A Scholar Athlete’s Pilgrimage

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Yannick Pilgrim

Yannick Pilgrim ’11 heads toward his goal, taking in the sights along the way.

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By Mark Brumbaugh

Ask a professor , classmate, or even an opposing defender on the soccer field, they all will say that Yannick Pilgrim can get from place to place. A native of Trinidad and Tobago, he attended high school in Connecticut and played soccer in Curacao and Suriname before coming to Davidson to study and play.

Pilgrim soon became a top threat for the men’s soccer team, using his blazing speed to consistently fly past opponents and create scoring opportunities. In 2009, he finished third in the Southern Conference in scoring and was instrumental in Davidson’s 4–1 upset win over then sixth-ranked Duke. Pilgrim scored twice in the match and was recognized for his efforts by leading national soccer publication Soccer America.

In spring 2010, Pilgrim was on the go again. An English major, he studied abroad in Costa Rica, taking in the culture on class field trips and weekend excursions. He attended a Puntarenas F.C. “futbol” match where the referees needed to be protected from rock-throwing fans. He found pickup soccer games on the beach, and went on surfing trips. He even took a solo trip to Nicaragua.

Pilgrim formed a strong bond with his host family, who presented him with a key to their home so he could come back whenever he wanted. In his blog on davidsonwildcats.com, Pilgrim said experiencing Costa Rica’s pura vida lifestyle gave him an opportunity to rethink life’s challenges. “Knowing that someone stands with you through the good and bad inspires you to live for the good,” he wrote. “Para siempre I will remember this far-away family, and para siempre I will carry with me the lessons learned over the last four months.”

Photo: Tim Cowie

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