Playing university soccer has always been a dream for men’s soccer goalkeeper Remo Taraschi. From an early age, he was already planning out his path to achieve this ambition.
“Since I was younger, I always looked up to these kids playing university soccer,” saidTaraschi. “I aspired to play at the same level.”
Taraschi comes to Concordia University first as a student and second as a varsity level athlete. He is currently in his first year at the school completing a specialization in cellular and molecular biology.
When he is not studying, you can find Taraschi at the training pitch as the Stingers have daily practices Monday through Friday.
The busy schedule of a student-athlete requires organization and preparation. With classes throughout the week, practices almost every day and games once or twice a week, finding time to study can be tough.
“For me, it’s on your breaks where you have to study,” he said. “Every time I’m on break I’m studying. When I’m at home watching T.V., I’ll have a book in my hands. There’s is no time to rest for now.”
Being a goalkeeper in soccer requires a great amount of focus and leadership. Taraschi’s decision to become a goalkeeper happened rather unexpectedly when he was 13-years-old.
“At the time, my team didn’t have a keeper,” he said. “During a practice, we were just having fun and I went in nets. The coach just said ‘look, you’re going to be our keeper from now on’.”
Taraschi listened to his coach at the time and has been in goal ever since.
“It’s a fun challenge,” he said referring to the position. “I like the pressure and the key opportunities. I like to keep my team in game as much as I can. It’s what I love to do.”
But Taraschi’s soccer career started at the tender age of five. Being a Pierrefonds resident, he played for the Pierrefonds Soccer Association until the end of his team when he was 16.
Taraschi was recruited by the Stingers this summer. At club level, he represents Lakeshore Soccer Club in the men’s senior division one elite level. In CÉGEP, last year, Taraschi was also the starting goalkeeper for the John Abbott College Islanders.
“My coach got in touch with Lloyd [Barker, Stingers head coach] and talked about me,” he explained. “[Barker] came and watched me play in the summer.”
Taraschi’s transition has been made easier, as he and five other Stingers play on the same club team.
“It’s stricter for sure because we’re practicing every day. It’s more disciplined,” he said. “With school, it’s harder to balance, but the coaches keep us on track.”
This season, Taraschi has been splitting time with last year’s starting goalkeeper Nicholas Giannone. Both keepers have been providing healthy competition for one and other.
“Honestly, the relationship is really great,” Taraschi said. “We’ve played before for a year on the same team. I find we each have our strengths and weaknesses and we feed off each other in practice. I give him full credit as he’s playing at a higher club level than me right now.”
Playing with the Stingers, both goalkeepers are fortunate to have current Montreal Impact goalkeeper Greg Sutton as an assistant coach. Sutton has represented Major League Soccer teams Chicago Fire, Toronto FC, New York Red Bulls and has capped for the Canadian National Team 16 times.
“Right now, I’m just taking in the experience because it’s an MLS keeper and everybody knows who [Sutton] is in Montreal,” explained Taraschi. “It’s an honour to be coached by him.”
In the future, Taraschi wants to pursue his soccer career for as long as possible. The thought of playing at the semi-pro level is something he has definitely thought about.
“If the opportunity comes then for sure,” he said. “For now, I’m going to focus on my studies.”
Until then, the Stinger is fixed on this year’s team as they try to make the playoffs for the first time in years.
Follow Taraschi and the rest of the Stingers in action when they face the McGill Redmen on Oct. 11 at Percival Molson Stadium. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. following the women’s game.