Name: Diego Padilha
University: University of New Brunswick
Hometown: Maceio, Brazil
Sport: Men’s Soccer
Academic program: Engineering
Year of eligibility: Third
Diego Padilha earned 2013 AUS rookie of the year honours in his inaugural season with the Varsity Reds and was also named to the first team all-star squad. He was named an AUS first team all-star again in 2014.
Diego Padilha’s Career Stats Summary:
As a 23 year old from Maceio, Brazil, Diego Padilha saw coming to Canada as a great opportunity to pursue his two dreams: playing soccer and studying to become an engineer.
Although his journey began as a struggle, Padilha was welcomed into the Varsity Reds family with open arms. “Since I could not speak English, and it was my first time being abroad, the beginning of this journey was very difficult. If I did not have the support from my family, friends, and UNB soccer program, I do not think I would have been able to achieve what I have so far.”
With the strong language barrier, Padilha had to focus his first year on strengthening his English. Unable to play soccer or start his engineering program until passing the English test, Padilha says the UNB Varsity Reds family stuck by his side. “My coach and all [the] UNB Varsity Reds family were very supportive and stayed by my side until the end, making me stronger.”
In his third season with the Varsity Reds, Padilha is confident in their current roster and has high expectations for this season. “I can’t wait to work harder and harder every day, to have a great season this year and hopefully win CIS with the support of my great team.”
Getting to know Diego Padilha:
Q: Why did you choose UNB?
A: I came to Canada in 2012, after being invited by my coach, Miles Pinsent. UNB has an excellent reputation for both its soccer and engineering programs. My family and I thought this would be a great chance for me to pursue my dreams of playing soccer and studying to become an engineer.
Q: Do you have an early memory of playing soccer?
A: As a Brazilian boy, I grew up following soccer with my father (a big soccer fan). When I was seven years old, I started playing in a soccer academy in my city, and kept playing until now.
Q: What is your most memorable moment from playing with the Varsity Reds?
A: My most memorable moment playing for UNB was in my first year when we got the bronze medal. Even though I could not play CIS because of an injury, the fact that we won AUS, then captured the bronze medal at nationals were both really good accomplishments for me.
Q: Who did you play for growing up?
A: I started playing for CRB in Brazil, which is a team from my home city. I then moved to Corinthians Alagoano, and then Sport - Recife, in which I played the highest soccer level in Brazil. I played with players who are playing professionally right now, such as Roberto Firmino who plays for Liverpool and the Brazilian national team.
Q: Do you have any superstitions or rituals?
A: Before every game, I have a ritual of always stepping onto the field with my right foot first, and I have to make the sign of the cross, since I am very religious.
Q: Who is your favourite professional team?
A: My favourite professional team is called Botafogo, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I am a guy who is really attached to my family, and whenever I have free time I like to Skype them. I also like to visit new places and meet people with different cultures, and definitely follow the Brazilian soccer online.
Q: If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
A: If I could have dinner with anyone it would be Ronaldinho, the Brazilian soccer player who was the best player ever in my opinion. I would love to chat with him about soccer and get some advice from him.
Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
A: If I could have superpower I would love to be able to fly, so that I could go wherever, whenever I wanted.
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Candy or chips? Candy
Summer or winter? Summer – 100 per cent!
Friends or Seinfeld? Seinfeld
Pop or Country? Pop
Favourite movie? Interstellar
Source: Jenna Wills, AUS Communications