Ashburn, VA (November 19, 2016) – The year was 2007. The Stone Bridge Bulldogs cruised through the season with a 14-1 record and a lopsided 38-0 victory in the Virginia 5A state championship game over Potomac played in UVa’s Scott Stadium.
With Bulldog legends like Patrick and Zach Thompson, the twin sons of Coach Mickey Thompson, Ryan Moody, and, of course, Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, all being key contributors, it is no wonder 2007 delivered the only state title in team history.
“Winning that state championship with everybody, that was a special moment,” Gouveia-Winslow said. “The coolest part about the program at Stone Bridge is you’re with all your best buds and winning state championships.”
The Bulldogs have returned to the title game several times since, most recently in 2015, but have been unable to repeat the success of that dynamic squad nine years ago.
With all of the talent Coach Thompson has had come through the program dating back to 2000, Stone Bridge’s inaugural season, Gouveia-Winslow is undoubtedly one of the best to don the blue and white.
“There is a lot of pride with SB, a lot of guys are proud to be a part of the program and with Coach Mickey,” he said.
A two-way star for the Bulldogs, Gouveia-Winslow was named the Washington Post All-Met Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2007 and went on to play at Virginia Tech as a defensive back, but did much more than just play defense during his prep years.
“As far as accolades go, that is as high as it gets in the area, All-Met Defensive Player of the Year, so that was a big accomplishment,” Gouveia-Winslow said.
As a true utility player in high school, he returned kick-offs, returned punts, took direct snaps out of the single wing, played traditional running back, and caught passes for Coach Thompson’s crafty offensive scheme.
Gouveia-Winslow was rated the No. 34 safety in the country by ESPN. He was named first-team all-state as a defensive back as a senior by the Associated Press and was named the Defensive Player of the Year by the Virginia High School Coaches Association. As if those awards weren’t enough, he also snagged Liberty District Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year honors, as well as the Northern Region Defensive Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound versatile weapon finished his senior year with seven interceptions, including two in the state title game, and 73 tackles on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, he ran for over 900 yards and scored 22 touchdowns.
His success as a senior did not come out of nowhere, however, as he had 76 tackles, four interceptions, and three forced fumbles in his junior campaign with the Bulldogs, earning him AP first-team all-state honors. He was a first-team all-state performer for three consecutive years.
In a collegiate career that was slightly held back by injuries, he went on to have a solid four years in a Virginia Tech uniform, as he saw action in 40 games, earning 14 starts for the Hokies from 2009-2012 after redshirting in 2008. He finished his career with 80 tackles, three interceptions, and three forced fumbles.
“I didn’t have as many accolades in college, I didn’t ball out as much as I thought I was going to, I had a few injuries that set me back,” he said.
One of his top highlights in his time with Virginia Tech came as a sophomore in 2010 when he returned a deflected pass 24 yards for the Hokies’ opening touchdown of the ACC Championship Game against Florida State, which they went on to win 44-33.
“Man, that was a cool one, I have to thank Bruce Taylor for tipping that ball, I was just in the right place at the right time,” Gouveia-Winslow said.
He then went on to have two tackles and a forced fumble during the 2011 Orange Bowl in a loss to Stanford to conclude his sophomore campaign.
According to Gouveia-Winslow, his favorite memory in Blacksburg actually occurred during a pre-game ritual in his senior season.
“My senior year I was selected captain by my teammates and I went out to do all the coin tosses,” he said. “The captains come out before the rest of the team to meet with the refs and then we wait there for the coin toss while the rest of the team comes out. I remember that first time standing in the middle of the field at Lane Stadium and Enter Sandman came on, everyone getting hyped, I just took in the moment.”
In addition to serving as team captain as a senior, he was the captain of the special teams for three years.
“Having the opportunity to play for Coach [Frank] Beamer,” he said, “I was a special teams captain for three years, so we would get to meet one-on-one a lot during the week, everyone knows he is a special teams guru, having his trust in me, it’s something that was an honor.”
Following his five years in Blacksburg, he returned to Ashburn where he served as the defensive backs coach at Stone Bridge under Coach Thompson for one season.
“It was a great experience, I loved the kids, I loved putting the time in,” he said. “Stone Bridge football will always have a spot in the heart, I will always be following them and rooting for them.”
Gouveia-Winslow then worked as an athletic trainer at Explosive Performance at the Brambleton Sport and Health facility in 2014. He was working under Rhys Gully, the site director of the facility.
“They have one of the best programs in the area and I really enjoyed working there with them,” Gouveia-Winslow said. “They specialize in athletic performance training and they have state-of-the-art equipment.”
He left this position after just one year to join the University of Hawaii coaching staff as a football administrative assistant in 2015, where his father, Kurt Gouveia, was also on the staff.
“That was an awesome experience, Coach Norman Chow was the head coach, my father was the linebackers’ coach at the time, and he called me out of the blue to tell me they had this position open, wondering if I was interested,” Gouveia-Winslow said. “Obviously, football has been my life, so it was a great opportunity for me to get involved.”
Unfortunately for the Gouveia duo, the team had a rough year and the entire coaching staff was let go following the 2015 season.
“I thought it was a great foot in the door to Division I college football,” Gouveia-Winslow said. “I was still trying to find a position to coach football after we got let go, but it was a great experience and very eye-opening for me.”
Instead of staying in football, however, he has returned to the East coast and to the world of athletic performance training as a director for Pinnacle Fitness in Indian Land, S.C., a fast-growing area located just across the border from Charlotte, N.C.
As a director for the group that just opened in October, he is able to develop his own fitness programs working with athletes across multiple sports. It is the first of a new chain of gyms under the ownership of Jeff Harley, with the concept of commercialized gyms with specialized training.
“Being involved with athletics, if it’s football or not, is the ultimate goal. If I’m not coaching football then I’m training,” Gouveia-Winslow said. “I would love to coach college ball, but it’s a tough industry to get into and stay in.”
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