Alumni Update: Nick and Sam Palano

By Elena Wasserman

IMG_1279Eclipse is now going into its fifth year as a soccer club. As a growing club, there are growing players and coaches, many of whom have moved onto different cities. Eclipse is known for not only creating great teams, but an overall community filled with people who love the sport of soccer. The Palano brothers were coaches for Eclipse in its first two years of operation and are now still playing soccer together, just on a different team. Where exactly are they? What are they up to now? We called them up to find out.


d4f46899f1a22b5b5a7988db3d791a70Sam Palano

Q: When did you start playing soccer?

A: When I was really little, like kindergarden.

Q: How did you get involved with coaching for Eclipse?

A: Shane was just getting this club together and I had no other summer job. He needed coaches and he was getting coaches so he asked some people from high school team

Q: What is one of your favorite memories from coaching?

A: First couple practices in summer being chaotic and laid back and hilarious. There are funny moments I can remember though like when I was coaching U9 and I was trying to do a drill and I turned around all the kids were all acting like cows and eating grass.

Q: How do you think Eclipse is different than other soccer clubs?

A: Different because it’s more of a community sense I think when on Eclipse. It seems everyone is having fun and other clubs are way more serious because some people aren’t playing. At Eclipse everyone is together and enjoying soccer and each other. It’s awesome.

Q: Where are you now?

A: Right now I’m at UCSD and I’m playing soccer for their D2 team. I’m a microbiology major which means classes are super hard. I’ve actually been surfing a lot and it’s amazing.

Q: What do you want to do with microbiology?

A: Well, my dad is a dentist, so I guess any pre-med, possibly pre-dentistry. It’s a pre-med major, so there are a ton of research opportunities. I’ve just been too busy with soccer and have no summer really because soccer starts a month and half before school.

Q: How do you think your experience at Eclipse has affected you today?

A: I mean just being around people and kids who love playing soccer is good insight. I really learned the most from Shane and playing for him in high school.

Q: What did you learn from Shane as a coach during high school soccer then?

My junior year we won NCS and that team was just really awesome. We learned how to be a team. We all did our job on the field. Going back to the team when we won NCS, we were just so close. It was so cohesive. We played the best because Shane was able to get everyone on the same page. I’m still best friends with starters on that team, we all had such a good time on that team along with everyone having such a good drive for the sport.

Q: I can’t help but ask, where does the term “11 rods” come from?

So my sophomore we lost a bunch of seniors. We were all a new team with a new coach, and we weren’t doing well. Five games into the season Shane just sits us down and we had a two hour talk in the freezing cold about just getting our stuff together. He made up a metaphor with 11 rods; if one rod tries to break down the door it won’t open, but if 11 rods break down the door then it will open. After that at each game we destroyed and went on a tear and made NCS and 11 rods carried on after that.


Nick Palano

Q: When did you start playing soccer?

A: I started playing soccer as far back as I can remember. Growing up that was the first sport I played so probably like 15 years ago.

Q: Have you and your brother always played soccer together?

A: Yea, we’ve always been on the same team. In practice we’re kind of always rivals whenever we do drills or anything. We get rivaled against, but when it comes to down to it we’re on the same team. We’ve literally never been on a different team. We’re still playing together in college. Him and I can do things and communicate with each other on a whole other level.

Q: How did you get involved with coaching for Eclipse?

A: Shane first year he started and he needed coaches and he talked to me and a few other guys from the high school team. I coached U10 teams. It was my junior year summer going into senior year. It was a lot of fun, to this day I still like go to eclipse and see everyone.

Q: What is one of your favorite memories from coaching?

A: I don’t think I have one. The experience I got head coaching was just a lot more rewarding and harder than I thought it would be. Sam, Harlan and I all had a different teams with like 15 or 14 kids running around. Trying to figure out the best way to coach them was a very eye-opening experience. I think some of my favorite memories I have are from me, Sam, and Harlan on Fridays having the same practice at the same time and trying to get together before practice and trying to figure out how to coach these young kids. But at the end of the day it’s just spending time with a bunch of funny kids.

Q: How do you think your experience as a player for Shane has affected you today?

A: Shane is a great inspiration and coach. For me, Shane has always been an up-front kind of guy. He’ll always tell you what he’s thinking. Something from my perspective is that he grew up at Campolindo, he knows how high school soccer works. He had a great first-hand experience on it and he had the knowledge and he knew what it took to become a good team and good soccer player. We all looked to Shane, he was like a role-model and motivational coach. He was still a kid, but a good coach to look up to. He stayed well with our team and our group of guys.

Q: How do you think Eclipse is different than other soccer clubs?

A: Eclipse is different because it has a different view on soccer and how to train the players better than other clubs. Soccer can teach more than just playing a sport. It can shape who you are as a person as well and that’s what Shane and Eclipse is about. Shane builds off of soccer to not only create better players, but better people in general. We have a family feel and it’s very personal. Eclipse also offers a lot of extra trainings, not just practice. If you wanted to get better, you could. It was up to the individuals if they wanted to work harder. Also, I really think Future Eclipse is such a great program because once you get kids loving soccer you’ll get new stars of that club and they’ll keep making Eclipse bigger and better.

Elena Wasserman is a former Eclipse player, referee, and coach who is now a freshman journalism major at Cal Poly. She is currently working as a broadcast reporter for Mustang News, the news organization at Cal Poly, and is overjoyed with the opportunity to write for Eclipse.