August 29, 2017
Victory Shumbusho lived a life few of us can imagine in the Ugandan village of Bwerenga. Within two weeks of moving to Canada, Glory went for a bike ride and spotted kids training on a beautiful emerald green field…
To read a feature on Victory Shumbusho from The Chilliwack Progress on Sept. 12, 2017 please CLICK HERE.
Originally posted on theprovince.com, August 22, 2017
Story by: J.J. Adams
What’s in a name? Well, the UBC Thunderbirds men’s soccer team is hoping that Victory Shumbusho comes as advertised.
T-Birds coach Mike Mosher is already sold, having initially seen the 5-8, 175-pound native of Goma, in the Democratic Republic Congo, in action as a Grade 11 player two years ago.
“We had him out at an evaluation camp about a year ago, and he just jumped off the page,” said Mosher, who’s entering his 19th season as coach at UBC.
“He just lit it up. He scored four goals in a scrimmage in our camp. My assistant coach David Hendry and I just looked at each other. We just hadn’t seen anything like that before, where a player came in and showed themselves to be above and beyond all the others.”
Shumbusho’s story is a similar one to many across Canada, and the Whitecaps especially. Like residency products Alphonso Davies and Gloire Amanda, Shumbusho, too, came to Canada as a refugee.
The war in Congo displaced Shumbusho and his family to the neighbouring country of Uganda. They spent several years at a bible school in Bwerenga, where his father was involved in the ministry.
His family — his father, stepmother and two brothers — applied to be refugees to Canada and they were selected by a church in Chilliwack to gain entry to Canada.
Shumbusho’s initial reaction to the Fraser Valley was, well, unsurprising. “It was really cold,” he laughed. “And it was hard to adapt to the change in culture. It was tougher for our parents than it was for us. We were young, so it was easier for us to adapt.”
Soccer being a universal constant was an immediate Rosetta stone for the young boys, who quickly found themselves in the Chilliwack FC program thanks to a family friend. Shumbusho, the middle brother, quickly found a fan in his coach, Kurt Thiessen, who got him an audition with the Caps’ residency team, but they wanted Shumbusho to get some more experience first in the High Performance League.
But being newly established in the country, money was short, and Shumbusho returned to Chilliwack FC, training with Thiessen. “He believed in me as a player, as a person, and really helped me a lot,” he said.
The HPL came calling again, as well, waiving the fees to get Shumbusho exposure against high-level competition. It was there that Mosher spotted him for the first time, and ushered him once again in the direction of the Whitecaps. Shumbusho spent his gap year with the Caps’ residency squad, though spent four months on the sidelines because of injury.
“He’s a talented young man. He’s certainly got an interesting story,” Mosher said of Shumbusho, who plays both striker and on the wing.
“He’s a hard-working guy, on and off the field, and I think he has a ton of potential to be a quality player for us.”
Victory Shumbusho in action for the Thunderbirds.
The T-Birds come into the season missing three first-team Canada West all-stars from last season, which saw them lose the conference title on penalty kicks to Alberta, then fall to the University of Quebec in extra time at the national tournament.
The roster upheaval is something Mosher always has to plan for, and finding players like Shumbusho helps the T-birds remain competitive each season.
“It’s probably about the third year in a row where we’ve had considerable turnover in players, and lost impact players from the previous season,” said Mosher, whose team opens the regular season on Friday against the University of Fraser Valley Cascades, then turns around to host the Trinity Western Spartans on Saturday. Both games are at 6:30 p.m. at Thunderbirds Stadium.
“Those are big holes to fill,” he continued. “Victory is one of several incoming first-year players we think can come in and take on some starting roles right from Day 1.”
Shumbusho felt some loyalty to Mosher for his efforts getting him into the Whitecaps’ program. When it came time to choose a school, and with several universities actively courting him, the 18-year-old committed to a coach and program that had showed him loyalty.
He brings pace and skill to the forward line, and his phenomenal work rate is a product of his upbringing. The hardship shaped him, but it’s also moulded him into the player — and person — he is today.
“(Growing up in the Congo) was hard work,” said the first-year Arts student, who has yet to decide on his eventual area of study.
“Every day, you have to put in the hard work to get food, to get clothing, just to live. So hard work has always been one of my attributes. There, nothing is given to you. You have to earn it. Life is tough there; you have to have the right attitude to survive.”
To link to the story on www.theprovince com CLICK HERE