SOUTH SURREY – Kyle Sohi’s perseverance and performance in the 2014 Sport Chek National Club Championships U-18 Cup Final might go down in history next to England’s Terry Butcher.
Even though his jersey wasn’t painted in blood stains, the Surrey United skipper was limited to using his non-dominant foot for the entire match and managed to score a goal and set up the other two. Surrey United beat Ontario’s Ajax Soccer Club 3-0 in last Monday’s (Oct. 13) final at South Surrey Athletic Park.
In the team’s third match against Manitoba’s Bonivital Soccer Club, Sohi overextended his right knee sending a volleyed pass to a teammate.
An appointment with a physiotherapist revealed he had a pinched meniscus and they recommended he rested for the remainder of the weekend.
Despite the physiotherapist telling him his weekend was "basically over," he did the same thing as Butcher by taping up the injury and played through the pain.
"I’m still not 100 per cent healthy. I’m still going to physio.
"Even in the final, I wasn’t close to 100 per cent. I didn’t even touch the ball with my right foot at all. I (played) the whole game with my left," Sohi said.
Sohi, who is attending and playing for UBC, wasn’t going to miss another national final.
When this team represented the province at the under-16 national championship two years ago, the midfielder/striker wasn’t able to compete in the final because he tore his medial collateral ligament.
Knowing the emotional and physical pain of missing such an important match, the North Delta Secondary graduate said he wasn’t going to do that again.
"I felt like I could play. If I didn’t, I’d be letting my teammates down," said Sohi.
He finished the tournament as jointleading goal scorer with five goals in four games.
Jeff Clarke, Sohi’s coach and Surrey United technical director, was extremely impressed with Sohi’s ability to play through the pain.
"In relative terms, (it) is one of the more excruciating knee pains you get," Clarke said.
"He wasn’t going to play on Monday. It wasn’t until the warm up that he thought, ‘I can play through this.’"
The coach said when the skipper stepped onto the pitch, it lifted the spirits of his teammates and they knew they would have to equal his level of dedication.
"He went out there literally on one leg and we won 3-0 and he scored a goal and got two assists. It was one of the most heroic things you’ll see, especially in youth amateur sport," said Clarke.
"It’s one of the most symbolic signs of leadership," he added.
On top of dealing with a painful injury and one of the biggest games of his young career, the UBC science student-athlete was also studying for midterm exams the week
of the tournament.
"The young kids in Surrey need leaders.
They need role models. (Sohi) is definitely that," the coach said. "He’s a 4.0 student. He was in the hotel studying until midnight."
The freshman has come on as a substitute in eight of the Thunderbird’s 14 matches scoring one goal.
Sohi has quite the resume for the sport he loves including being part of three provincial club championship teams (U-14, U-16 and U-18), the Whitecaps Prospects U-12 team, training with the provincial team and playing for the Thunderbirds.