Men's semi-pro indoor soccer team
Get to better know a Tumwater Pioneer: First up, head coach and goalkeeper Matt Stalnik. Matt at just 25 years-old, is already a veteran competitive indoor soccer player and will lead the Pioneers both on and off the field during their inaugural season in Tumwater…
“I grew up in Alaska and after getting honors in Alaskan high school soccer, I was picked up by Upper Iowa University, an NCAA Division II school in Fayette, Iowa. My sophomore year (2007) I moved from Iowa and played for Wenatchee Valley College where I was All-NWAACC. During that same year I played indoor soccer in the PASL semi-pro for the first time. After I got my AA degree, I transfered to The Evergreen State College where I played for John Purtteman (former coach of Tacoma Stars, and former pro indoor soccer player). I received player of the week two out of three weeks in the Cascade Conference as well as honorable mention All-Conference.
After my senior year I was picked to play for the Pro Arena Soccer League team, the Denver Dynamite, where I was coached by Chris Handsor (Former MISL MVP). Chris taught me a lot about professionalism and what it takes to play at that level. Handsor taught me how possession, board play, set pieces, clock management and mindset contribute greatly to wins. I recorded a 90% save average with the Dynamite, serving mainly as a backup keeper. Due to financial hardship, the Dynamite folded after the season.
A year later Handsor brought me to the California Cougars for the 2010-2011 season. But because the Cougars also had economic hardships, I ended up playing with the Wenatchee Fire, who had six pro games and seven semi-pro games that season. My greatest honor came when the Fire played the Tijuana Revolution. I recorded 34 saves, an assist and two goals as a goalkeeper. I became the first goalkeeper in the Pro Arena Soccer League to throw a goal, which ended up being the game winner. To top it off, I threw another goal two minutes later. It’s one of the best memories I have of playing soccer and it is recorded on the PASL firsts page under thrown goal.
I took a break last season and lived in Alaska working for an oil company. I worked 12 hour shifts in weather as cold as -35 degrees F. After reevaluating my situation I moved back to Olympia in May and got my license as a personal fitness trainer. I work at 24 Hour Fitness and I absolutely love my job.
My coaching background consists of goalkeeper coaching at the youth to college levels including Evergreen and SPSCC. I approached Mike after hearing about a PASL team starting in Tumwater. I did not feel like commuting to other teams and expressed my interest in helping to run the program. Mike has paired me with Kevin Creeley as a co-coach, who I have faith in not only his coaching ability but also his playing ability.
This league is fast pace, physical and a lot of fun. It’s not just about playing hard, but also about playing wise. That’s why older players succeed. We already have a good group of talented soccer players who I have great confidence in. As a player and competitor I expect the best only from myself. I am 25 years old with many good years ahead. I don’t plan on letting up on the gas anytime soon. My constant message to the team is, ‘There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to help keep this program running. Managers, coaches, volunteers, players are all chipping in to help run this program. It is OUR team, our family. If they play for those people, and not just themselves, great things will happen for this program.’”