Years of training and practice paid off for star soccer player
Filipe Vilela is one of Ontario’s star soccer players, playing for both the Oakville Blue Devils League1 Ontario team and the George Brown College (GBC) Huskies.
He earned the title of OCAA Rookie of the Year in 2017, in addition to being the League Scoring Champion, and is on-pace to win a variety of awards this year as well.
Vilela’s love for soccer started when he was only 4-years-old, spurred by his father. Growing up, he also played hockey and practiced karate, but was encouraged by his parents to choose a sport to focus on.
According to Vilela, the decision was easy: “soccer was definitely my favourite.”
It wasn’t easy for him to get to where he is today. At the age of 11, he traveled on his own to Portugal, where he played for eight years and tried out for Braga, a premier league in the country.
He said they liked him, and even wanted him to move to Europe.
However, his time in Portugal was one of the biggest challenges he has had to face, living in Europe without his parents at a young age.
Vilela recalled “spending birthdays there with my ‘family’ that wasn’t really like my family,” as a strange and difficult feeling sometimes.
Nevertheless, there were some great advantages of living in Europe as well. Vilela attributes Portugal’s high competitiveness and strong playing-style as a large motivation to improve his own skills. “It definitely helped me get better as a player and an individual,” he said.
When he’s not on the field, Vilela likes to spend time with friends, watch movies, and go out for dinner. He’s currently taking his Electrical Apprenticeship at GBC, full-time, whereupon completion he will receive his license.
While Vilela also got offers to play for Humber and Sheridan, the decision to play for the Huskies was an easy one. In addition to GBC’s proximity to his home, he says the team and coach were majors reasons for him choosing the Huskies.
“I went to one of the practices last year and I really liked the guys, I thought it was a good squad and everybody was very welcoming, so it just made my decision easier to go to George Brown College,” said Vilela.
Looking ahead, Vilela’s main goal is to obtain a pro contract, either overseas or in Ontario’s upcoming Canadian Premier League, starting next year.
One of Vilela’s defining moments in his sports career was winning the Golden Boot and MVP of the League in 2015 for the Oakville Blue Devils, after copping the League1 Ontario Championship.
When asked about the pressure he feels to perform on the field, Vilela responded saying, “I kind of like the pressure. It keeps teams aware of you and I feel like I play better under pressure.”
Unfortunately, Vilela injured his foot in a recent game against UTM on Wednesday Oct.3. With field conditions wet, Vilela attempted to cut back the ball when his left foot slid, resulting in the injury.
Despite this, he is confident he will be ready to play in the upcoming provincials slated for this month, and expects to be recovered within a couple weeks.
Vilela lives by the saying, “Never give up,” which motivates him in every game.