SOUTH SURREY â€“ Kyle Sohiâ€™s perseverance and performance in the 2014 Sport Chek National Club Championships U-18 Cup Final might go down in history next to Englandâ€™s Terry Butcher.
Even though his jersey wasnâ€™t painted in blood stains, the Surrey United skipper was limited to using his weaker foot for the entire match and managed to score a goal and set up the other two. Surrey United beat Ontarioâ€™s Ajax Soccer Club 3-0 in last Mondayâ€™s (Oct. 13) final at South Surrey Athletic Park.
In the teamâ€™s third match against Manitobaâ€™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 knee injury and they recommended he rest for the remainder of the weekend.
Despite the physiotherapist telling him his weekend was â€œbasically over,â€ he did the same thing as Butcher by taping up the injury and playing through the pain.
â€œIâ€™m still not 100 per cent healthy. Iâ€™m still going to physio.
â€œEven in the final, I wasnâ€™t close to 100 per cent. I didnâ€™t even touch the ball with my right foot at all. I (played) the whole game with my left,â€ Sohi said.
Sohi, who is attending and playing for UBC, wasnâ€™t going to miss another national championship final.
When the team represented the province at the under-16 national championship two years ago, the midfielder/striker wasnâ€™t able to compete in the final because he tore his medial collateral ligament in his knee.
Knowing the emotional and physical pain of missing such an important match, the North Delta Secondary graduate said he wasnâ€™t going to do that again.
â€œI felt like I could play. If I didnâ€™t, Iâ€™d be letting my teammates down,â€ said Sohi.
He finished the tournament as joint-leading goal scorer with five goals in four games.
Jeff Clarke, Sohiâ€™s coach and Surrey United technical director, was extremely impressed with Sohiâ€™s ability to play through the pain.
â€œIn relative terms, (it) is one of the more excruciating knee pains you get,â€ Clarke said. â€œHe wasnâ€™t going to play on Monday. It wasnâ€™t until the warm up that he thought, â€˜I can play through this.â€™â€
The coach said when the skipper stepped onto the pitch, it lifted the spirits of his teammates and they knew they would have to match his level of dedication.
â€œHe 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 youâ€™ll see, especially in youth amateur sport,â€ said Clarke.
â€œItâ€™s one of the most symbolic signs of leadership,â€ 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.
â€œThe young kids in Surrey need leaders. They need role models. (Sohi) is definitely that,â€ the coach said. â€œHeâ€™s a 4.0 student. He was in the hotel studying until midnight.â€
The freshman has come on as a substitute in eight of the Thunderbirdâ€™s 14 matches. He has scored one goal in those appearances.
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), being part of the Whitecaps Prospects U-12 team, training with the provincial team until U-16 and being part of the UBC team.
The Thunderbirdsâ€™ menâ€™s varsity soccer team is set to host the Canada West quarter-final match on Friday (Oct. 24) evening against UBC Okanagan Heat. Kick off is at 7 p.m. at Thunderbird Stadium.