TREY MITCHELL: A KEEPER ON THE RISE

“As a teammate, Trey was very approachable and always there to help.  He was very vocal, a leader who made some great saves for us.  You could tell he was committed, always giving 110 percent.”

Those were the words of Trey Mitchell’s former teammate at FC Hasental,Alberto “Tito” Anguiano, who is now a playmaking midfielder with Oxnard Guerreros FC.

Mitchell currently finds himself as a goalkeeper with the USL’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds after spending time with MLS and USL teams in his young but incredibly productive career.

It all started with two seasons in the NPSL back in 2013 and 2014.  Mitchell was FCH’s number one goalkeeper and he remembers his time there with great fondness.  He was quick to compliment the work of Briggs Palmer and Eric Warner, emphasizing Palmer’s tremendous commitment and Warner’s great vision and brilliant soccer mind.

“It was a great experience.  Coming from college, it was a big learning experience.  Playing in the NPSL jumpstarted my career.”

His career was one that took a bit of a different path and actually started with golf.  He was swinging a golf club at the age of three and did so until the age of 18 when soccer found him, revealing the great potential he had in the sport.

He first tried out for the high school soccer team as a senior, doing so because his friends all played soccer and he was missing “the team aspect” since golf is so much more individualistic. He excelled from day one, showing his natural ability on the soccer pitch.  A year later he was working with acclaimed goalkeeping coach Ian Feuer, who saw great potential in the young keeper.

Mitchell would really get things started at Citrus College, where he recorded 97 saves with a 1.30 goals against average in his first two seasons before transferring to Cal State Dominguez Hills. After redshirting in 2012, he played the following two seasons for CSUDH, making 20 starts and recording 71 saves for a .85 goals against average, the fourth best in school history.

The rest is history.  Mitchell would sign with the LA Galaxy in 2015, joining a star-studded roster that included Giovani dos Santos, Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane, and Omar Gonzalez.

It was an amazing experience for the Alta Loma, California native, but never an easy one.

“It was like night and day, being thrown in the deep end.  It was not easy.  I was learning a lot, falling and getting back up.  It was a grinding experience, but it taught me how to be a professional.”

But the work was clearly worth it since Mitchell was actually realizing his dream, not something many people get to do.

“Signing with the Galaxy was a huge blessing.  It opened my eyes, showed that I have the potential to succeed in the big time, using the gifts that God has given me.”

Mitchell would then become a pool goalkeeper for Major League Soccer (MLS), spending time with the Colorado Rapids, D.C. United, Orlando City B, Philadelphia Union, and Sporting Kansas City.

It allowed Mitchell to see a ton of different environments all across the league.  Indeed he was a small name in some very big ponds, but at the same time he “created a spark in coaches” and put his name on the map.  He is eyeing a return to MLS in 2018, but for now he’s making sure 2017 is successful for the Riverhounds.

Hunter Gilstrap, goalkeeping coach for the Riverhounds, is glad to have Mitchell on his team.

“I feel very thankful to have a goalkeeper like Trey on board.  He’s got all the tools to be a really successful pro.  Right now, it’s about finding the best way to get him on the field for his development as well as for the success of the team. He’s got the technical foundation – he does everything ‘the right way;’ now he needs match time to develop the rest of his game.  He’s part of a really competitive duo right now with Keasel Broome.  I know they’re only going to make each other better – and I’m confident that both give us a chance to win.”

Mitchell hopes to be Pittsburgh’s outright starter by the six or seventh game, a goal he has set for himself in the short-term.

The team as a whole has some ambitious goals, hoping to grow from a difficult 2016 season that saw the Hounds finish with a 6-17-17 record.   The players and coaching staff have the set the goal of staying in the top four in the standings at all times with the ultimate goal being a USL Championship.  Mitchell is determined to help the team reach these goals.

But there is more to Mitchell than what’s happening on the pitch.  He’s become involved in the Riverhounds’ Goalkeeping Academy, coaching the next generation of great keepers with Gilstrap and Broome.  He’s been given the opportunity to give back to the sport he deeply loves, helping young players navigate the rocky waters of being a goalkeeper.

There is a lot to learn from the inspiring story of Trey Mitchell, a brilliant player that got his start in the NPSL.  And this story is just beginning.  Simply put, expect to see this NPSL alum’s name for many years to come at the highest levels of the beautiful game.

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