GREEN RIVER – Gatorade Wyoming Boys Soccer Player of the Year is an annual award given, since 1985, to the state’s most elite high school student-athlete for their excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character.
The Gatorade Player of the Year award only recognizes seven sports but the usual plan after you are bestowed with this honor is to take your talents to a competitive university and thrive as a collegiate athlete.
That wasn’t the case for 2017-18 Gatorade Wyoming Boys Soccer Player of the Year Patrick Marchal.
“Being from Wyoming, you are at slight disadvantage,” Marchal explained on his decision to not pursue college athletics. “There is no one really to help you in the recruiting process so its really hard to get the attention of bigger schools. I did have some division 2 offers but then I got my scholarship to Michigan State and it’s really hard to say no to a Big 10 university when they are offering to pay you to go there. I just decided to choose academics over athletics. I would have loved to be a collegiate goalkeeper but I’m really happy with my decision.”
Marchal chose to play soccer at a young age because of his parents.
His mother is from southern California and his father is from France, which are two hot bed regions for soccer. They both grew up playing it and they instilled this sport in their son at an early age.
Marchal chose goalkeeper originally so he could run the least but as he got used to it, he realized the potential he could unlock by playing this position.
Marchal, who starred for Green River High School’s soccer program, was quite the force as a high school student-athlete once he unlocked that potential.
During his senior year, he posted 12 shoutouts and had an incredible goals-against average of 0.44. He helped lead the Wolves to a 16-3-2 record and a third-place finish in Class 4A. He is also Green River’s career leader in shutouts (30), and saves (504), as well as being a two-time First Team All-State selection. He also sported a 4.0 his senior year.
Every Gatorade Player of the Year gets a chance to donate $1,000 grant to a national or local youth sports organization as a part of Gatorade Play It Forward program.
For Marchal, choosing the organization was a no brainer.
“I gave it to the Green River Spurs,” Marchal said with no hesitation. “I grew up playing with them and the issue has been trying to get a lot of financial help to a lot of players. The program went through a rough patch a few years ago when it comes to player participation. It was tough to see the club I played with struggle like that, so I had to give it to them. It seemed like I helped with my donation because the club as rebounded a little bit.
After the charitable donation, Marchal made his way to Michigan State.
He said that he did make an attempt to get a tryout with Michigan State’s soccer team, but the Green River native couldn’t get in touch with the Spartan coaching staff.
“I tried but I think during my freshman year of college they had about four goalies on the roster. I like to think they just didn’t have room for anyone else.”
Regardless, Marchal is playing for Michigan State’s club soccer team, and he is enjoying every minute of being an intercollegiate athlete.
“We went to the national tournament,” Marchal said of his club soccer team’s performance. “We played well the first few games but then we struggled in the third game. We finished with one win and two draws but lost on a tie breaker, so we didn’t advance to the next round.”
The Green River native reiterates enjoyment of playing club soccer especially when he feels that he has gotten better since leaving his home state.
“I always push myself to be better. I like to think that I’ve improved as a player since leaving Wyoming because it is sort of a higher level. So, I like to think I’m the player I was or even better.”
Marchal was a penalty shootout specialist in high school, and he carried that over to his club team. In 2019, he won two shootouts, including a 3-0 shootout win at nationals when he saved three penalties.
One of his favorite memories is actually beating Green River’s crosstown rival, Rock Springs, when they hosted regionals his senior year.
Academically, Marchal is doing the same thing he did during his time at Green River: Excelling.
“I’m a senior this year and I will be graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in the fall. I was actually studying abroad during COVID and had to drop some classes. I will also be getting a minor in entrepreneurship. It’s all fun to learn all these things.”
For his farewell, Marchall would like to inform everyone on the exact scholarship he is on.
“I’m on the STARR Charitable Foundation Scholarship,” Marchal said with a smile on his face. “My brother and I were the first from Sweetwater County to get them. I believe there have been two more since I’ve been in college.”
The Starr Charitable Foundation Scholarship is a full-ride scholarship, created by an anonymous private donor, that gives opportunities for students residing in the state of Wyoming and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The scholarship includes paying all regular cost for eight semesters at Michigan State University and includes tuition, fees, books, room, board and incidental expenses as defined by the university.