U Sports Soccer: UBC lose and say goodbye to their seniors

York University Lions 1-0 University of British Columbia Thunderbirds

If nobody hears a tree fall in the forest, did it even make a sound? That is an age-old question that many still wonder.

So when a fifth-place match happens and nobody is there to watch it, does it matter?

It may not matter to many of the general population or even matter greatly to the handful of spectators who see it, but for the athletes; especially those who are playing their last game, it means the world. Yes, it does happen and people do see it.

The UBC Thunderbirds saw four of their stellar veteran athletes reach the end of their U Sports careers on Saturday in front of a scattered crowd at the University of Montreal. Sean Einarsson, Kerman Pannu, Manraj Baines, and Jason Roberts were all pulling on the UBC jersey for the last time, and they all started for the Thunderbirds in the fifth-place match.

It’s been a journey through university for these four players. Together they were able to hoist the Canada West trophy four times, but the national championship will remain forever elusive.

The Vancouver soccer community keeps a good eye on the thunderbirds, even if they may not attend their games. These players realize that and know the effect they can have on grassroots soccer in the community. So as their UBC careers come to an end, the Thunderbirds say goodbye to some fine young fantastic soccer players, and more importantly young men; who will go on to effect positive change to those around them.

Despite valiant efforts, the last timers were unable to get a final victory, losing 1-0 to the Lions; finishing the tournament in sixth.

Following the final whistle of his U Sports career, Thunderbirds defender Manraj Bains spoke to 49 to discuss some of the emotions he is going through as his college career comes to a close.

Bains (middle) and other Surrey United teammates on their UBC signing day in 2015 (Independent Sports News)

“It’s sad, I’ll miss thee guys. At this point, I’ve been thinking about it a lot, so I’ve kinda made my peace with it” said the defender from Surrey, BC. Although he never made a big impact on the scoresheet, only netting three goals through his five years; the stability he has provided on the defensive side has been key to the Thunderbird’s Canada West success.

Being a T-Bird for five years, Bains has seen many very good players hit the field at Thunderbird Stadium. For him, one sticks out above the rest. “Best player? Thomas Garnder. He’s so quick, skilled and just fun to play with.” said Bains. He’s not the only one praising Gardner, as the second-year midfielder has impressed everyone who has had a glimpse of the T-Birds.

Bains, as well as his other three departing teammates, will be very missed from UBC when the ball hits the field next season. Although their departure does open space for new skilled players to take the reigns of the Vancouver school and begin their own pursuit of bringing UBC a national championship.

Not many people may have witnessed the last game of this generation of players, but for the few who did and the players themselves, this will be a day that will stand out in their memories for years to come.

Cover photo: Courtesy of The Ubyseey

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