What was your favourite memory while playing for Fusion Football Club?
Looking back on my 4 years at Fusion, the Germany-Austria trip is by far my greatest memory with the club. At just fourteen years old my teammates and I – coached by Rich Hawes – embarked on a two week journey of a lifetime. The whole experience was amazing. It was my first time in Europe and being able to play football against some of the biggest clubs like FC Bayern Munich was a dream for us young teens at the time. During this trip, I also strongly bonded with my teammates which created a foundation for everlasting friendships.
Do you stay in touch with your former teammates?
I do still stay in touch with my Fusion teammates. The friendships I have made while at the club go beyond just being teammates, as some of my old Fusion teammates are my closest friends. We all have a group chat together so everyone can stay updated with each others lives. Over the winter break, we all got together one night for a reunion. It was great to catch up with everyone and we had a great time.
What was the most useful thing that playing for Fusion Football Club taught you to help you perform at the Varsity Level?
There is not “one” particular thing I learned from Fusion that has helped me at the Varsity level – more a collection of little lessons. I learned to always be on time (which is being early), be open minded as a player to new positions and ideas, and be positive on the field.
What had been the biggest difference playing at the collegiate level compared to youth soccer?
The biggest difference between the OUA and HPL is certainly the pace and physicality of the game. In HPL, you are used to playing against people your own age and roughly the same size/physical ability. At the Varsity level, you have to compete against players who can be 7 years older than you. In order to have success as a first year athlete you need to be able to compete against these bigger, faster, and stronger opponents. The season is also a lot more compact and intense. From late August to the end of October, we play 16-18 games which roughly averages out to a game every 3 days. The games are played back-to-back on weekends so you have to get used to playing when you’re not feeling 100%.
How have you balanced the school work and your athletic commitments?
I thought I had a pretty smooth transition into university life. I am in the Smith School of Business at Queen’s and I took 5 courses in first semester. For the first half of the semester while I was in soccer season, times were definitely busy. My life was largely focused on school/soccer, but I still had some time to hangout with my friends and meet new people. In university, nobody is going to guide you through all your work and tell you what to do – you are largely on your own. This makes responsibility and efficient time management key to a successful student-athlete life. These are the two key factors which helped me balance and manage soccer and school work effectively. A piece of advice I have for soon to be varsity student-athletes is to remember that there are plenty of people who are willing to help you when you are in need, especially during a big transition like university. Wether its teammates, coaches, upper year friends, or your same year friends/classmates, you can always turn to someone for help, so never be afraid to ask!
What advice would you give to our current athletes in their pursuit for post secondary soccer experience?
To all current Fusion players pursuing a post secondary football experience, keep working hard on/off the pitch and stay dedicated to the game you love. I have seen so many high potential players lose their passion for football in the later years of High School which steered them away from being able to play football at the varsity level. If post secondary football is your goal, remember to always keep it within sight.