Gerardo Magno is the latest Humber athlete to be featured in our Athletic Profile series. He is in his fifth year on the Humber Hawks men’s soccer team.

Two opponent players trying to steal the soccer ball from two Humber players

Gerardo, an Early Childhood Studies student, plays central-midfield for the Hawks and is a four-time CCAA National Champion. He was nice enough to sit down with IGNITE and talk about soccer and his experiences as a student-athlete.

When did you start playing soccer?

I started playing for fun when I was about 4 years old. I started playing competitively when I was 10; but my interest and work ethic really came into form when I came to Humber.

What’s the difference between post-secondary and highschool competition?

[In post-secondary] it’s definitely more competitive and organized. Humber Athletics does a really good job in making the athlete feel valued and making you feel important. There’s a lot more preparation that goes into it.

Humber player #13 kicks soccer ball on field

What has helped you the most at Humber: the coaching, the facilities, or the camaraderie with your teammates?

All of those things played a big role in helping me. Humber Athletics is a big family, and people come out to watch your games and that feels amazing. Humber provides a lot for their athletes, they care about their athletes, the coaching staff is amazing as well. The Humber physical therapy team doesn’t get as much credit as they deserve, they do so much for us to keep us healthy and happy. I’m a five-year athlete so I have been around a while, and I have so much respect for Humber Athletics and everything they do here.

What goals do you have for the future?

I don’t think my playing career will last much longer after graduating, but I’d like to stay around the sport as a coach. I’ve already been coaching for a while and I enjoy it a lot. I want to continue to learn more about the sport and give back to my community and those who have helped me.

Four soccer players racing for the ball on field

Advice to younger athletes?

Work hard, on and off the field. Work on your technique, work on your footwork. If i had to give some advice to a younger athlete coming to Humber I would say take advantage of all the resources they have here. Try your best to win Humber a championship!

How do you find a balance between sports and school?

It’s difficult, not only are you balancing being a student and an athlete, but you also have to balance life outside of Humber. The most important thing is time management and prioritizing things. It takes a lot to fulfill the demands of practicing, training, and competing in games, but all that is fine if you stay on top of your academic life. If you are on an away trip, you have to take advantage of your down time to get your school work done. I use an agenda and go to every class, so that I can experience the privilege of being a Humber Hawk.

Highlight of your career at Humber?

Winning Nationals is always amazing. I’ve been fortunate to win 4 National Championships in my 5 years here and they’re each special in their own way. Just being able to say that after 5 years I feel like it was worth it. Being able to graduate with an education and experience so much success has been truly amazing.

Humber team wins the 2016 Men's Soccer National Champions at the CCAAs

What’s your pregame ritual?

I try to relax, get a good sleep, and drink a lot of tea. As for music I just leave it up to whatever the other guys are playing on the speakers in the locker room.

Favourite soccer players?

My background is from Uruguay, so i’m very passionate about the national team, I’m a big supporter of Luis Suarez, I think he’s a great player. I like to follow midfielders who fall under the radar but still impact the game greatly like Sergio Busquets and Luka Modric.

It’s been a good soccer season and now it’s time for the players to relax.

Starting to feel exam stress? Check out the IGNITE Student LifeLine and speak to a qualified professional who can help take off some of the pressure! Also keep an eye out for IGNITE’s Health & Wellness activities in the new year!

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*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

*All photos provided by Gerardo Magno