Current men’s soccer captain and centre back Connor Guilherme has faced no shortage of adversity during his UBC soccer career.
After working his way into a starting position with the Thunderbirds last season, Guilherme tore his PCL — a ligament in the knee — in the final exhibition game before the 2016/17 season started, sidelining him for the entire season. That said, the lengthy recovery process only made Guilherme even hungrier to get back out on the field. He spent countless hours in the gym rehabilitating his knee and adopting a workout routine to maintain upper body strength.
Guilherme finally progressed back into on-field training six months later, stronger than ever. The centre back continued with his gym workouts and put in extra hours on the field to get his starting position back — and he did just that, joining the starting lineup again for the 2017/18 season.
He was an integral part of the men’s soccer team during the 2017 pre-season trip to Beijing for the World Elite University Football Tournament, where the team placed second after competing against world class universities such as University of Melbourne, University of California Santa Barbara, Cambridge and Oxford.
Guilherme continued to grow into a pivotal piece of the team’s roster over the summer and was rewarded with the captain’s armband for the 2017/18 season. Currently, he has four goals and one assist through eighteen starts for the T-Birds.
Upon the team’s Canada West gold medal win this past Saturday, UBC head coach Mike Mosher spoke highly of his team captain.
“I am so happy for [Connor]. The injuries that the kid has suffered… ,” said Mosher. “In all my years, he’s maybe the hardest working player I’ve ever had and I couldn’t be happier to see that kid get rewarded with an all star recognition, two goals tonight, a championship.”
“Gosh, if anybody deserves it, he does.”
Guilherme is a true example of what it takes to be a part of a winning team and is always ready to put in the hard work to get himself — and the team — to where they need to be.
Currently, the team captain is leading the Thunderbirds through their 2017 playoff run. This past weekend, the team defeated both Thompson Rivers and Trinity Western University to claim the Canada West title and send the team on to the national championships in Kamloops, BC starting on Thursday, November 9.
Darren Rulofs is a member of the UBC men’s soccer team and wrote the above piece on behalf of the Thunderbird Athletes Council.
~ With files from Lucy Fox and Olamide Olaniyan