After his senior season at Eastern Washington University, Raul Vijil’s teammates and coaches encouraged him to take a shot at professional football, so he met them halfway.
He put together a highlight tape and sent it to Canadian Football League teams, but he let his conditioning slide for a little while.
Vijil didn’t get any bites from the CFL, but he received a call from Spokane Shock coach Chris Siegfried, who invited Vijil to a tryout. Siegfried had heard about the EWU receiver as he checked with area schools on potential players.
“I had no idea what it was going to be like,” Vijil said. “I wasn’t too worried about the competition or anything, just going out there and doing what I can do and whatever comes of it comes of it.”
He became a Shock player. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Vijil has made a smooth transition to arenafootball2.
“He has some unique abilities that separate him from a lot of guys,” said Siegfried, who signed Vijil before seeing his highlight tape. “He can do some great things after he catches the ball. He has unbelievable lateral quickness, probably from his soccer background. The sky is the limit for him.”
Vijil is playing for the Shock and taking classes at EWU. He should complete his degree this fall.
“I’m giving this a whirl and if it takes me to the next level, then awesome,” Vijil said. “That’s what most of these players are here for, to further their careers. I’ve been playing sports all my life and I’m definitely not ready to stop. I don’t know what I’d do without them.”
Vijil said he was “hurting the first couple of days of training camp, but some of these guys are a couple of years out of (college ball). I was looking pretty good compared to them.”
He’s adjusting to playing 8-man football on turf on a smaller field.
“The speed isn’t faster, but the game is quicker,” he said.
“I think his future is in the Arena Football League, but with his shiftiness, who knows?” Siegfried said. “I’m not an expert on getting guys to the NFL, but I feel like I know what it takes to get to the AFL. If he learns this game, I think he’ll get that chance, and maybe more.”
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