September 20, 2007

Vieira Leads by Experience

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Head coach Bryan Scales calls him the “engine room” for the team. But despite the fact that he’s always on the move, senior tri-captain Aaron Vieira somehow manages to be a source of stability for the men’s soccer team.
“He’s been a real rock for us in the midfield for four years now,” Scales said. “He played as a freshman, went through an extremely difficult situation his freshman year team-wise [when] we were 1-14-1. But he’s been consistently good each and every year. I would say Aaron is one of the nicest kids you’ll ever meet, but when he steps onto the soccer field, he has the warrior mentality, and our team really thrives on that.”
The midfielder from Brampton, Ont. has burned up Berman Field on a daily basis since his freshman year when he played in 13 games and started eight.
“He does so much of the physical labor, the grunt work in the middle of the midfield: winning tackles, winning headers. He’s separated his shoulder. He’s had concussions. He’s an absolute battler in there,” Scales said.
In fact, Vieira’s still a little sore from dislocating his shoulder over the summer, but he quickly shrugged it off.
“I tend to play a more physical style. Especially as a ball-winner you really got to be willing to put your body on the line a little bit.”
Only the team matters, and that hasn’t changed since the day he started playing for the Red.
“I always played center-midfield, but I played more of an offensive game [before coming to Cornell],” Vieira said. “Here I learned that where I would fit best in this team, where I’d help out most, is with that kind of defensive midfield controlling role … being able to distribute the ball comfortably. … [But] with our offense this year, it allows me to go forward a little more. It’s nice to get a little offense in, more fun than defense.”
At Cornell, Vieira’s offensive skills have appeared in bursts. His first and only goal to date was the game-winner in the last match of the 2006 season — a double overtime endurance trial against Dartmouth.
“We really started to round into form the last five or six games, and it was nice to finish [the season] on a high point like that,” he said. “I think it was important to keep it going for this year, to finish the season strong.”
As a captain this year, Vieira leads by example. He hopes his work ethic and appreciation for the game rubs off on the younger guys.
“He certainly will be vocal when he needs to be,” Scales said, “but if the other players on the team and the people in the stands can’t see what he does on a daily basis, whether it’s on the training field or in a match, then they’re not watching the game.”
Somebody noticed. Vieira was named to the All-Tournament team at the Kentucky Nike Classic a few weeks ago. He hadn’t scored or recorded any assists, but his contributions were clear.
“It’s tough to describe,” Scales said. “[Vieira] covers a lot of ground. He can play for 120 minutes. He’s just one of those guys that gets it done, box to box, touch line to touch line.”