Faces in the Field: Greenville's Gio Cañas
From the stands, to the sticks, and now to the front office, the Greenville Triumph's Gio Cañas has been there every step of the way since the club’s inaugural season in 2019.
A Triumph supporter since day one, Cañas will look to build on past top-five performances as he represents the Triumph for the fourth consecutive eCup in 2023. He’s also recently moved into a full-time role with the club as an Account Executive ahead of the club’s fifth season in 2023.
We sat down with Gio to learn more about his connection to the Triumph, his new role with the club, and the impact of the eCup over the past three years.
Q: What is your personal soccer background, how did you come to love the sport?
“I grew up going to watch the NY/NJ MetroStars with my dad. I remember watching players like Tim Howard, Tab Ramos, and current Triumph head coach, John Harkes. I wanted to be a professional soccer player and play for them. I also began playing for the New York Soccer Latin Academy, a club that gave my family and teammates an affordable opportunity to play against some of the top teams in New York before I moved to Greenville when I was 15. My dreams of playing professionally were gone after multiple surgeries and leaving my club team in New York, and I missed having a professional team in my hometown to support. In 2019, the Triumph brought professional soccer to the area and I immediately fell in love with the team, players, and supporters. Now I have the opportunity to create memories for my kids with the Triumph like my dad did for me."
Q: Tell us a little more about your connection to the club?
"I have been a loyal fan since the club’s inception in 2019 and the eCup gave me a chance to represent my club for the first time. The relationships I made as “the FIFA player” helped me get a full-time position within the front office as an Account Executive. I work with group sales and season ticket members, but most importantly, I get to share my love for the team within the community."
Q: Having been a supporter of the Triumph since day one, what are you most looking forward to about your first season with the club’s front office?
“Words can’t even explain how proud I am to say, “This is Gio with the Greenville Triumph”. I'm looking forward to helping new people and families experience Triumph games, creating many new friendships, and sharing my love and passion for the team with as many people in Greenville as possible."
Q: The connections fostered by the eCup often go much further than what meets the eye. Can you tell us about a moment when you realized that your participation in the eCup had a deeper impact than you realized?
"One moment that sticks out to me was last season's home match against Union Omaha. I spent the entire day with friends from Omaha and the Reedy River Riot leading up to the match, but it's this moment that I remember the best. I was walking to my seat and a woman, Andrea Anderson, stopped me and told me that her son, Bobby, loved watching my FIFA games and wanted to know when I was going to play again. I told them that I hoped to play in the eCup again in 2023 and that I would love to play with Bobby sometime. Bobby then asked for a picture with me, and it ended up being such a sweet and memorable moment. I spent years wanting to be a positive and influential voice for my club, and when I started, I just played FIFA for fun and never thought that I would be recognized or even admired for playing a video game. I caught up with Bobby and his family at our friendly against Charlotte this weekend and he made sure to wish me luck in this year’s tournament. I’m proud and humbled that I’ve been able to share my love for the Triumph and soccer with people like Bobby and his family."
Q: As a returning player of four tournaments, what’s your favorite eCup memory, and what are you most looking forward to about this year’s tournament?
“My favorite memory was reaching the finals in 2021. Although I lost, I had an amazing amount of support from both old and new friends. These experiences have built friendships with supporters from across the country and I’ve learned about so many other clubs and supporters groups from across the U.S. This year, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with players, friends, and supporters, and most importantly, hoping that I can ultimately bring the title to Greenville.”
Gio’s quest to bring an eCup title to Greenville begins on Tuesday, February 21, with a matchup against the representative from Forward Madison FC. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.