After playing in the United States since 2016, the football player has come back home
Ezechiel Tieide and his family moved from the Ivory Coast to Montreal when he was five years old. It was in 2009 when his family moved from Cartierville to Lachine, that Tieide’s love for football blossomed into a lifelong passion. Now, after playing in the NCAA, the receiver will be playing with the Concordia Stingers this upcoming season.
Although he was only in grade four when his family moved in 2009, he already knew he wanted to play football. He was only able to start the following year, at 10 years old.
“I saw some kids play football [at the Dalbé-Viau High School],” he said. “I went and asked them if I could play.”
Growing up, Tieide also played soccer, basketball, and track. Despite soccer being his initial pastime, Tieide didn’t see himself pursuing that sport professionally. Keeping busy in multiple sports was integral to Tieide, making him adapt to an active lifestyle early on.
“Every season I was doing something, it was keeping me busy and away from trouble,” he added.
After completing his high school education in Montreal, Tieide decided to go to the United States, where he attended St. Paul’s School, a college-preparatory boarding school in New Hampshire.
Tieide then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management at Boston College, in Massachusetts. After that, he transferred to the University of Toledo in Ohio to study communications, but ultimately he decided to come back to Montreal after a year there.
Tieide is now taking independent studies at Concordia University, where he will be playing as a wide receiver for the Stingers.
The football player started as a receiver, and then moved to quarterback from grade eight up until university, where he moved to the other side of the ball and played as a cornerback for two years. He went back to playing as a receiver in his junior year at Boston College.
Tieide felt like there were more opportunities in Montreal, which is why he decided to come back home for his final year of eligibility playing university sports.
“I felt like I had more opportunities to showcase, or get on the football field, back at home,” he said. “Football is really [about] opportunities. Sometimes you can be really good and then it doesn’t go like you want.”
Stingers head coach Brad Collinson had coached Tieide when he played for Team Quebec in the 2015 Football Canada Cup.
“I feel like Coach Brad will give me the opportunities that I need for me to go play at the next level,” Tieide explained. “I’m not saying that in the U.S. it wasn’t possible, but I feel like here I could show it more.”
Collinson is also looking forward to having Tieide join the team, stating it’s fun to reunite with a player he’s previously coached.
“We know each other already,” he said. “There’s a relationship that’s been built over the years so it’s always fun to get guys like that on your team.”
Although Tieide was playing as a quarterback for Collinson’s Team Quebec, the coach still remembers what stood out about his young player.
“He was a good athlete, somebody that really liked the game of football and wanted to get better,” Collinson said. “He always had a good attitude. He’s a competitor, that’s something that stood out at a young age.”
Collinson is looking forward to seeing his new recruit in action.
“We have a very good receiver group so hopefully he can help us [and] make us better. […] He’s a very athletic kid who has a lot to offer,” he added.
Tieide is going to be seeing even more familiar faces on the team, including safety Dawson Pierre whom he played against in high school, and quarterback Xavier Tremblay, a transfer from the University of Laval.
Tieide and Tremblay have known each other for about six years now, after participating in quarterback camps together. They both look forward to playing on the same team.
“I want to feed him up [pass to him], I’d like to throw him the ball as much as possible because I know he can be a playmaker on the team,” said Tremblay. “I know he wants to play professionally and it’s his last season [at this level]. And I think he can achieve it if we take advantage of him, his size, and he’s athletic, so he’s a nice asset for the team as a receiver.”
Indeed, with the plan to play professional football, Tieide’s expectation for his last year of university football is “to score a lot of touchdowns.”
“I’m going to earn everything that is given to me. I work, I work a lot, so I want to show people what I can do,” he said.
However, Tieide’s also had to overcome a lot in his football career. He said that his biggest challenge so far was remaining patient.
“When something doesn’t go like you want, you got to stick by the book, stick with the program until the season is done,” Tieide said. “But during the season, when something doesn’t go like you want, it’s hard.”
Dedicating a lot of time to something while not getting the results he wanted was difficult, especially when he was working on it every day from 6 a.m. to noon.
“Sometimes it’s stuff that you can’t control, it’s a higher power than you, so it’s like ‘alright, just one day at a time,’” he continued. “But I’m glad, I got better every day. There’s the good, and there’s the bad, but I got better every day.”
On top of being a student and an athlete, the 23-year-old also coaches basketball at his old high school, where his brother Elom now plays football as well.
“I’m just trying to get involved, I’m trying to help the kids because they’re the future,” Tieide said. “Dalbé-Viau high school is a hotbed for talent. There’s a lot of kids over there, a lot of immigrants, they’re not really from here, but they have insane athletic abilities. […] All they need is to see someone that did it. You don’t have to be a bum, you don’t have to be a gangster, you don’t have to do nothing crazy. Just stick to the books, play sports, you’re going to have a good life.”
If he could give any advice to children or teenagers who are trying to make it in football, here’s what Tieide would tell them:
“Don’t overthink too much, don’t put too much on your shoulders,” he said. “Just play football, and the coach is going to like you for that. They’re going to like you for being yourself and the type of player that you are. You don’t have to put up a front, just be yourself. And then if things don’t happen like you want, there’s a better plan. Nothing happens for no reason. I feel like God has a plan for all of us.”
No matter what level you play at, Tieide said to just play the best season of your life, whether it’s in high school, CEGEP, or U Sports.
“If you’re good they’re going to find you. It doesn’t matter against who you do it. It’s the fact that you can do it. So just ball out.”