Second chance nets Clan soccer star top honours
By Justin Wong
After suffering a near career-ending hip injury two weeks into his first collegiate season in South Carolina in 2011, Brandon Watson never expected a second chance to fulfill his dream of playing soccer in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Yet this month, after excelling on the SFU men’s soccer team in the NCAA for the past four seasons, he graduates with a B.Sc. in kinesiology, ranking among the top 10 students in the Faculty of Science. As well, he has won an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship—awarded to student athletes who excel both academically and athletically.
Following his injury, Watson left Coastal Carolina University and flew back home to Victoria B.C., where his doctor recommended hip surgery if Watson planned to pursue his dream of playing soccer.
Despite only a 50-percent chance of a successful surgical outcome, Watson agreed to the surgery. The decision paid dividends.
After two years off the pitch, and intensive rehabilitation, Watson landed a full scholarship to play in net for the SFU men’s soccer team—the only Canadian soccer team to compete in the NCAA program.
He went on to dominate the pitch for the SFU Clan, backstopping SFU to two Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular season championships in 2013 and 2016. And after serving as team captain in his final three seasons, he finished his collegiate career with 31 shutouts, placing him second all-time in shutouts for the Clan.
“Of course, I would like to play pro soccer in Major League Soccer, but I feel like I have done more than I had ever dreamed of, with the injuries that I’ve had,” he says.
As talented off the pitch as he is on it, Watson boasts a 4.15 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) out of a possible 4.33, and earned multiple accolades including NCAA Academic All-America Third Team Selection.
Having experienced multiple injuries, Watson says he has gained a greater appreciation for the human body. He’ll be using his NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in physical therapy so he can help other high-performance athletes.
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