To his friends, Shawn Faizi is known as the funny guy with the wacky hair, who’s always late. Out on the soccer pitch, as a left back, Faizi is considered one of the hardest working players. “Keep running, keep running, keep running!” Faizi remembers his former UTM coach always telling him, pushing him to leave it all out on the pitch. To be the guy with most energy. To be the guy putting in the most work, so his teammates wouldn’t have to. Now in his final year at UTM, Faizi spent the last three years on UTM’s men’s varsity soccer team doing just that.

Shawn Faizi is a fifth-year student at UTM, in his third year playing for UTM. He will graduate from UTM having completed a major in Psychology and a double minor in both Biology and Sociology. Faizi is particularity fond of biology because of his love of anatomy.

“Soccer isn’t big in my family. My family, even my cousins born here, don’t like soccer. I’m the only that’s into it, that plays,” says Faizi, who was first introduced to the game at 7-years-old. The sport was just one of the many physical activities his parents, recent immigrants from Afghanistan, found affordable enough to sign him up for. Growing up in his hometown, the city of Scarborough, Faizi did swimming, baseball, basketball, and would have played hockey if it hadn’t been too expensive. “I was actually pretty good at basketball. But apparently, I didn’t like it,” he jokes.

Faizi echoes the many UTM athletes who are proud of how far the athletic program has come since its first year in the OCAA in 2015. Now, in its fourth year of competition, UTM’s varsity men’s soccer team has come a long way, advancing to their first OCAA Provincials in October. They finished sixth in the province, but Faizi believes there’s been major strides made in UTM’s competitiveness within their league, and that young players like Jamari Whyte and Zimba Galloway, are leading the way towards a successful future.

However, strides in athletic presence isn’t the only improvement. The varsity soccer program started when Faizi was in his second year, but he didn’t know about it. Though late to the party, he’s incredibly glad to be a part of the family. “When I see Humber and some of these elite schools, the way they do their games and their rituals, you can see there’s a strong bond. I can see the same thing starting to happen within UTM athletics.” Faizi sees this bond growing as UTM continues to develop their already thriving athletic reputation.

“It was Coach Rick who really taught me how to work hard. And I just try to continue doing that whenever I go out onto the field,” Faizi says. “I’ve learned a lot during my time here at UTM. Being a part of this team, and UTM athletics, has taught me how to communicate better, meet new people, build relationships and connections. And also, time management. I’m always late, but I think I’m a lot better with it now.”

It’s clear Faizi’s love for working hard doesn’t stop on the soccer pitch. It extends to his involvement within UTM’s athletic community, his academics and future plans as well. Faizi serves as a UTM Intramurals Soccer official and also volunteers as part of UTM’s Athletic Council as part of their promo team. And next summer, Faizi leaves Scarborough to start a five-year Dentistry program in Spain. But until then, Shawn wants to try his hand at coaching, to instill the same principles and work ethic his coaches and idols inspired in him into the developing players on UTM’s men’s d-league soccer team.