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Alumnus makes mark in Washington soccer league

While playing soccer at The College of Idaho, recent graduate and former goalkeeper Colin Benham-Marin ’14 didn’t win any all-conference awards. He wasn’t a big name.

But after five years of donning purple and gold, Benham-Marin is working to make his dream of playing professionally a reality. Benham-Marin burst onto the scene this summer after joining Wenatchee FC, a team in the newly formed Evergreen Premier League in Washington (EPLWA). He immediately made his presence felt, earning back-to-back shutouts on his way to the West Coast Goalkeeping Safe Hands award.

“My goal is to make a professional team, and that is really what I’m gunning for and working for,” Benham-Marin said, adding the award only motivated him to keep pursuing his dream.

That hard work and perseverance is a product of his time at the C of I.

Benham-Marin redshirted his first year as a Yote—an experience he said grew his love for the game as he watched from the sideline, yearning to play. He also went through a coaching change and a rebuilding of the men’s soccer program.

“I think having to go through some adversity while playing at The College of Idaho made me stronger and kept me working to make it here,” Benham-Marin said, adding that C of I coach Thom Baker encouraged him and motivated him to pursue his goals.

Last spring, Colin and teammate Luis Gomez, a current Yotes midfielder, drove back and forth to Washington to participate in tryouts for various teams. Benham-Marin was getting call-backs, but not making the final cut.

In April, Benham-Marin found himself in Wenatchee—along with many other players—to try out for the Capitals.

By day two, Colin learned he made the cut.

“I feel proud of that kid—he has come a long way,” Baker said, adding that Benham-Marin played a big part in the Yotes’ making the conference playoffs in 2013. “He has paved the way for other guys to play on and follow in his footsteps.”

After a stellar season with Wenatchee, Colin hopes to try out again for U-23 professional teams, such as the Portland Timbers or Seattle Sounders. He has been training hard all summer with his goalkeeper coach Cesar Ceppi, a Brazil native who spent time playing professionally.

Having Ceppi has been a great tool for Benham-Marin, who says he’s learned to be a soccer player first and a goalkeeper second, and to have the right mental mindset between the posts.

Benham-Marin majored in exercise with a minor in coaching at the C of I. In addition to chasing his soccer dream, Colin is working toward his strength and conditioning certification in order to become a personal trainer. He’s also weighing graduate school as an option.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 12 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.