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Friday, January 22, 2021

2019 Hall of Fame inductee Ben Dragavon’s life after Western

Former men’s soccer player’s hard work leads to experiences sports fanatics can only dream of

Ben Dragavon tries to defend a ball shot towards the goal. Dragavon holds the school record with 18 total shutouts in his career at Western from 2002 to 2005. Photo credit: Western Athletics

By Aidan Gaffney

In the 15 years since Ben Dragavon last played for Western Washington University, he has constructed a résumé that is nothing short of impressive.

Dragavon played eight years as a professional goalkeeper with stints on teams like the Seattle Sounders, Toronto F.C. and Columbus Crew. After his playing career concluded due to a hip injury, which led to multiple surgeries, he took up coaching. 

Dragavon was a goalkeeper coach for the Seattle Sounders Academy, an assistant coach for Seattle University men’s soccer and Western men’s and women’s soccer teams, and a coach on the Seattle Reign of the National Women’s Soccer League. 

“I got to coach players like Hope Solo on the Seattle Reign where I was given a platform to be their strength and goalkeeper coach,” Dragavon said.

Currently, Dragavon specializes in the athletic development, rehabilitation, wellness and fitness of his clients at Dragavon Training Methods located in the Athletic Training Institute’s facility in Bellevue.

“I work with a wide range of professional athletes, everyday people and those who have more significant issues — like Lyme disease, lupus and cancer survivors,” Dragavon said. “So I have a really broad spectrum of people that I work with and it’s been interesting how it’s gotten to where it’s at but I benefit a lot of people and am very proud of that.”

Besides obtaining a Bachelor of Science at Western in exercise science and pre-physical therapy, Dragavon is educated in muscle activation techniques — more commonly known as MAT — and the resistance training specialist program. 

Western women’s goalkeeper Natalie Dierickx benefited from these specific training techniques in Dragavon’s goalkeeper training service, GKcomplete

“He focuses a lot on muscle activation, stretching and pressure point areas that would release tension, which I was not typically used to in terms of goalkeeper training,” Dierickx said. “Just how he was able to figure out what muscles are maybe weaker than the other or how can we find a balance and whatnot, I thought that was really unique with him.”

From 2002 to 2005, Dragavon put up record numbers at Western, including a program-leading 18 shutouts and third all-time in goals against average (1.38). In 2019, he was inducted into the Western Athletics Hall of Fame, introduced by his former assistant coach and current Western men’s soccer head coach Greg Brisbon. 

“His development from day one at Western to his fourth year at Western was just remarkable,” Brisbon said. “He’s really into his work, just like when he was a soccer player he wants to do a good job, and so it’s been really fun to watch.”

It was hard for Dragavon to fathom that he is forever etched into Western’s history books.

“It’s extremely humbling and a treatment I would not have been able to achieve without my teammates,” Dragavon said. “I don’t see it as recognition for my personal career, it is a recognition for all of our careers. I just could not be more thankful for the people around me.”


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