Albuquerque Sol goalkeeper Tyler Pavlet carefully slides back his right sleeve to reveal the large block lettering inked across the span of his right bicep. The thick black words are written in Czech but he’s quick to translate. It means “glad you got to see me” a trademark of sorts of his late grandfather Robert Pavlet. The former Navy man had a ceaseless supply of these phrases, affectionately dubbed “Bobisms” by Tyler and his family. Robert Pavlet died last summer and the emotion is still etched on his grandson’s face when he mentions it.
“He was never really a sad kind of guy,” Tyler Pavlet says of his grandfather. “He was always funny, always making jokes, you never saw him sad, depressed, or upset.”
Perhaps it’s that sunny disposition that makes the Goodyear, Arizona native such a natural acquisition for the Albuquerque Sol. It is also fortuitous for the Sol that Tyler’s girlfriend Alex Keeney is the daughter of Chris Keeney, a member of the Sol’s front office for some time. Chris put Tyler in touch with Sol Manager Matt Gordon who smartly recruited Tyler to backstop the Sol. Tyler and Alex met in the gym at Lees-McRae College, the only pair of Arizona natives at the tiny 800-person school in Banner Elk, North Carolina. For reference, the city itself has just over 1,100 residents according to the latest Census data. There is one stoplight in the town, but according to Pavlet it’s a pretty nice stoplight thank you very much.
Pavlet was recruited by the Lees-McRae Bobcats who showed sustained interest in him following his performances over a couple of years at college scouting camps. Pavlet started his first game freshman year for the Bobcats and has racked up 34 starts and 36 total appearances in his three collegiate seasons. He’s recorded nine shutouts, and a .653 save percentage stopping 128 shots.
Pavlet’s soccer prowess is uniquely impressive given his late start. He didn’t start playing soccer until age 11. He was encouraged to tryout for a competitive club by a friend’s dad who witnessed Pavlet making a series of saves in sandlot soccer at a math and science camp.
“I played baseball like my grandparents and my dad, that’s kind of the family sport,” Pavlet said. “I converted them to the soccer lifestyle. My family supports me in everything I do.”
He was a tri-sport athlete in high school playing kicker (naturally) and wide receiver in football, although he hated his trial at tight end on account of the blocking. He still played baseball and hit for power and average. But it was clear soccer was a growing passion.
In fact, Pavlet figures soccer will be a vocation. He’s hoping to move into coach once his playing career is over. He cites a coaching guide entitled “Leading” by legendary Manchester United Manager Sit Alex Ferguson as his favorite book.
“My soccer playing career will come to a close at some point,” Pavlet says. “But I hope to be around the game as long as I can.”
He’s done a little individual coaching and at a traveling soccer map. He is working on acquiring the right certification. It’s little surprise then that Robert Pavlet’s grandson intends on fostering a positive but serious work environment for his coaching style.
“I’m intense when I coach; I like to encourage,” Pavlet says. “Don’t have a negative mindset. Don’t mess around, we’re here to get better.”
But Pavlet isn’t limiting his soccer career to playing and coaching. He’s also a budding clothing entrepreneur. He was approved last week for a trademark for the False 9 apparel line he’s developing. His geometric artistic designs lean heavily on triangles and symmetry. His classroom notebooks are cluttered on the margins full of his handiwork. If the Sol had time to disseminate a playbook it’s a good bet they’d include some scribbles and sketches too.
Pavlet uses illustrator and photshop to create the 8-10 men’s and women’s shirts he’s designed and promotes the products on Instgram and Facebook. Pavlet handles the burgeoning business on his own but receives a steady supply of ideas and support from friends and teammates. He eventually wants to own a warehouse but for now must rely on a printing service. It’s a hobby for now but may grow into more.
The Sol are glad they got to see him on this stage of soccer journey.