SAIT Trojans midfielder Nico Gonzalez hopes 3rd time a charm with men's soccer team
No matter what happens in this weekend's conference final in Edmonton against NAIT, the SAIT Trojans men's soccer team will be in the national championship next month.
As host, they get an automatic berth to the event, running from Nov. 10-13.
Midfielder Nico Gonzalez loves playing for SAIT and he's been a member of the team on three separate occasions.
Gonzalez was first with the Trojans in 2005-06 and came back for a second time in 2009-10.
He then decided to return once again this season after getting laid off during the pandemic.
"I decided to come back to school," Gonzalez told CTV.
"I knew (head coach) Connor (Brady) from playing soccer and he suggested maybe I come back to SAIT and give it another go at the collegiate level. So I decided to do that."
Gonzalez is enrolled in geomatics engineering technology. He's now 35 years old but isn't showing any signs of slowing up on the soccer pitch.
In six games this season he has three goals and four assists and says he feels great.
"I don't feel my age like I keep in shape and I've been playing soccer for a long, long time," he said.
"I feel good and being around the young guys keeps me young so it's good."
The Trojans have had a great season so far. They were 5-0-1 in the regular season and feel they have a really good chance of winning nationals.
Gonzalez is only six months younger than his head coach.
Brady says all of that experience has really helped the Trojans this season and says Gonzalez has been a pleasure to coach.
"He simply wants what is best for the team," Brady said.
"He doesn't have much of a selfish mentality and you know he obviously leads by example you know with how to maintain your body and take care of yourself and add some longevity to your career.
"Obviously he's been playing at the level he's playing at now and he's doing it quite well."
Being the elder statesman on the team, Gonzalez tends to get the odd jab from his teammates but he says it's all in good fun.
"You get every so often the odd little comment here and there but other than that everyone is super respectful," Gonzalez said.
"They're all very attentive to me and if they have questions regarding anything they come and ask me. I've been through a lot of my experiences through this world of soccer so actually it's a good mix."
Brady says the entire team looks up to Gonzalez
"To be honest I think they have a tremendous amount of respect for Nico and that comes into play but you know it's a close group so there's banter always and yeah the number of years comes up every now and then for sure," he said.
Gonzalez is also a member of the national futsal team, which he says helps keep him in shape.
He says this will definitely be his last time playing with the Trojans so he'd love to go out a winner.
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