Raul "The Thrill" Vijil Announces Official Retirement
Wednesday May 13, 2015
Former Shock receiver to have jersey retired at home game
SPOKANE, Washington (May 13, 2015) – Former Shock receiver Raul Vijil has announced his official retirement this week from the Arena Football League, signing official documents prior to home game against the San Jose Sabercats. Prior to the scheduled kickoff at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, the Shock will feature a special ceremony to recognize the “9th Man” and then at half-time will hold a jersey retirement ceremony for Raul Vijil.
Vijil attended Pasco High School in Pasco, Washington where he joined the football team during his senior year. Vijil helped the Bulldogs to a 14-0 record during the 2000 WIAA football season and a State Championship win over Bethel High School. During that win Vijil recorded a state record 204 receiving yards, a record which still stands to this day.
Despite only playing one season of football during his high school career, Vijil’s outstanding performance was enough to earn him a scholarship to Eastern Washington University. During his career as an Eagle, Vijil saw action in 36 games and recorded 129 receptions for 1,966 yards and ten touchdowns. As a senior during the 2005 season, Vijil hauled in 72 receptions for 1,080 yards and eight touchdowns.
During his career at EWU, Vijil also had the opportunity to play alongside former Shock quarterback Erik Meyer. In 2005 during Vijil’s best single-season performance as an Eagle, Meyer received the Walter Payton Award as the top offensive player in the NCAA Division I-AA.
RAUL “THE THRILL” VIJIL
After completing his collegiate career after the 2005 NCAA football season, Vijil was recruited to play for the expansion Spokane Shock in the af2 by former Head Coach Chris Siegfried. Beginning his professional career during the 2006 af2 season, Vijil would go on to play for six total seasons as a member of the Shock franchise during the team’s seasons in the af2 (2006-2009) and the Shock’s first two seasons as a member the AFL (2010-2011).
“I was very impressed with Raul's college highlight tape, and I wasn't let down by seeing him run routes and catch the football in person. I offered him a contract the first time I saw him workout. He is a natural athlete that could play almost any position,” said former Shock Head Coach Chris Siegfried. “His love of life and the sport were infectious to the entire team and to anyone who has had the opportunity to meet him. He was an absolute pleasure to coach and to know. I am honored to have had the opportunity to coach Raul Vijil, and I'm equally honored to call Raul my friend.”
Vijil played an integral role within Head Coach Chris Siegfried’s Shock team in Spokane’s first-ever season as a franchise in 2006 in the af2. The Shock finished the regular season with a 14-2 record to go along with a West Division Championship, National Conference Championship, and ArenaCup VII Championship victory. Vijil recorded a team-high 30 rushing attempts for 68 yards and tied for a team-high ten rushing touchdowns. Raul also recorded 59 receptions for 626 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Vijil’s contributions to the Shock continued into his second-season under new Head Coach Adam Shackleford as Spokane achieved a 12-4 regular season record and secured their second straight West Division Championship before falling to the Louisville Fire in the first round of the af2 playoffs. During the 2007 season, Vijil hauled in 57 receptions for 616 yards and 15 touchdowns.
In 2008, Spokane would continue their dominating regular season performance and achieve a 15-1 regular season record to go along with West Division and National Conference Championships. The Shock would make an appearance in the ArenaCup Championship, but fall to the Tennessee Valley Vipers by a final of 55-56 in overtime. During the regular season, Vijil recorded 15 rush attempts for 29 yards and four touchdowns while adding 107 receptions for a team-high 1,212 yards and 35 touchdowns. Vijil also took over kick return duties in 2008 as he recorded 59 returns for 1,248 yards and two touchdowns.
The Shock’s final season in the af2 would produce the team’s second league championship in only four seasons. After achieving a 15-1 regular season record that would secure the franchise West Division and National Conference Championships, Spokane would go on to defeat Wilkes-Barre-Scranton in ArenaCup X by a final score of 74-27. During the 2009 regular season, Vijil recorded a team-high 116 receptions for 1,415 yards and 36 touchdowns while adding 54 kick returns for 1,119 yards and one touchdown. Vijil also received First Team All-af2 honors as a wide receiver.
The 2010 season would be the Shock’s inaugural season as a member of the Arena Football League and prove to be nothing less than a “Cinderella Story” for Spokane. Coming off a very successful four seasons in the af2, Spokane would take the AFL by storm and post a 13-3 regular season record while recording their first West Division and National Conference championships in the Arena Football League. Spokane would go on to defeat the Tampa Bay Storm in ArenaBowl XXIII at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Over the course of 2010 season, Vijil recorded 82 receptions for 1,083 yards and 33 touchdowns while adding 28 kick returns for 541 yards and one touchdown.
In his final season as a player with the Shock in 2011, Vijil recorded 68 receptions for 749 yards and 20 touchdowns as the team achieved a 9-9 regular season record.
Former Shock Owner Brady Nelson, who started the franchise in 2006 and had the opportunity to be a part of all six of Vijil’s seasons in Spokane holds high praise of Raul:
If you had to pick one player to emulate and build a franchise, it would be Raul Vijil. He is truly the most iconic player in the history of the franchise. I remember fondly following a game winning catch against the Everett Hawks in 2006 in the final seconds of the game seeing Raul do a back flip on the end zone. That ended up becoming a trade mark of his that the fans would wait around to see. The arena would erupt.
One game from our 2010 championship season I recall vividly was when we were at home playing Jacksonville for the first time. We were both in first place at the time. Raul scored seven touchdowns on seven catches, running seven different routes. I remember coach Keefe telling Jacksonville's defensive coordinator before the play what the route was going to be and said, “it doesn't matter you can't stop him.” Next play, touchdown!
He was always able to score and come up with a huge catch or a kick return when we needed it the most. I know for about five or six years on in a row, whenever a quarterback would get in trouble they would look for number 15.
A hallmark of Raul's was breaking in new defensive backs in training camp. First time around in one-on-ones, everyone wanted to cover Raul. After a couple sessions, no one wanted to. He was a leader on every team he was on. He led by example. He was the epitome of what we wanted Shock football to be about. I have a Raul Vijil jersey in my closet.
VIJIL BEYOND THE FIELD
After a successful career as a player in the af2 and AFL, Vijil has continued his strong ties in Eastern Washington and takes pride in giving back to the communities of the Inland Northwest as often as possible. Raul enjoys working with young athletes while also working with current AFL players and collegiate graduates to enhance their athletic performance, as well as, instill his knowledge gained as a player at the collegiate and professional ranks.
This past year, Vijil has gone on to begin his own strength and performance training company, Base Performance, while taking on a new role with the Shock organization as the team’s strength and performance coach.
Base Performance aims to provide the Pacific Northwest with premium personal and group training, while bringing every athlete to their full potential. The use their collegiate and professional athletic experience, as well as knowledge and passion to meet the health, fitness and sports performance goals for athletes at all levels. More information about Base Performance can be found at their website at www.base-performance.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We have been very fortunate to have Raul be a part of this organization throughout the years. He has done a great job working with our players as a strength and performance coach,” said Shock Head Coach Andy Olson. “The positivity he brings the team is contagious and the guys have learned a lot from him. I am very proud to have him on staff, working to make us better every day.”
SPOKANE SHOCK MISSION
The Spokane Shock strive to deliver to our fans a high quality entertainment experience while serving and representing the Inland Northwest on and off the field as a proud member of the Arena Football League.
ABOUT THE SPOKANE SHOCK
The Spokane Shock is a professional arena football team of the Arena Football League from Spokane, Washington, USA. They play their home games at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. The Shock played their first four seasons in the former af2, winning division titles in all four seasons and ArenaCups in 2006 and 2009 before joining the AFL and winning ArenaBowl XXIII in their first season. The Shock will kick off their 10th Anniversary Season in 2015. Tickets and Sponsorships are available. For more information visit our website at spokaneshock.com or call 509-242-7462. You can also follow the Shock on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and YouTube.