You only need to talk with Spartan center-back Paul Hamilton for a few minutes before it becomes clear that his love for soccer borders on obsession. From being a self-professed FIFA video game aficionado to citing the title of his not-yet-existent biography as The Life of Soccer, this Spartan has good reason to love this game so much as it has been one that has taken him on a journey of growth and discovery from sea to shining sea.
While he has played on the coast of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Paul's journey on the soccer pitch began in Calgary, where he says that, "From a young age I was completely in love with soccer. My parents are English and so it was only natural that when I was four or five they had me out playing soccer."
Fueled by dreams of one day following in the footsteps of Irish soccer great George Best and English soccer great Paul Gascoigne, he played through the youth, high school, club and men's leagues in Calgary. Celebrating consistent successes, Paul's big break came when he led his club team, the Calgary Foothills Irish, to a U-18 Provincial Championship and a silver medal at the National Championships.
With these wins under his belt, Paul finished high school as a highly sought after recruit. He began his university soccer career at the University of Cape Breton in the small town of Sydney, Nova Scotia. "Growing up in Calgary and then moving out East was a big transition from the city life I was used to. Sydney is a small town and Cape Breton is a small university," Paul says of life on the East Coast. "The university was also quite far away from the town so the only thing for us to do was to play soccer." And play soccer he did. In his rookie season Paul helped his team to capture an AUS championship and was recognized as the AUS Rookie of the Year and as an AUS 2nd Team All-Star.
Wanting to move closer to home, Paul arrived at TWU last year as an already decorated athlete and as a capable leader. He made a swift, seamless transition into life on the West Coast, becoming a regular starter and major contributor on the Spartan squad playing 1,676 minutes in his first season, which is the second best in TWU history for minutes played in a single season. Paul's level of play and commitment to the game was not only noticed by the Spartans but resonated throughout the CIS as he was recognized as a Canada West First Team All-Star and as a CIS 2nd Team All-Canadian.
The impact that Paul has on those around him on either side of the country has not been limited to the CIS soccer pitches he sets foot on each weekend. As an aspiring physical education teacher and soccer coach, Paul is the first to recognize the position of influence top university athletes can have on the next generation of players, "This summer I coached for the club I grew up playing for, Calgary Foothills Irish. It is really great to give back to the community and to coach little kids," Paul says. "I wanted to be a role model to these kids and I wanted to pass on all that I had learned. There are kids that come to our games all the time and they look up to us, not only as CIS level soccer players but also as people. We as student-athletes are role models and have a responsibility to show these kids that they can achieve goals and we have a responsibility to carry ourselves well off the pitch as well because they see that too.
Coach Alderson had this to say about Paul: "On the field Paul is, in many people's opinion, the best defender in the CIS. It's simply because he's a low-maintenance player - he is solid, he takes care of business, he gives us no hassles in no particular regard. Because of this, he is emerging as a leader on our team even though he is still young. He knows that a good leader must first be able to lead themselves and he does that consistently in every part of his life. He also recognizes that many people made sacrifices so that he would be able to learn and grow as a player so now he is giving back to the community by volunteering his time as a coach in Calgary."
Last Updated: 2008-10-14