San Antonio’s own soccer son has seen success since high school. Born in Monterey, Mexico and coming to the US as a young boy; Pato had to overcome the change, challenges, the language barrier and the move to San Antonio. Whatever club he has played for along the way, Pato has been an impact player. Now, after professional stints in the USL League Two and USL League One, Pato is poised to make the jump to the USL Championship and help a club on the offense side of the ball.
Pato Botello starting shining while at Brandeis High School which in turn got him onto the roster at St. Mary’s University. Botello played all four years with the Rattlers starting in 59 of 65 matches from 2015 to 2018. He was the leading goal scorer for St. Mary’s from 2016 to 2018 and helping the Rattlers turn around a 5-10-2 team in 2015 to a team that finished 10-5-3 overall in his final season.
St. Mary’s University Men’s Soccer Head Coach Johnny Clifford said of Pato: “Pato is one of those players that I always say, ‘changed the program.’ He came up with big moments in big games, but more importantly held everyone around him get to a higher standard. He believed in himself and loved the team. He can score goals from anywhere and that’s not something that is easy to find. He was a big time leader for our program and he has a bright future ahead as a pro.”
In Pato Botello’s own words in an interview with Soy SAF: “Playing for St. Mary’s helped me a lot because I think that’s when I started to realize I could make it to the professional level. It all started with Coach Bonelli, bringing me into St. Marys’, recruiting me. Then Coach Barnes and Coach Clifford coming in and really shaping me to become a professional player because they told me I have the talent to be a professional but you still need to put in the work. They told me what to do outside of practice, take care of my body. To work out before and after practice and how I eat, diet and everything. St. Mary’s really helped me become a professional player.”
Pato experienced his first taste of professional soccer at the USL League Two level with Corpus Christi FC, playing one season in 2018. He made 9 Appearances and scored 8 Goals in Corpus Christi FC’s inaugural season in the USL PDL (now USL Two)
Sebastian Giraldo was Pato’s head coach at Corpus Christi FC told Soy SAF:
“Pato was one of the reasons we were able to go from a new franchise to one of the best recognized brands in USL2 in a 3 year span. We knew when we brought him in that he was going to be a future pro and that was the environment we wanted to create. A franchise focused on the individuals and as professional as possible from the training all the way to the management of the athletes outside of the field. His professionalism and focus accelerated our progression as a club and also helped give us a reputation for a home of future professional soccer athletes. In only 2 years, we had 12 athletes sign professional contracts from CCFC and Pato paved the way.”
Pato signed with the Lansing Ignite for the 2019 Season and had a very successful tenure scoring 7 goals for the USL One side. He was instrumental in Lansing’s second place finish in the table and the highlight of the season for Pato was a brace versus eventual champion North Texas SC during a 4-1 victory in late August 2019; earning USL One Player of the Week Honors.
“Coach Nate Miller helped me to adapt to the pro level. teaching me a lot things. Watching film with me after every game, like individual actions…telling what I need to be better at…I had a good year with Lansing and I thank Coach Nate for that, it was a great rookie year.” – Pato Botello on his rookie year at Lansing Ignite.
Former Head Coach for Lansing Ignite Nate Miller (now Assistant Coach with San Diego Loyal) in an exclusive statement to Soy San Antonio Futbol:
“In 2019 Pato showed immense character and professionalism. He improved more then maybe any player I have had in one season. His attitude and daily consistent approach were the main factors to this. He always believed in himself but was humble to learn and to adapt.”
“One of the big keys was that he is beloved by teammates. I am a big believer that striker excel, and produce more when their teammates what them to succeed. He did so much unselfishly off the ball and was crucial in linking together the explosive players we had around him.”
“I would love to work with Pato again one day. He is very good in the box, and is very intelligent with his movement in relation to his teammates.”
“Pato is also an amazing character. I love guys who have a personality and bring a spirit to the team. I really think Pato responded to the culture we created as a group. How close that group became; I believe had a lot to do with his personality”
Former Lansing Ignite teammate Alex Bruce (with San Antonio FC 2018-2019) said of Pato:
“Pato is a great friend of mine, before I went to Lansing I trained with him so I was familiar of him. We went to Lansing and I remember he was the first one to make sure I got into my apartment and stuff like that. As a teammate he’s a very good one, team oriented player, works hard and wants to learn. He’s the funniest guy I’ve shared a locker room with a lot of people would say the same. Bro for life!”
Pato Botello could fit nicely in a couple clubs right here in Texas looking for a striker to fill their roster. With experience in USL Two and two clubs in the USL One, Pato can make the jump and continue to progress and provide results with the right club and manager. Two clubs in need of strikers are right here in Central and South Texas and both have managers that will benefit from having Pato on the roster.
Austin Bold FC roster is in the process of a rebuild as most of the original players from the inaugural season have moved on as contracts have expired. The Bold still have some work to do on the roster but still have a good foundation with Xavier Baez and Jermaine Taylor. Pato could flourish under the direction of Marcelo Serrano, as Pato is the type of striker that Marcelo and the Bold need to succeed.
Rio Grande Valley Toros have started a new chapter in their club history. Wilmar Cabrera is back after spending time in MLS with the Houston Dynamo and Montreal Impact. Wilmar led the Toros to their only playoff appearance after finishing Second in the USL Western Conference in 2016, he also won the US Open Cup in 2018 with the Dynamo. The Toros are looking to return to winning ways and Pato could provide the spark as Wilmar much like his mentor Oscar Pareja are known to bring the best out of their players.
Pato could reunite with Coach Nate Miller at San Diego Loyal as well. Under the direction of USMNT Legend Landon Donovan and Nate Miller, Pato could develop into a scoring powerhouse.
Pato is physical 6 foot tall striker, quick on the ball and give defenses trouble. Pato is capable of being a leader and relaxing his team in the locker room. He is creative and find seams inside defenders to make a play on goal. He could fit well with several USL Championship teams and is ready to take the next step.