Prep boys' soccer: Leme's decision to stay pays off for Lehi

Prep boys soccer • Leme scored nine goals in Lehi's first 11 games.
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Gui Leme nearly quit the team earlier this season. He wanted to walk away because he felt some of his Lehi boys soccer teammates weren't serious enough about the sport.

But senior captain Aaron Caprio talked Leme into sticking it out, explaining the benefits of keeping his commitment to the team.

"I just get frustrated when we don't try," said Leme, a Brazilian-born junior forward. "Aaron tries to get me focused. He knows when I'm mad, and he understands me. He calms me down.

"But that was before. Now I'm going to keep playing and try my best."

Turned out to be a very good decision for the Pioneers. Leme has scored nine goals through 11 games entering the week, and Lehi sits in the middle of the Region 4 playoff race at the midway point.

Leme scored in six of the Pioneers' first seven games, including two goals against Bingham in his first varsity game. Leme, who moved to Lehi last summer, was a team manager at Pleasant Grove during his freshman year and didn't play as a sophomore because of poor grades.

But Lehi coach Jerry Preisendorf knew the quality of goal scorer he was getting when Leme arrived at tryouts. Leme is in his third season playing club soccer for Sparta FC, and he has played in the U.S. Youth Olympic Development Program and the Real Salt Lake Academy.

"Seeing him play club, I knew what he could do," Preisendorf said. "Our players put him in position to score. They realize what kind of runs he's going to make. He does a good job when he gets the opportunity to put it in the net, he does. He had two chances against Bingham, and he made both.

"He gets a little frustrated at times, but we have five or six different clubs teams represented on our team. We've had a couple of seniors take him under their wing and reassure him everything is fine and it will work out."

Caprio did more than take Leme under his wing. He also switched position, moving to the back line to allow Leme to play up front.

"In the 4-3-3 [formation] at Lehi, I prefer to play center-mid," Leme said. "I thought I'd actually score more in high school because I score in club."

Leme's offensive production has drawn attention in the college ranks. He has received a letter from UCLA, but Leme said he would like to play at the University of Portland, where Caprio is committed to play starting next season.