• Photo for Real Athlete: Soccer player Shane Proch-Wilson
    Photo Credit: Nicolas Smith

Real Athlete: Soccer player Shane Proch-Wilson

By RealJock Staff

Shane Proch-Wilson was on a big high when RealJock spoke with him—his soccer team, the Boston Strikers, had just beat the West Hollywood Eclipse 4-2 to win the Men's Division 2 gold at Gay Games Chicago. Proch-Wilson, 25, plays striker for the Strikers. We liked his upbeat attitude, his love of the game, and his positive feelings about the Gay Games. Check out our interview below.

You just won the gold. Congratulations. What was the final score of the gold medal game?
Thanks! We won four to two.

Did you score any goals tonight?
Today, I did not score any goals. But it was a great match.

Is this your first Gay Games?
Yes it is.

Are you having a good time so far?
I'm having an absolute blast.

What prompted you to participate in the Gay Games?
The [Boston] team sends a team every year. I just involved with Boston's Premier league, and they talked about going here. I'd never been to Chicago before, so I thought I'd come here and check out the city.

Did you get to do a lot of other things here in Chicago, or did you just play soccer?
Towards the beginning of the week we did a lot of fun stuff, but then we knuckled down [as the finals got closer]. But I'm sure we're going to go back to a lot of the fun stuff, now that the soccer's over.

What kind of training did your team do to prepare for the Gay Games?
The majority of the team plays on the [Boston] Premier league team, and everybody practices on Sunday afternoons. But the actual Chicago [Gay Games] team has been getting together once a week for the past month and a half to get to know each other and get to know each other's games. Outside of that, the majority of the team has played together in a couple of other venues.

Does the Premier team play in a league in Boston?
Yes, we play in a greater Boston league. It's a non-gay league.

Ever experience any weirdness playing non-gay teams in your league?
No, not at all.

What sports did you participate in growing up?
Mostly soccer and tennis. I played competitively in high school, but not in college, [because] I injured myself right at the beginning of college. I broke my leg and tore my ACL, and it was just a big mess. I spent a couple of years recovering from that.

How did you manage to do all that?
I actually broke [my leg] playing softball, ironically enough [laughs]. [I was playing] intramural softball with my fraternity.

Ah... Did this accident involve... beer?
It didn't. I just caught a guy's leg wrong, and—crush.

Ouch. Glad to see you've recovered. Do you currently play other sports?
I play pretty much just soccer, but I also play for another club team back home.

What was Boston's total record for the week overall?
We were 7-0. We won every game except the semi-finals, when we went to a shootout. We played a hell of a tournament, and I'm really, really proud of the team.

Anything else you'd like to add about your Gay Games experience?
The Gay Games is such a fantastic thing. It brings gay athletes from all over the world together, and Chicago's a hell of city to have it in. Everyone here has been awesome—you walk down the street with a medal, and people just [come up to you].

The mayor did a great job at opening ceremonies welcoming us to the Games and welcoming us to the town. He gave a great speech.

Real Athlete is an ongoing series of interviews with inspirational, out gay athletes from around the world. Are you a Real Athlete? Take our Real Athlete Survey.