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Born to lead: A conversation with former Varsity Blues Quarterback Clay Sequeira

Sequeira discusses his varsity football career, life after football
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Clay Sequeira has a story to tell. COURTESY OF MARTIN BAZYL/THE VARSITY BLUES
Clay Sequeira has a story to tell. COURTESY OF MARTIN BAZYL/THE VARSITY BLUES

Clay Sequeira has always been a bold guy. He’s shown it when he’s on the pitch shouting out plays to his offense, or even in his senior year of high school, singing over the beat of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home (feat. Majid Jordan)” to ask his crush to prom. Sequeira was just as straightforward in an interview with The Varsity about his eventful career, and how he’s currently feeling about it. 

“I will always have that hunger for football,” a retired yet enthused Sequeira said — and that’s very believable, as his hunger was blatantly evident throughout his career. He first became a starter in 2017, and while it took him a few years to get comfortable, it was very noticeable when he did. In the 2019 season, the Blues went 2–6 for the first time since 2016. 

That record doesn’t even do Sequeira’s performances justice, considering he led U SPORTS in total passing yards, yards per game, pass attempts, and touchdowns. He simultaneously got called up to the Toronto Argonauts training program and represented U of T at the Ontario University Athletics East West Bowl that same year. Right when you think it couldn’t get better, last season, Sequeira led the Blues to their first playoff game since 1995. 

When asked which of the two marked the highlight of Sequeira’s entire career, he chose the 2021 season. This was surprising at first, considering his personal stats weren’t as record-breaking as in the year prior, but Sequeira said, “When I look back at my career, the individual accolades are something I am never going to forget… but the first thing I’m going to think about is that home playoff game.”

Sequeira has this sense of selflessness to him, the idea that he always puts his team’s success over his own. This demeanour is hard to achieve, especially, as he noted, since so many university athletes develop an inflated ego.

Reflecting on his career as a student athlete, his passion was evident not only on the field but in the classroom as well. Sequeira graduated from the Rotman School of Management with a Bachelor of Commerce in Management in April 2021. Rotman is known to be one of the most rigorous and intense business schools in Canada. It’s daunting to even think about how Sequeira had to balance his two roles, one leading the football team and the other putting up with school. 

A regular mid-season day for Sequeira would consist of waking up and attending classes until 4:00 pm, hitting the film room for two hours, practising with the team, getting home at 9:00 pm, eating dinner while rewatching his most recent practice session, and finally starting his homework at 10:30 pm. He followed this routine continuously for many months for five and a half years. He made a point to acknowledge that the people he surrounded himself with were a major factor in his success.

Since moving on from U of T, Sequeira has begun working at Cidel, a local financial institution. It’s quite a different scene from his football career, but he said that he’s happy to have an opportunity to work somewhere. When asked whether he still longs to go pro, he excitedly said that he would pounce on any interest from a professional league, but, at the same time, it was never “NFL/CFL or bust” for him. Sequeira is the perfect blend of talent and humility. He knew to put his all into what he did and live with the result. He knew that he couldn’t control his future, only the day-to-day.

What’s next for the former quarterback? Getting closer to finding a true sense of purpose. Sequeira told The Varsity that he really misses football: “It’s like a first love you can never really get over.” Although he is at peace with where he is in life, he wants to continue to make sure that the sport is a part of him — whether it’s through coaching quarterbacks, playing fantasy football, or watching the NFL. He’s a Cowboys fan, so send him your condolences. However, he does have the Chiefs down as his prediction for who will win it all —maybe that will cheer him up.

One thing is for sure, the legacy that Sequeira left behind with the Blues will be just as hard to erase as his love of football. When life handed him a third and long, he always tried to make the best play. While he’s currently done running toward an end zone with a football in his hand, his goal is to keep on moving forward in life, even though he would never brag about it.