Bruno Chan on transitioning from Queen’s basketball to soccer

Gael’s new striker talks to ‘The Journal’ about forging a new path in his varsity career

Bruno Chan on the pitch.
Supplied by Queen's Athletics and Recreation

This past summer, Bruno Chan, ArtSci ’22, made a decision that would redirect his entire career in sports at Queen’s—trying out for the soccer team.

Formerly a member of the Men’s Basketball team, Chan’s decision ultimately paid off. He was given a spot on the Men’s Soccer Team’s roster for the 2021 season. To learn about his incredible switch from the court to the pitch, The Journal conducted a brief interview with him to hear more.

Chan was first introduced to basketball after moving to Canada from Brazil for high school.

“I was 14 when I started playing organized basketball… [I] wasn’t very good,” he said.

From there, he worked hard to acquire all skills necessary to catch up to those who’d been playing for years.

By the end of his tenure as a secondary school student, his hard work paid off. After a recruiting weekend here at Queen’s in the Spring of 2018, he was offered a spot on the team.

During his first two years of undergrad, Bruno played as a guard for the Queen’s varsity basketball team.

When COVID-19 struck Queen’s in early 2020, and varsity sports for the 2020-21 school year were subsequently suspended, Chan decided to take the year off and put his focus elsewhere: soccer.

Raised in Brazil—a country whose national sport is none other than soccer—Bruno is no stranger to kicking the ball around.

“As a kid, I was always running around and kicking a ball, even in [our] apartment.”

When asked why he didn’t pursue collegiate soccer instead, Chan mentioned it wasn’t a matter of passion, rather a lack of opportunities for exposure.

“I never played for a club and no one filmed games [so] it was difficult to get videotape [to send to recruiters]. But I was always curious if I would make the team,” he said.

This curiosity came back this year. Over the summer, Bruno decided to start tagging along to varsity soccer practices with other players. Finally, in late August, Chan officially went and tried and out for the roster.

After not playing organized soccer for nearly three years, Chan made the team. Thankfully, he said, the transition hasn’t been too difficult, either.

“It’s all coming back over time. The other players are very welcoming and the coaches are super helpful and know a lot,” he explained.

Although Chan has swapped to a drastically different sport from basketball, he said there are still some similarities he’s noticed.

“The games are similar when it comes to reading the field […] it’s all about knowing strategy, plays, and where the other players are going.” 

Reflecting on his time as a basketball player at Queen’s, Chan said it was an unforgettable experience that enabled him to learn new things constantly.

“I thought I knew a lot about basketball, but that was not the case […] [Head Coach Stephan Barrie] and all the other coaches know so much about the game […] and even shared important life lessons,” he said.  

Evidently, Chan formed numerous strong bonds with those involved with Queen’s basketball and expressed that he’ll miss them when he’s playing on the pitch this year.

Although Chan doesn’t see himself returning to competitive basketball again, he’s nonetheless proud of what he did in his time on the court.

With it being early in the Soccer season, Chan said he’s excited to see what the rest of this year’s season holds. 

“Some of the players have said that this team is one of the most talented they’ve been on, [so I think] we have a good chance at having a very successful season.”

Speaking on the dynamics of the soccer team, Chan said everyone on the squad has been very communicative and helpful toward making it a smooth transition for him.

“The coaches and other players are extremely helpful whenever I have questions, concerns, or doubts,” he explained.

Chan specifically thanked Head Coach Christian Hoefler and the rest of the coaching staff for working with him closely over the summer and giving him the best chance at making the team.

To close out the interview, Bruno stated his wider perspective on being a part of Queen’s varsity athletics.

“[I try to] just enjoy the moment, enjoy every second, because it goes by so quick.”


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