Stefan Frei has had a professional approach to everything he does and many would say he was destined to be a professional goalkeeper since the time he moved to the Bay Area and started playing for Diablo FC (then DVSC). So it may not come as a surprise that Stefan will be starting as goalkeeper for the Seattle Sounders this Saturday in the MLS Cup Finals versus his previous club, Toronto FC. However, his path and journey to this moment has taken many different turns along the way.
Stefan Frei moved to the Bay Area when he was 14 and entering High School. He had a very successful youth soccer career back home in Switzerland and was already training and playing in the Swiss Youth National Team Program. Stefan had an athletic pedigree with his father playing Olympic Handball for the Swiss National Team. Not to mention, his cousin Alexander Frei is the recently retired captain of, and all-time leading scorer, for the Swiss National Team.
Stefan attended De La Salle High School and immediately joined Diablo FC due to its outstanding Goalkeeper Program led by Henry Foulk. Through his high school years, Stefan would establish himself as one of the top goalkeepers in the Nation. During his high school career at De La Salle, he had a career Goals Against Average (GAA) of 0.36 from 2002-2005. In 2005, he was selected as De La Salle High School Athlete of the Year and Contra Costa Times Boys Soccer Player of the Year while leading the Spartans to another North Coast Section Championship (his second NCS title). Stefan was also selected to the NSCAA All-American team in 2005. Stefan's playing career for Diablo FC was equally impressive as he helped lead his teams to numerous tournament titles and was selected to the USYSA Cal North and Western Region ODP Program. Stefan also won the CYSA State Cup at U19s before attending Cal Berkeley.
While at Cal, Stefan continued to develop into one of the NCAA's top D-1 goalkeepers. Cal Goalkeeper Coach Henry Foulk recalls how much he enjoyed coaching Stefan through his youth and especially at Cal. Stefan and Henry developed a strong player-coach relationship that would help groom Stefan into an elite level goalkeeper. Stefan's nature as a goalkeeper has always been calm and composed while also demanding excellence. In 2008, he was named to the All-Pac-10 1st Team, NSCAA Far West Regional Team, and Top Drawer Soccer's Team of the Season. Stefan would forgo his senior year and enter the 2009 MLS Super Draft. He was the first goalkeeper selected in 2009 by Toronto FC with the #13 overall pick.
Stefan had an immediate impact in Toronto and quickly established himself as the starting goalkeeper and one of the teams top overall players. Stefan's personal success in the net did not translate to team success and Stefan was often a player mentioned in potential trades for Toronto FC. The club went through a number of coaching changes and constant player movement before Stefan eventually sat out the 2012 and 2013 seasons due to injuries. Many considered Stefan to be damaged goods at that time and he was ultimately traded to the Seattle Sounders before the 2014 MLS Season.
As easy as it might be for Frei to dwell on the disappointments of his time in Toronto, things are going far too well for him now in Seattle to still hold on to any lingering resentment. His move to the Sounders three years ago has been everything he could have hoped for, helping revive a career that had stalled in Toronto and establishing himself as one of the best goalkeepers in MLS. Frei has lifted silverware in the form of a U.S. Open Cup and Supporters' Shield, and now stands one win away from adding an MLS Cup to that collection.
Diablo FC Goalkeeper Coach Henry Foulk is no stranger to developing elite level goalkeepers. In fact, Henry is regarded by many in the soccer community to be one the best goalkeeper coaches in the country, especially at the youth level. Over the years, Henry has helped developed goalkeepers from an early age at Diablo FC to both NCAA and MLS Cup Champions. The list of goalkeepers trained by Henry at Diablo FC, Cal Berkeley and the San Jose Earthquakes Academy is as extensive as it is impressive. Henry has been our Diablo FC Goalkeeper Coach for nearly 20 years.
Diablo FC Standout Goalkeepers:
Stefan Frei: MLS Cup Finals - 2016
Adin Brown: MLS Cup Finals - 2002, 2 x NCAA All-American, MLS Cup Champion - 2016
Chris Brown: NCAA All-American
Alex Mangels: NCAA Cal Berkeley, USL-Tulsa
Aly Winget: NCAA Champion, University of North Carolina
Cori Alexander: NCAA Champion, University of Portland
Jason Badger: NCAA Champion, UC Santa Barbara
Kaylie Collins: NCAA Champion, USC
Andrew Konstantino: NCAA Saint Mary's College, WCC Honorable Mention
Maritza Grillo: NCAA Yale
Benjamin Hummel: NCAA Princeton
Jeff Lefcourt: NCAA Sonoma State
Amanda Zodikoff: current 2000 GK, PDP State Team, Committed to Cal
Cassie Souza: 2001 GK, PDP Region 3/4 Team & State Team
Ryan Aiken: current 2004 GK, PDP Region 3/4 Team
Duncan Morrison: 1997 GK, Committed to play at ARMY
Other Notable Goalkeepers Trained by Henry:
Josh Saunders (Cal Berkeley): MLS Cup Champion - 2003, 2011, 2012 & MLS Cup Finals - 2009, 2013.
Eric Kronberg (Cal Berkeley): MLS - Montreal
J.T. Marcinkowski (SJ Earthquakes Academy): University of Georgetown, US Youth National Team
Jonathan Klinsmann (Cal Berkeley): US Youth National Team