Interview with Mario Soto
“Do the work. Try to smile and laugh at life’s absurdity.”
~ Mario Soto
Mario Soto, AASP Approved Mentor, is a sport psychology consultant with an extensive background in performance sports including basketball, baseball and martial arts as well as being a professional working actor for 10 years and earning his union status in all three guilds (SAG, AEA and AFTRA). Having years of experience in the sports world through many perspectives, Mario has played, coached and participated in sports at the youth, high school and collegiate level, both locally and internationally. Mario’s passion for sports eventually led him to pursue the field of SPP, earning his master’s degree in sport and performance psychology from CSU Fullerton under the guidance of well-respected sport psychology consultants including Dr. Ken Ravizza, Dr. Traci Statler, Dr. Andrea Becker and Dr. Len Wiersma. In particular, Dr. Ken Ravizza initially sparked his interest in the field of SPP, encouraging Mario to enroll as one of his graduate students that following year, and Mario was eager to learn more.
Driven by "the work," Mario has spent his career in SPP helping athletes, performers and first responders while also applying the same performance skills to his own life, helping him gain and maintain self-confidence and experience. He has always felt compelled to help himself, his friends and family, and others in the area of performance, deeply integrating himself in the field of SPP. For Mario, every action is done with purpose and there is something to be learned from every opportunity; remaining open is crucial for growth. His purpose in guiding others is rooted in removing this notion of self-criticism and sharing that we are all a work in progress.
If there was one word to describe the work by Mario Soto, it would be inspirational. There’s always an angle or perspective his stories offer that allow others the space and encouragement to realize what is possible and then learn how to be less self-critical to welcome growth, no matter where they start and how small that growth may be. Fueled by growth and opportunity, Mario loves to share his progress and experiences to inspire others to find their own way as well.
Mario Soto acknowledges that the field of SPP is expanding quickly and predicts that there will become more of an online presence of SPP in the form of apps, social media and other platforms. Due to the recent surge in mental health following Covid-19, he also thinks that official organizing bodies (i.e. AASP) in the field of SPP will begin to validate or invalidate those in the field with/without the standard CMPC® as it continues to grow.
Staying true to the work and upholding the standards of SPP is something Mario Soto represents and emphasizes to those he mentors. Since the field of SPP continues to evolve and gain popularity, he cautions mentees to be wary of imitators without the qualifications and credentials to earn the work that they do and to be sure that if you are in this field, you do the work and find a niche to help others in a way that reflects your genuine, authentic self. As a mentor of CBU’s CSPP program, Mario Soto loves to watch the enthusiasm among his students and mentees and enjoys being an active part in developing the future of SPP.
His coaching resume includes is a who’s who of elite performers including:
Boxing legend Manny Pacquaio, HOF coaches Freddy Roach & Robert Garcia, UFC fighters (Arlofski), Olympic medalists Will Simpson (Gold), Sabine Schut-Kery (Silver) and Everardo Hegewisch (Bronze), USA Volleyball (men and women), NCAA D1 champions Miss. State Baseball, Cal Baptist University’s 2-time Nat’l. champion Dance team, CBU Men’s Water polo (WWPA champs), former and current NFL players (Juju Smith-Schuster and Adoree Jackson) and numerous first responders.
And his collaborative work with coaches these last 3 years saw five clients named Coach of the Year (baseball, wrestling, water polo and basketball).
*Interviewed by CBU grad student, Skyla Wilson. 2022.