SNOHOMISH, WA— If you are open to making the world your soccer pitch, you never know where the game might take you. Austin Hill is a living example of this. The Bothell High School Class of 2014 grad has found himself in LA, New York State, England, Norway and Germany, among other places. Now he’s training for the Western Indoor Soccer League (WISL) debut of the Snohomish County FC Steelheads.
To catch up with his career, we asked Austin how long he’s been involved in soccer. “Oh man, first question already making me feel old,” he says with a laugh. “I’ve played for about 20 years, since I was a little guy, but seriously for 5 years, I’ve played for Bellevue College, PSC FC in Los Angeles, Colliers Wood United in England, Rochester Lancers (MASL 2 Indoor and NPSL Outdoor), Egersunds IK in Norway and most recently in Germany with FCA Darmstadt and FC Bierstadt 2.”
Hill’s journeys seem to build upon each other as he meets new teammates. “I got the connection through one of my old teammates when I was playing in LA,” he says of his move across the country to the Rochester Lancers. “Indoor was huge for me in forcing me to be comfortable with the ball in tight spaces and also with using the sole of my foot.”
Germany? “Just like Rochester, I got connected to Darmstadt through a teammate in Rochester and LA and I just direct-messaged them on Instagram and they invited me out for a trial.” The competition is tough in football-mad Germany, whatever the level and Hill says he experienced a lot both on and off the pitch. “FCA Darmstadt was a German Division 8 club but we had such a good squad we were competing with clubs in the 6th and even the professional clubs in the 5th division,” Austin says. His memories of that time are tempered by his interactions with club management. “I did not retain a great relationship with the club, nor did any of the other players that year, and I learned a valuable lesson to pick up on signs of poor management in a club.”
Hill is now back home in Woodinville and he turned out for SnoCo FC indoor open tryouts in October. His skills have been apparent since the start. His travels reveal themselves in his ease on and off the ball. But how does he see his experiences with the Steelheads so far? “Just like I can pick up on poor management, I can pick up on great management and bright futures. As a team there’s only a few (on the Steelheads) that have played indoor competitively but everyone is talented and everyone can ball out. This is the inaugural season for SnoCo FC (indoors), so a lot of people will count us out this year, but from what I’ve seen and from my experience, we’ve got what it takes to finish top 3 if not take the title.”