Raul Cavaller is a mild mannered man with an easy smile and infectious mood. He is energetic (to say the least), and he instills that in his teams.
"More than ever, boys and girls are desiring to move and play," says the first-year Taos High School boys soccer head coach. And Cavaller knows better than most that playing soccer (or futbol, to him) is one of the best ways to get out the energy and get the body moving. After all, he has been living and breathing soccer his entire life.
"I come from a country where soccer is played everywhere, [all of the time]," he says, speaking of his childhood spent playing in the streets of Barcelona, Catalonia (an autonomous region in the northeastern corner of Spain). Cavaller even attended university in Spain, obtaining a bachelor's degree in Sports Science from the Universitat de Barcelona (University of Barcelona) in 2001, with a specialty in soccer and skiing.
"It was a pleasure for me to be instructed and be part of the offensive soccer culture that exists in Barcelona," he says.
But Coach Cavaller's interests don't stop on the futbol pitch. He has a deep passion for all forms of outdoor adventure, but especially skiing. And once again, he has explored those interests at both ends of the world.
As the director and co-founder of Club Pyrene in Manresa y alrededores, Spain, he is committed to helping young people in his home country and around the globe find adventurous ways to explore the outdoors.
"I love to organize experiences with children and youth, providing programs where nature, cooperation and respect are the goals," he says.
When he came to Taos, he was able to apply those skills as an instructor at Taos Ski Valley.
As an avid outdoorsman, Cavaller is also a passionate conservationist. He believes that enjoying nature and the adventures it offers is intimately tied to helping preserve that natural beauty.
With that in mind, Cavaller applied his entrepreneurial mind towards the creation of his own business. "I've founded an eco lodge called Cal Pesolet Eco Turisme Rural, where I'm proud to offer sustainable holidays," he explains on his (impressive) LinkedIn profile.
Eventually he became a Spanish teacher at Taos High School and lent his valuable experience and knowledge to the previous coaching staff of THS boys soccer. This is his first year at the helm of the Tigers, but he is by no means a rookie.
"I've coached teams of little kiddos, teenagers, and regular teams in the Catalan soccer national league for more than 15 years," he says. "After [those] years, what I like the most is to see how either losing or winning, players work collectively for a common goal."
The THS boys' soccer team has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start this season. As of print time, the Tigers sit on a 2-3 record, with their last loss being a particularly difficult home defeat to St. Michael's by a score of 7-0. But Coach Cavaller knows the team is still getting its feet under them and that it is always important to focus on the future.
"We are still getting to know each other," he says, referring more to on-the-field chemistry than anything else. "But we are having fun and we are happy to play."