by Trent Merfeld
In the seven-year period before he came to Cal Poly, Paul Holocher served as the head soccer coach at UC Santa Cruz, Director of Soccer for Santa Cruz and its 5,000 youth players, and founded the Catalyst Soccer Club. He did all of this while also teaching physical education at the private school Aptos Academy.
“It was a labor of love, because it was four part-time jobs that all were interconnected to each other around the game of soccer. That’s kind of how I piecemealed my livelihood together,” Holocher said.
Holocher grew up in the soccer-oriented environment of Seattle, Washington. His father was a former goalkeeper, and his mother grew up around soccer as well. He said soccer was a big part of his childhood and his father would take him and his brother to every Seattle Sounders game, the MLS club in Seattle. Holocher said he regularly attended Sounders’ games, and he didn’t think he missed one home game.
[Seattle] has an amazing soccer culture. Every kid up in Seattle plays soccer. You start when you’re seven years old, and there’s a lot of passion around it,” Holocher said. “I remember the very first game I ever played, I was playing on a little team called the King Fishers. I remember picking up the ball and being able to dribble and do good things. I scored a couple goals and after the game I got a lot of compliments from the team and the parents, and I realized that I loved the game,” Holocher said.