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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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    Where Are They Now?

    Michael Palacio walked out onto the Giant’s Stadium turf, wide-eyed and excited. It was only a short time after the Giants had finished their dream season.

    But he was here for a different reason, his own dream.

    Palacio was at Giant’s Stadium to start his career as a professional soccer player for the New York Red Bull.

    As a scrawny 6-foot tall forward, the Long Beach High School product Palacio was not heavily recruited.

    ‘I was little,’ Palacio said. ‘I was 145 pounds, now I’m 175.’

    However, having played for Stony Brook’s head soccer coach Cesar Markovic the summer before college, he opened up the coach’s eye enough to be offered a scholarship. Four years later, even after leaving as Stony Brook’s all-time assist leader, he was on his way to a tryout for a semi-pro soccer team, when he found out he had been drafted into the MLS.

    ‘I was hanging out in Miami with one of my friends over there,’ Palacio said. ‘I was going to try out for a team in the USL, the league below the MLS, when I got a phone call from an unavailable number. I was like, ‘I should pick this up,’ and it was the sporting director at Red Bull telling me I had been drafted.’

    From there it was ‘crazy,’ as he put it. ‘The next day they flew me out first class to Long Beach, I got all my stuff together and they put me in a hotel in Jersey. From there it was L.A., Austria, and South Carolina.’

    Even though he is on injured reserve rehabbing from a torn ACL, which he tore in a freak accident during the third game of the season, and recovering from appendicitis, Palacio knows he’s at the right place with the Red Bull. ‘I couldn’t picture myself not playing soccer, these past five months have been the worst for me.’

    Growing up he couldn’t picture himself not playing soccer either. Born of Uruguayan and Colombian descent, his father–who played soccer and wrestled at the University of North Carolina– taught him to play soccer at a young age. To this day, Palacio continues to instill soccer skills into young players just like his parents did, coaching kids every day, ages 10 through 16.

    The tough coaching and the extra attention that other teams paid to him made him a better player. He was a marked player at Stony Brook, meaning that a player on the opposing team shadowed him defensively the entire game.

    ‘You have less time to think what you’re going to do with the ball,’ he said. ‘In the pro’s you have even less time.’

    Palacio also thanks Coach Markovic.

    ‘He deserves a lot of credit for making me a better player.’

    Today, Palacio lives with three other rookie roommates in New Jersey, including former Stony Brook soccer player, Chris Megaloudis. Everything has been a huge transition to Palacio, ‘definitely a lot different [than my time at Stony Brook].’

    ‘Everything from a lot more lifting and watching what I eat.’

    Even though Palacio has moved on from Stony Brook, he still holds the memories very close.

    ‘Winning the America East Championship and going furthest in the tournament in School history is definitely my greatest moment at Stony Brook,’ he said. ‘Without a doubt.’

    Palacio will be returning to Stony Brook on September 20th for the Alumni game and for Stony Brook’s game against Townson.

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