that Chelan soccer has never done, and will remain in the school history forever. Also something we will never forget and be in our hearts forever! These are the coaches I want to thank for making me the player I am today.”
Such a dramatic high school career can only be followed by an effort to continue playing as an adult. So Eleazar is doing just that, and the Evergreen Premier League (EPLWA) and Wenatchee FC are helping his journey.
“I got involved with Wenatchee FC through one of the coaches, Javier Reyna. Thanks to him I was able to be part of the association,” Galvan explains.
“My first season in the EPLWA was a great one. I was able to play with people who I grew up with that I consider my brothers. I don’t think I had a favorite moment with this team because every moment was an important one.” About being a bit smaller than some of the guys he faces? “Playing for Wenatchee FC has definitely helped me become a better player. It has helped me become more physical. Also it has helped me see the game from different perspectives as the coach taught us. Practicing and playing vs. good players has also helped me become a better soccer player.”
Keeping the momentum going, Galvan is now in his second year playing in the NWAC for Skagit Valley CC. The season is nearing playoff time. “We (SVCC Cardinals) started off not so strong, but I truly believe that it’s not how you start, but how you finish. We’ve been doing well lately and look forward to what we have in the future for us. I have 7 goals and 7 assists this season at Skagit Valley College, but my focus hasn’t been about that, as long as we win that’s all that matters.”
Galvan is one of those guys with something to prove, even though his flashing smile and pleasant personality might not always show it. “Ever since I have been playing soccer, I have always get underestimated because of my height, but I know I can always challenge that person in front of me. Height is not everything in soccer, but the passion you have for the beautiful game!”
So Eleazar works hard every day, all of the time. “Ever since I can remember, my dream has always been to one day make my family, friends, and the whole community proud on becoming a professional soccer player. I will do all it takes to pursue my dream! My biggest motivation has always been my family. They’re the ones that are going to help me pursue my dream. My favorite quote has always been, “Play for the badge in front of the shirt and they’ll remember the name on the back.”
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