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Haitian defender Stephane Guillaume returns to the pitch for the Strikers

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Stephane Guillaume spent the past 8 months without being able to do the one thing he loves the most, play soccer. Guillaume suffered a season ending injury last September 21st in a league game against the New York Cosmos.  The doctors diagnosed him with a torn MCL and ACL.  He would require surgery to repair his ACL, but in order to get the surgery, he would have to wait for his MCL to heal on its own.  

After about two months Guillaume went under the knife to get his ACL fixed. He quickly began his rehab and a long journey to get back on the pitch.

“Soccer players feel good when they’re on the field,” said Guillaume. “When they’re injured it’s tough.”

It was a tough road indeed, but Guillaume worked hard every day to get back on the pitch.

“Once the surgery was done, I started rehab right away, within one week,” he said. “It was extremely tough, at times. When I was doing my range of motions exercises I was crying like a baby. But every time I went to rehab I gave it everything I had, and after I left I felt good. I would tell myself ‘I did something good for the day.’”

Guillaume a former Haiti National Team player, was an important piece to last year’s defense, making 14 starts at right back before suffering the injury.

Throughout his time off Guillaume remained loyal to the team. He would still come to every practice, attend team functions, make community appearances, and as soon as he was able to, he started running with the team.

“It was tough, it’s been like seven and a half months now, so it feels good to get back on the field,” he added.

Even though it was a tough injury, Guillaume never relented. He was going to make sure he would be playing soccer again soon.

“After rehab I would put a lot of hard work in, even when nobody was watching me. I made sure I did my part by doing what I was in control of every day, without ever worrying about tomorrow nor about the outcome, because I know the outcome will take care of itself.  That’s what really kept me happy during that difficult time. I miss playing.”

While the doctors have given him clearance to play, Guillaume still has some work to do, both physically and mentally. Coming back from such an injury, athletes may be hesitant to make certain moves such as making a cut or tackling, for fear of re-injuring the knee. 

So far, Guillaume has played for about 20 minutes in two scrimmages during the Fall preseason, and looks forward to more playing time throughout the season.

 “Right now I feel comfortable, I feel good,” he said.  Now I just have to trust my knee more, but I feel pretty confident now. I feel good when I play, I don’t have fear of passing the ball. But I still have to work hard and get back to 100% healthy. I’m in good spirits of getting back at 100% soon.  Right now I feel like I want to start playing.”

 “I’m looking forward to see how soon I get back and start playing regularly, and get back to the starting 11, because that’s what I’m here for and I look forward to it.”

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