Notre-Dame-de-Grâce’s Lester Gariba will be attending the famous the University of Las Vegas on a soccer scholarship after participating in the Ribeiro Moojen Combines.
“Getting a scholarship meant the world to me,” said Gariba.”The fact that I was going to be playing the thing I love the most in the world made me extremely happy. It was also another opportunity for me to make my family proud. It means a lot to me.”
The 21-year-old is a right footed center back. Although he grew up playing soccer in the park with his friends, Gariba only started playing competitively when he was 14-years-old. He played for Outremont for five years and was able to improve quickly and dramatically in a short amount of time.
“It was a great learning curve for me, it’s one of the best clubs in the province of Quebec, said Gariba. “Thanks to the coaches that I had and the players that I played with, I was able to get better at every practice and every game.”
Before his time with Outremont, he also spent a couple years playing for NDG and indoor soccer (futsal) for his high school team.
As a player, Gariba tends to be very aggressive on the ball. When the opposition has the ball his focus is to quickly limit time and space.
“I would like to improve my aerial passes on a long range. I very often make mid-range passes on the ground. If I am able to play the ball a little further, I feel like I can be an even better player,” said Gariba.
Leaving home for the first time can be difficult for the first time and it was an adjustment for Gariba at first. He’s been in Las Vegas for two months now and is starting to get settled in.
“I was nervous about leaving home because I was going to live without my parents in another country where I do not know anybody,” said Gariba. “It’s been more than two months that I’ve been here and I feel much more comfortable now.”
His future goals are lofty but Gariba is showing much promise. His dream is to play soccer for a living and playing for a divison-1 school is a gigantic step in that direction.
“Getting my degree is also very important, because after soccer I have to have a plan for my life,” said Gariba.