BREMERTON, WA— (club release) Today the Kitsap Pumas, who compete in the Premier Development League (PDL)-a highly regarded tier of the United Soccer League (USL), announced their signing of Brazilian goalkeeper Guilherme “Gee” Avelar.
Avelar, who was born in São Paulo, Brazil, grew up playing for some of the top professional youth programs in his home country including Guarani FC, São Bernardo FC and even Santos FC, which has produced legendary players such as Pele and Neymar.
“Growing up playing soccer in Brazil was an awesome experience that I feel so blessed to have had” Avelar recalled. “Not many other countries can match the passion and love Brazilians have for the game and growing up in that environment really sparked my love for soccer.”
From an early age Avelar realized the powerful influence soccer can have upon one’s life.
“I still remember when my team won our first tournament when I was about ten years old” Avelar said. “We ended up winning in penalty kicks and after I made the winning save and had the entire team run towards me in celebration I knew that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Nothing else can quite match that feeling.”
However, after playing numerous years in the Brazilian youth system, Avelar found himself wanting to pursue soccer in a different environment. Thus, he elected to come to the United States to play at Peninsula Community College (PC) under former Kitsap Puma’s head coach Andrew Chapman.
“I always wanted to keep playing soccer at the highest level I could and continue getting a good education” Avelar said. “So when the opportunity opened up to attend and play for Peninsula I took the chance.”
Peninsula has quickly become one of the top community college soccer programs in the entire United States by winning three national championships in the last five years alone and Avelar didn’t waste any time contributing to their success.
While at PC Avelar helped lead the Pirates to another national championship in 2012. His outstanding play in goal throughout the year earned him national recognition in the form of being named the top goalkeeper of the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC), to the NWAC all-academic team and to the west region all-star team.
After his impressive stint at PC, Avelar elected to transfer to Winthrop University, a highly respected Division one program located in Rockhill, South Carolina.
While at Winthrop, Avelar posted a remarkable 1.26 career goals against average and a 14-6-2 career record. In addition he was named Big South Conference defensive player of the week four times in his career and in 2013 was the first player in his college’s history to receive this honor three times in one season.
Like many other collegiate soccer players, Avelar found he was unsatisfied with the prospect of concluding his soccer career right after college and thus elected to pursue another opportunity to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a professional player.
“When I first came to Washington in 2011 I stayed with Coach Chapman at his house before heading up to Peninsula” said Avelar. “While I was there I got to watch the Pumas win the national title that year and I was very impressed with the level of their play. From that moment I knew Kitsap would be a great opportunity to pursue after I finished my education.”
Although it’s been a few years since Avelar watched the Pumas play, he still has the same eagerness to be a part of their organization and contribute to their future success.
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“I’m a real hard worker in practice and I make sure to bring my best everyday” said Avelar. “Whatever role I play this year, I will do everything I can to improve myself and my team. I like to communicate with my players, feel comfortable with the ball at my feet and try to give my defenders the confidence in me and information they need to be successful.”
Head Coach Cameron MacDonald is also very excited to add another talented and experienced player to his roster.
“I’ve kept track of Gee’s progress over the past couple of years and it’s exciting to see how well he is doing. Chappy [Andrew Chapman] is big on him too and when he was in town over winter I had him come out to a couple of sessions and it was clear to see he’ll be a quality addition to the squad”.
Although this is an exciting signing for the Puma’s organization, who likes to year in and year out showcase top talent from around the world, Avelar is even more excited to finally be a member of this club.
“What I’m most excited about is finally accomplishing one of my long-term goals, which was to be signed by this organization and be given this opportunity to take the next step in my career” said Avelar. “I already watched Kitsap win [a national title] once and now I get my chance to play a part in winning one of our own.”