Cascades Q&A is a weekly feature where we fire a series of random questions at a UFV athlete. Some of the questions are serious, others not so much. In the crosshairs this week is Michael Mobilio of the UFV men’s soccer team.
Q: You scored your first goal of the season last Saturday in a 3-0 win over the UVic Vikes. I was intrigued by your celebration – you stayed on the ground for 10 or 15 seconds, flat on your back with your hands over your face, and your teammates had to physically pick you up. Was that relief? What was going through your mind?
A: “It was the way the whole play developed. It was a long ball from Dan (Davidson), and then I chased after it hoping I was going to get it. I worked my butt off and I won it, and then somehow, I went to pass it to Elijah, but it bounced in (off a defender) and got me a goal. We have a running joke that I’m never going to score, so when I scored I was relieved. I just put my hands over my head and didn’t know how else to react. And then the boys came and tried to pick me up. It was funny – we were joking about it after. But it’s good. It’s good to get the three points.”
Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes tells me that you have a nickname: Snake. And I’d noticed on social media, whenever I post a picture of you on the Cascades Instagram account for instance, someone usually responds with a snake emoji. What’s the story behind that nickname?
“It was back in my first year. We do this little circle drill before every practice where we have two guys in the circle and everyone else around them playing keep-away with the ball. I was on the outside of the circle, and I ‘stitched’ someone – instead of making a nice pass, I gave them a bad pass that they couldn’t handle so they’d have to go in the middle. And Ryan Liddiard, who graduated a couple years ago, said, ‘You’re a snake, how did you do that?’ And it just caught on. Now every time I do anything, they refer to me as Snake or they do that sound – Ssssssssss! I’ve got to own it now, there’s not much I can do. It’s stuck. It’s actually been funny, it’s been enjoyable.”
That’s fantastic. I understand you’re related to the late Domenic Mobilio, a Canadian soccer legend (Michael’s father and Domenic are first cousins). What did he mean to you, and what’s it like having a famous Canadian soccer surname?
“He was really important. He was always around when we were younger, always looking to give (soccer) tips, always coaching. He was always a good time – one of the best guys we had. He was awesome.
“He’s been a massive inspiration – he’s one of the reasons I wear No. 10, why I really wanted it this year, to honour him in a way. He had such an impact in all of our lives, and especially my life.
“Playing under his name is tough, because he was such a star in Canadian soccer. I know I’ll never be a player like him, but it’s an honour to wear his number and to remember him in any aspect I can. I just try to go out there and give as much hard work as I can, and be half the player he was when he was around.”
So this is your first year wearing No. 10?
This is my first year wearing No. 10 at UFV, yeah. Mason Thompson had it, but he didn’t come back this year, so I asked Tom and thankfully he did it for me. It’s a big thing in my family – my sister (former TWU Spartans midfielder Melissa Mobilio) wore it throughout her university career, and now getting to wear it is a pretty special thing for me. It’s cool. It’s just a little way to honour him, and remember him as much as we can.”
You’re from Coquitlam. What’s something about your hometown that you absolutely love that you can’t get in Abbotsford or this part of the Fraser Valley?
“You know what, the biggest thing is the air. We joke about it all the time at practice. The communities themselves are pretty similar, but out here you’ve got that special manure smell! It’s something we’ve gotten used to now, but in Coquitlam, you don’t smell that. So that’s something that both me and Alex (Skrzeta, Cascades keeper), because we’re both from Coquitlam, love and cherish at home!”
Tell me a little bit about your squad. Who’s got the worst fashion sense on this Cascades men’s soccer team?
“That’s a tough one – we’ve got some guys who really like to dress up. I’d say the worst fashion sense on our team has to be (rookie keeper) Jesse March. You see that guy coming into the changeroom with a hat, unmatched shoes and some weird hoodies. But other than that, we’re actually a good, well-dressed team. You’ve got Justin (Sekhon) and Gurmaan (Jhaj), who are always wearing suits because they work at the bank. And Elijah (Sampson) is always looking nice and spiffy. We’ve got a good-looking team.”
Let’s talk cinema. What’s the best soccer movie of all time?
“Tom (Lowndes) would want to say Bend it Like Beckham, but I’m not saying that! Best soccer movie? I really enjoyed the Goal! series of movies – it follows the story of Santiago Muñez, a player from Mexico who ends up making Real Madrid. I liked that. And the Jay Demerit Story is a good one – it’s a documentary about his life.”
Mobilio and the Cascades (4-5-1) are back in action this weekend with a huge home-and-home series with their local rivals, the Trinity Western Spartans. The two teams clash in Langley on Friday (7:15 p.m. start) and in Abbotsford on Sunday (6 p.m., MRC Sports Complex).