Reflecting on their on-and-off field relationship and success as teammates
Luka Vasic // Contributor
While Nicolas and Daniel Morello have spent nearly their entire lives together, playing for the Capilano University Blues Soccer team is the first time they’ve ever been teammates. “We’ve never played together. I’m two years older so he’s always been on the younger team,” said Nicolas. “We kind of did our own thing, I’d do my club, he would do his. That age gap wasn’t close enough to play together,” younger brother Daniel added.
The two brothers now find themselves as two of the veteran leaders on the Blues men’s soccer team. Though they never played on a club or school team together before, they’ve built an on-pitch chemistry over the years, growing up practicing in the backyard. “We live together, we know how each other plays, I’ve watched him play so much, and he’s watched me play so much, I know what he’s going to do,” said Daniel.
So far, being teammates for the first time has treated the brothers well, however it came with a price. “Sometimes it’s annoying. I’m probably harder on him than anybody else,” Nicolas admitted with a laugh. “I’ll say what’s on my mind to him and he won’t like it at all.” Daniel responded, “When he gets pissed off at me I want to play harder and better so I don’t have to hear it from him. That’s because he’s older too, I feel like when I say something to him, it doesn’t affect him, whereas myself I need to be better.”
Living together, the siblings off-field frustrations sometimes follow them onto the pitch. “Not in games, maybe in practices. If we’re choked at each-other, maybe I’ll give him a nice little tackle,” Nicolas joked. “It’s a lot of talking. Playing wise we’re ok, but we’ll give a run at each other if were pissed off,” Daniel added.
In the end, the brothers’ on- and off-field trash talking is to be taken as constructive criticism. Daniel is quick to assure that it’s all for the better. “Playing with him, I know I can trust him more than anyone else on the team. I know if he’s got the ball, he’s not going to make a mistake.” On car rides home from games, they will often discuss their individual and team performances, and how to improve.
While the brothers look out for each other, there is no shortage of competition between the two of them. “I think he wants to try and be as good as me,” Nicolas said with a grin on his face. “It’s definitely a competition who can score, even though we’re both playing defence, he’s always looking for accolades, he wants to be the best guy on the field. That’s his goal, he wants to score a hat trick every game,” rebutted Daniel. “For me it’s score maybe once, and just play a solid game.” Nicolas made sure to clarify things in his own defence however. “No it’s not like that, I’ll say that to him, like ‘maybe I’ll score two, let’s see how many you can score?’ It’s just between each other.” That brotherly competition then follows them home and into any activity they do together. “We have a basketball hoop in the backyard and we go head to head, it’s the same with video games or anything,” admitted Nicolas.
All the sibling competition and squabbling aside, the Morello brothers have been able to use their chemistry to help the Capilano Blues winning efforts, especially on the defensive end. “The last couple of years defensively we’ve been solid, we know what he’s going to do as a center-back and what I’m going to do as a winger,” explained Nicolas in regards to their chemistry.
This has helped lead the brothers to two consecutive provincial gold medals, including a national championship run in 2015, something they will always remember. “His [Daniel’s] first year has been the most memorable. We started the season 0-5, then we came back and went to the national final in Montreal,” Nick recalled. “We got the silver unfortunately, but great memories for sure.” The two golds at provincials and a bronze in last year’s nationals are also among the Morello brothers most cherished moments playing for Capilano.
Having played on the same summer team, Nicolas and Daniel did not stop working after last season ended. “We had games and stuff together, we were always playing through the spring and summer. We don’t really take time off,” said Daniel. In his fifth year, Nicolas is playing his final season for Capilano, but the brothers hope to play on a club team together after their time with the Blues ends. However, Nicolas and Daniel do not plan on stopping the good memories, as they have championship aspirations for this season. “I think we’re going to make another run at the gold at provincials,” said Nicolas. “We can definitely win it again and make another run at nationals.”