Recruitment is well underway for the Concordia Stingers’ men’s soccer team

With many veteran players leaving, this recruitment season is busier than usual

After a season that ended too quickly on Oct. 23, the Concordia Stingers’ men’s soccer team has started its recruitment process with many empty spots to fill.

“It’s going to be a little bit of a challenge,” said Stingers’ head coach Greg Sutton. “Roughly nine to 10 players are graduating, so we have a bigger class than normal coming in and graduating. It adds to more recruiting and more work, to be fair.”

Among those graduating are several core players who were starters on the team. Centre defender and captain Sean Holmes is leaving the team after five years with the Stingers, something that is “surely going to affect the group,” according to goalkeeper Jordy Kerlegrand.

“It’s going to be hard to replace them,” Kerlegrand added, also mentioning midfielder John Cevik as a player he’ll miss. “Cevik is probably one of the best players I’ve ever been on the same team with. It’s going to hurt because when he was on the field we won and when he wasn’t, his absence was felt.”

Both Cevik and Holmes were named to the RSEQ’s second all-star team.

Although core players are leaving the team in high numbers, the recruitment has been going well so far. The Stingers’ men’s soccer team will be holding open tryouts on Jan. 10.

Sutton said that social media has been making the recruitment process easier than it was in the past. He also finds new players through current team members.

Additionally, for several years now the team has been hosting their ID night, an event that reunites the top potential recruits. It’s a chance for Sutton to assess the more specific details of rookies’ abilities and see whether they’d be a good fit. This year, their ID night has been especially positive.

Sutton began signing players a while ago. One of them, 21-year-old defender Zackiel Brault — who formerly played with the Montreal Impact Academy and FC Laval — was recruited last winter.

“The Stingers are creating a really good team and they’re getting big players,” Brault said in response to why he chose Concordia. He also said that he wanted to experience varsity soccer and was attracted by the league, the players, and the level of play.

Kerlegrand emphasized the team’s need for a good defensive line and Brault hopes he can bring value to the team with his 16 years of play.

“He’s just a complete defender, very difficult to beat,” said Sutton. “Offensively, he’s good on the ball and is able to keep possession for us in the back.”

Sutton also said that with so many players leaving, the team’s needs are “across the board.”

“We’re losing forwards, midfielders, defenders,” he explained. “One of the things we do when we recruit is we focus on the areas of need, but frankly, when you lose ten players, your needs are pretty much throughout the field.”

However, he said that attacking play is the main area they will practice once they get back on the field in the winter.

Nonetheless, both Kerlegrand and Sutton are very optimistic about next season.

“We’re excited, it’s a new era starting this upcoming fall,” Kerlegrand said. “We’re losing a few veteran players, so we’re in the unknown. However, that’s what excites us so much.”

He’s also certain the rookies will acclimate well to the team.

“We love having rookies,” he added. “Last year, we made the rookies feel comfortable right at the start and they integrated themselves really well.”

“I think that we have a good group of guys that are returning,” said Sutton. “We’re hopeful that they’re going to continue to grow and get better. Then, it’s just the transition of our new players that are coming in, to try and best prepare them with the time we have.”


The Buzz: Stingers weekend recap

Football, rugby, and soccer wrap up their respective postseasons, and regular season hockey is underway

Stingers men’s rugby wins fourth consecutive RSEQ title

Stingers defeated McGill 33-0 at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Jean-Christophe Vinette led the Stingers with two tries, and Luca Milne earned MVP honours in a game in which the Redbirds never took off. 

McGill and Concordia finished the regular season at 5-1 apiece, but the Redbirds went into the postseason as the first seed. The Stingers’ dominant showing was another feather on the cap for Concordia’s rugby dynasty. 

RSEQ football semifinals versus Laval ends Stingers season early 

Also on Saturday, the Stingers football team travelled to TELUS Stadium to face the Laval Rouge et Or, where Concordia ultimately lost 30-10. 

The Stingers offence led the RSEQ in many major aspects, but was essentially shut down by Laval. Stingers quarterback Olivier Roy threw for 283 passing yards but couldn’t score a touchdown and was sacked four times. 

The Stingers ended the 2021 RSEQ regular season at 4-4, an improvement from their performance in 2019, where they finished the season at 2-6.  

Concordia men’s soccer lose in RSEQ semifinal to Montreal

Concordia faced the first-placed Carabins in the playoffs on Friday at CEPSUM, where the Stingers lost 2-0. 

Stingers midfielder Anthony Phelps was the team’s MVP of the match, while Carabins’ Quentin Paumier earned the honour for Montreal by securing the game-winning goal in the opening minutes of the match. 

Concordia finished the regular season with a 5-4-3 record, and Stingers fourth-year midfielder Mohammad Reza Nafar led the RSEQ regular season in goals (7) and points (11).

Stingers men’s and women’s hockey seasons start strong

As sports gradually make the transition to indoor activity with winter around the corner, both the men’s and women’s hockey teams took to the ice over the weekend. 

Looking to bounce back from the loss in their home opener versus McGill on Nov. 3, the men’s team did just that in their 3-0 victory over the UQTR Patriotes on Friday. Stingers rookie Maxim Trépanier scored the game-winning goal in the first minute of the second period on the power-play.

The women’s team went into the weekend with a disappointing 0-2 record, but returned to form on Saturday with a 4-0 victory over Bishop’s at home in the Ed Meagher Arena, followed by a convincing 2-0 win on the road against Montreal on Sunday afternoon.


Graphic by James Fay


Colour Commentary: Canadian men’s soccer team start strong

Canadian men’s soccer team are on pace to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Let’s keep it a buck — when you think of sports that Canada excels at, soccer doesn’t usually come to mind. Over the years, the men’s national soccer team has rostered lineups with more than enough talent to succeed at the international level, but there always seemed to be an immovable, invisible hurdle between Canada and the World Cup.

It’s been 35 years since Canada last qualified for soccer’s most prestigious tournament, but the Canadian drought may soon be coming to an end.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar won’t be taking place until November of next year, but countries around the world are currently competing in continental World Cup qualifiers. Canada takes part in the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) qualifiers, where they currently occupy third place in the final qualifying round behind Mexico and the U.S.

Though only six of the 14 matches in the Octagonal have been played thus far, Canada have put themselves in a comfortable position with draws against Mexico and Jamaica already under their belt. The top three teams automatically qualify for the 2022 World Cup, with the fourth seed having to participate in an intercontinental playoff to book their tickets to Qatar.

With Canada’s latest comeback victory against Panama at BMO Field on Oct. 13, and having gone unbeaten in October, the team broke into the FIFA top 50 world rankings for the first time since 1997. Canada started the year as the No. 72 ranked team, and have steadily climbed to where they currently stand at No. 48.

The roadmap ahead doesn’t necessarily get easier for Canada as they prepare to face Costa Rica and Mexico in November, and the team is far from perfect. Most notably, they’ve made a bad habit of starting games off slow and falling behind early, a worrying trend that has fortunately translated into dramatic and successful comebacks so far.

But the hype is real — just ask Canadian rapper Drake. The emergence of young players Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies — the latter of which has arguably cemented his case as the best player in the CONCACAF — mixed with Canada’s resilience and mental fortitude they’ve displayed this year all make for an incredibly promising team that’s likely to make more noise in the coming weeks.

Historically, Canada has wilted under the bright lights when it comes to soccer, but don’t be surprised if this team continues to headline the nation’s sports sections as they attempt to etch their names in Canadian soccer lore.



Rookie Julian Petrilli impressing between the pipes

The Concordia Stingers men’s soccer team has 14 new players for this 2019-2020 Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) season. One of them is rookie goalkeeper Julian Petrilli, who started the first four games of his team’s campaign.

Petrilli joins the Stingers after developing his game with Les Étoiles de l’Est in Laval at the AAA level. The goalkeeper said he’s enjoying his experience with the Stingers so far and wants to gain experience during his first year of university soccer.

“It’s important to go all the way by making the playoffs and going to nationals,” Petrilli said. “However, I just want to get the taste of how does university soccer feel. I played at [an] elite level since I was a child. I just want to gain experience and have fun with the team.”

Stingers head coach Greg Sutton said Petrilli shows a lot of confidence for a first-year player. He added that Petrilli adapted quickly to university soccer since joining the team.

“We will go through some learning curves, but I think he’s done some very good things so far,” Sutton said. “His attitude has been good. He’s already come up big for us in huge moments during these first [few] games of the season. For a goalkeeper, he has the overall tools, which are needed at this level.”

Photo by Cecilia Piga

Sutton said the decision to start Petrilli the first four games of the season was an easy one, as the rookie’s attitude makes the coaching staff confident with him in goal.

“As a goalkeeper, you have to be humble, but also very confident,” Sutton said. “I think he shares both those qualities. For a first-year goalkeeper, he hasn’t really played like one. He’s been able to prepare himself for training camp, come in, and make a statement early. That’s the reason why he’s in there now, and I’m sure that’s the reason why he’ll probably stay there for the remainder of this season, and hopefully beyond.”

Petrilli said it’s great to see his hard work pay off. He added that it gives him a boost of confidence to be starting in goal.

“I’ve been really determined and committed with this team right from the start,” Petrilli said. “I’ve had a great work ethic, and I’ve always been comfortable. I had the urge and desire to win, and [Coach Sutton] gave me the opportunity to play.”

Sutton, a former professional goalkeeper who played a part of his career with the Montreal Impact in Major Soccer League (MLS), won many awards in his career and said his experience as a goalkeeper will help his relationship with Petrilli.

“It’s not really the technique that I’m going to teach him because at this stage, I think it’s very difficult to change anybody’s technique,” Sutton said. “I think it’s going to be more about the mental aspect of it, the position aspect of it, and the decision making. I think those things are going to be elements I definitely will be able to help him with.”

Sutton also explained that the game becomes faster from level to level, which asks goalkeepers to make faster decisions as well. The Stingers head coach said Petrilli will learn many things during his rookie season of university soccer.

“I think it’s the decisions he’ll have to make,” Sutton said. “He’ll need to become quicker, and continue to become more and more of a communicator. He’ll need the personality to handle adversity and not dwell on things in order to be able to move on.”

Sutton explained that the key for good goalkeepers is consistency and that this is an aspect Petrilli will need to work on at this level of the game.

“If you let things get in your head in difficult moments, it will only get worse for you,” Sutton said. “Petrilli’s not struggling with those things, but he needs to be prepared and focused mentally for those moments of adversity. As he continues to climb levels, the level of focus needs to be better and better. If [he does] that, [he’ll] have the luxury of being a real significant impact player.”

For Petrilli, it’s special to have a former professional goalkeeper as head coach. He said it makes his relationship with Sutton unique.

“It’s always an honour to play for someone who played for the Impact,” Petrilli said. “I’m of course really happy to have him as a head coach.”

In four games and 360 minutes played, Petrilli made 22 saves on 29 shots and has a 1-1-2 record.

The Stingers will play the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Citadins on Sept. 20 at 8:15 p.m. at Stade Saputo.


Feature photo by Kyran Thicke


Stingers soccer teams play winter seasons with different mindsets

Women’s team looks for consistency while men’s team tries new formation

The Concordia Stingers soccer teams have different objectives for the winter season. Head coach Greg Sutton wants to use the time as a way to prepare for next year and try new formations with his men’s team, while maintaining consistency on the women’s side.

Women’s team

The women’s team finished the fall season sixth in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ), with a 4-9-1 record. For this winter season, due to injuries and players graduating, they don’t have much depth.

“It’s going to be a challenge, so these girls just have to do the right thing and pass the right message along,” Sutton said. “Even though we might me a bit short-handed, it doesn’t mean they could take a day off.”

The soccer teams each play seven games during the winter season. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

Sutton was named head coach of the women’s team last July, so this is his first full year of recruiting. He said there are players that will be joining the team in the fall, but aren’t playing with them this winter.

“We have to look at how we’re going to plan with those that are here currently and see how we’re going to integrate those coming in,” Sutton said. “We don’t have all the commitments quite yet, so it’s hard to tell [what] personnel we’re going to have in the fall.”

For the players, these games aren’t about getting results. “For us, our main focus is to just stay fit and keep playing,” said midfielder Alessia Di Sabato on CJLO Sports on Jan. 28. “I think it’s important for us to stick together as a team and keep working out and practising.”

On Jan. 27, the Stingers played the national champion Ottawa Gee-Gees, who don’t compete in their conference in the regular season. They lost 3-0 but Sutton was happy with how the team played. “I thought we managed the game the right way, and I thought we did a pretty good job of that in the first half,” Sutton said. “But it caught up to us in the sense that our depth is not nearly as close to theirs.”

Di Sabato said it’s a challenge to play teams from other conferences because they don’t know what to expect. “All we had heard were that they were national champions,” Di Sabato said. “It’s also cool [to play other teams] because you get to see a different style of play.”

Men’s team

After a one-win season, Sutton knew heading into next year, changes had to be made. “We’re a young team right now, but I think it’s something that will pay off,” Sutton said. “We have a group of good character guys, so it’s about developing some of the younger guys in the leadership roles they need to take forth.”

On the men’s side, a change of formation is a major priority for Sutton. They played with a four-man backline throughout the season, either in a 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 set-up, but this winter, he wants to try something different, with a 3-5-2 formation. It has become more popular in the soccer world after Antonio Conte used it when he was the manager with Juventus and Italy. By taking one defender away, it requires the centre backs to communicate well.

“We have some quality defenders where we could play three in the back,” Sutton added. “We’ve applied pressure up the field and it takes away a little bit of pressure off our back three. It’s a learning curve too in this formation.”

Sutton said he wanted to try the 3-5-2 because it allows his team to control possession and play with an extra attacker. In three games so far this winter season, the Stingers have two shutouts.

Main photo Hannah Ewen.


A look at the 2018 Stingers all-stars

Men’s rugby highlights individual accolades by Concordia athletes

The 2018 fall varsity season is coming to an end, and Concordia saw its athletes in football, soccer, and rugby represent the Stingers with pride. Some teams did better than others, while some athletes were recognized for their stellar performances. Here’s a breakdown of all the Stingers all-stars winners and Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) award-winners for the fall season.

Men’s rugby

Being the only Stingers team to win their championship this fall season, it’s no surprise the men’s rugby team have the most all-stars. Out of the 14 first-team all-stars, seven are Stingers: Stephen Martinez, Julian Alexander, Charles Debove, Thomas Goetz, Jackson Marquardt, Eliott Goussanou, and Lucas Hotton. Surprisingly, none of these players won any of the individual awards.

On the second all-star team, Dylan MacDonald, Michael Laplaine-Pereira, Jérome Lévesque, and Jonathan Banks represent the Stingers.

After winning their second-straight RSEQ championship, the Stingers finished fourth at nationals in Victoria, B.C.

Women’s rugby

Under new head coach Jocelyn Barrieau, the Stingers just missed the playoffs with a 2-5 record. The women’s rugby team was young—out of 28 players on the team, 21 were in their first or second year, with only two fifth-years.

Despite the amount of younger players, fourth-year veteran back Lia Hoyte was the Stingers’s sole representative on the first all-star team. Two of the other team’s backs, second-year Shawna Brayton and first-year Jasmine Baxter, were on the second all-star team.


Like the women’s rugby team, the Stingers football team had a new head coach this season. Brad Collinson faced plenty of challenges, as the team went 2-6, missing out on the playoffs for the first time in five years.

The football team had two stars shining bright this season. Offensive lineman Maurice Simba and wide receiver Jarryd Taylor both made the first all-star team. Simba is draft-eligible for both the NFL and CFL, and will be one of the first players from a Canadian university to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in January. Taylor led the league in receiving with 527 yards on 24 catches with two touchdowns.

Assistant coach Peter Regimbald, who was in his 50th and final season with the Stingers, also won the RSEQ’s assistant coach of the year award. He has been with the team since they were still known as the Loyola Warriors.

Women’s soccer midfielder Chama Sedki made the RSEQ second all-star team. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

Women’s soccer

Following the theme of new coaches, the women’s soccer team, in their first season under Greg Sutton, finished with a 4-9-1 record, 13 points out of a playoff spot. Regardless, it’s tied for the most wins they’ve had in a season since 2013.

Even though forward Sarah Humes and defender Claudia Asselin finished tied ninth in league scoring with five goals each, only midfielder Chama Sedki made the second all-star team. Sedki played in 12 games, scoring three goals and adding three assists.

Men’s soccer

On the men’s side, the Stingers had their worst season since 2014, finishing with a 1-10-1 record. It’s at least one win better than their winless season four years ago. Forward Yazid Dawiss led the team with two goals, while eight other players had one goal each. No players made the RSEQ all-star teams.

Main photo by Hannah Ewen.


Simon Malaborsa has a striking work ethic

Forward is training hard to recover from an injury

“I’ve been playing soccer since I was four years old. It’s in my blood.”

Simon Malaborsa reminisced about his best memories of soccer, when he used to play with his siblings in their family’s backyard in Ahuntsic-Cartierville. It was Malaborsa’s father who sparked his interest in the sport, and signed him up for it. The 22-year-old has been playing ever since.

Although he’s been a striker for the Concordia Stingers men’s soccer team for the last two seasons, he didn’t always play that position. He used to play defence and winger, sometimes even goalie, but was always most comfortable as a striker. “I used to play with people who were older than me, and that’s how I got competitive,” Malaborsa said.

“There was no way that I wasn’t going to play for the team,” Malaborsa said about being a Stinger. “I played for the college team, I played for club [teams]. Part of the experience for me is being a student-athlete.”

Malaborsa noted that, while school is important, he wouldn’t be enjoying his time at Concordia as much if he wasn’t also an athlete. “It’s part of the lifestyle,” he said.

Malaborsa chases down an opposing player in a game on Sept. 15. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

In 2013, after graduating from LaurenHill Academy, Malaborsa played with the Dawson College Blues. In his first year there, the team went to nationals. It was a successful end to a season that had a rocky start, he recalled. In 2015, Malaborsa decided he wanted a change in atmosphere and to focus more on his grades. He transferred to Vanier and played for the Cheetahs from 2015 to 2017. At the club level, he has played with Ahuntsic, Longueuil, Outremont and Salaberry.

Originally, Malaborsa studied marketing as a full-time student at Concordia, but he didn’t like math so he switched to urban studies and urban planning. Although he is interested in the program, he doesn’t want a job in that field.

“I want [my career] to revolve around soccer. I want to do some type of coaching,” Malaborsa said. “I kind of don’t want to use my degree. I’ll have it, but I don’t want to use it. I want to go out and use my soccer. I obviously still want to play pro; I’m still pushing.”

Malaborsa works one day a week as the manager at Casey’s restaurant in Marché Central, but the rest of his time is spent at school and playing soccer.

Malaborsa usually goes to school from 9 a.m. to around 3 p.m. everyday. During this time, he trains and goes to physiotherapy for a hamstring injury he suffered a week before beginning this season. He has been injured all season but is still playing although not at his full potential, but he hopes to reach the level he wants to be at soon.

Having only played three out of nine games with the Stingers this season, Malaborsa said it has been difficult not playing the sport he loves so much. “It’s hard on the mental [side] too. [I] just have to stay positive and trust the process,” he said. “It’s easy to be distracted or depressed because you’re injured, but it’s part of the sport. You just have to work hard to get out of it.”

However, Malaborsa has a newfound appreciation for the game now that he’s spent so much time on the sidelines. “Every minute I get, I try to play the best I can.”

As a dedicated student-athlete, Malaborsa is very busy but said that prioritizing and managing his time allows him to balance everything. “Yes, you can have fun,” he said. “[But] you can have fun doing serious things—I’m having fun doing super serious things.”

Malaborsa said he had his time to go out when he was younger, and he still does go out occasionally, but that’s not why he looks forward to the weekend. “I’m looking forward to games,” he said.

Ideally, within the next three years, Malaborsa hopes to have both a degree and a professional soccer career—perhaps in the Canadian Premier League, which is expected to start in April 2019.

“I try to do whatever needs to be done,” Malaborsa said in regards to reaching his goals. “I’m sure that if you do everything that you need to be doing, and you’re positive and you’re persistent and consistent, you’re going to be getting what you want. Hard work pays off. I believe in that.”

“It always feels like I’m playing in my backyard; it’s just so familiar to me,” Malaborsa said. “No matter what stage of play, it should always be the same. You shouldn’t be nervous, you should be excited; it’s what you’ve worked for. It’s what I’ve been working for.”

Main photo by Hannah Ewen.


Stingers lose both times in rainy doubleheader

Men’s Game

The Concordia Stingers men’s soccer team were defeated 2-1 by the Université de Laval Rouge et Or at the Concordia Stadium Friday night. A second half dominated by the Rouge et Or cost the Stingers the game.

”We have to show up for more than just one half,” said Stingers head coach Greg Sutton after the game. “We can’t sit back and just watch like we did tonight in the second half.”

Yousef Benali’s goal at the 35-minute mark gave the Stingers a brief lead. The Rouge et Or answered with two goals by Bila Dicko-Raymond and Gino Temguia in the first 16 minutes of the second half and took the game away from the Stingers.

Benali’s goal was probably the only thing to remember from this game, according to Sutton.

“That goal gave us the lead, but we gave up two goals after,” said Sutton. “We were playing a good team tonight, so for sure they will make us pay if we play like we did in the second half.”

The men’s game was also marked by heavy rain. Players had to adjust their game style since there were moments where they could barely see the other end of the field.

“The conditions are the same for both teams,” adds Sutton. “You still need to play your game, no matter the conditions, if you want to win games.”

The Stingers will play the McGill Redmen at home this Sunday.

Concordia’s Zyon Ayodele battles a Rouge et Or player. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

Women’s Game

The Université de Laval Rouge et Or women’s soccer team showed why they are one of the best teams in the country Friday night. The number-four ranked team in U Sports beat the Concordia Stingers 6-2.

“They are a hard team to play against and you have to give them credit for that,” said head coach Sutton about the Rouge et Or. “We’re a team that works hard and that’s a good base to start with, but it’s also about being better in the right moments defensively.”

The Stingers also scored first against the Rouge et Or. However, the Rouge et Or responded with five unanswered goals and took control of the game. Concordia’s Sarah Humes and Laval’s Laurie Couture-Dallaire exchanged late goals in the second half for the 6-2 win.

Most of the goals scored by the Rouge et Or happened on breakaways or when a player was left alone in the box. Laval had numerous scoring opportunities and they capitalized on most of them.

“We have to make sure that we don’t give them the time and space to play the ball through our defense,” said Sutton. “That’s part of trying to get closer to the ball and we’ll have to make some adjustments going into Sunday.”

The Stingers women’s soccer team will also play Sunday against the McGill Martlets.

Main photo by Hannah Ewen. 


Sutton begins new era as women’s coach with draw

Men’s soccer team lose season-opener against UQAM

The Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Citadins kept the Concordia Stingers soccer teams scoreless for three hours of play on Aug. 29. The Stingers women’s team tied the Citadins 0-0, while the men’s side lost 1-0 in the season-opener at Concordia Stadium.

Women’s Soccer

A new era for the women’s soccer team began as Greg Sutton coached his first game in charge of the program. Even with a new coach, the Stingers and Citadins played to the same result as they did last year: a tie. Concordia tied UQAM 2-2 in both games against them last season.

“The biggest thing for me is that we didn’t concede, when last year against this team we conceded twice in both games,” Sutton said. “You don’t lose if you don’t concede, and you give yourself a chance to win.”

Even with a scoreless draw, there were plenty of scoring chances on both sides. The Citadins had the majority of chances, but Stingers keeper Olivia Desgroseilliers made key saves. The Stingers’s defence also played a high line, creating plenty of offside calls against the Citadins, and frustrating their forwards.

“We have a very intelligent back four, “Sutton said. “We really didn’t give up breakaways from poor decisions on the offside trap.”

“Why chase after your opponent when you can just step up and run them offside?” Sutton added.  

Stingers forward Sarah Humes led the attack for her side. She was able to beat the Citadins’s defenders with her strength, and created a few scoring chances. In the second half, she beat the goalie with a low shot, but it hit the post and went wide.

“She will do well for us,” Sutton said about Humes. “She’s strong, she has a knack for goal, so she’s going to be a big piece for us offensively.”

Men’s soccer

Unlike the women’s team, the men weren’t lucky enough to shutout UQAM. This game got more physical than the women’s, with each team getting two yellow cards.

“The first game of every season is always a physical game,” third-year goalie Karl Gouabé said. “You want to send a message to everyone else in the league.”

The Stingers came out strong in the first half, with the forward duo of Simon Malaborsa and Yacine Ait Slimane creating problems for the opposing defence. Malaborsa had a couple of chances, but just didn’t get enough service before he was subbed off in the 65th minute. Sutton said they need to work on getting the ball up to the forwards.

“It’s going to take some time [to improve], and it’s not going to happen overnight,” Sutton said. “We’re just trying to work with our attacking midfielders and wingers to be able to support the forwards.”

Both teams pushed late to win, and it was the Citadins who got the lucky bounce. In the 80th minute, a UQAM cross in the box wasn’t cleared well enough by a Concordia defender, and the ball ended up in the midfield with UQAM in possession. Citadins’s Janouk Charbonneau took a long-range shot which deflected off Mohamed Derouiche, and found the back of the net.

“I think it was an unlucky result, in the sense that it probably should have been a 0-0 game,” the head coach said. “But we didn’t play well either, we are a much better team than we showed.”

The Concordia Stingers soccer teams host the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes on Friday Aug. 31 at the Concordia Stadium. The men’s game is at 6:30 p.m., followed by the women’s game at 8:45 p.m.

Main photo by Alex Hutchins.


Preparing for the season months in advance

What the Stingers soccer coaches are looking for during the winter season

After playing in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) fall season, the Concordia Stingers soccer teams returned to the pitch for the winter season. The teams use the winter season for training, and even though they play seven games against teams in their league, results aren’t a priority for head coaches Jorge Sanchez and Greg Sutton. The Concordian talked to each coach about how they use the winter season to prepare their team for the fall.

Women’s team

The women’s team missed the playoffs by two points in the fall season, finishing in sixth place out of eight teams with a 3-7-4 record. Head coach Jorge Sanchez has the luxury of keeping almost his entire team intact for next season, as only graduating midfielder Alice Grandpierre is certain to leave the team.

“We have a good core of players, so it’s about figuring out who’s good in the system,” Sanchez said. “Towards the end of the season, we discovered how we wanted to play, and we discovered certain tactical changes that worked. […] So it’s just reinforcing it and getting players comfortable with it.”

Madeleine McKenzie prepares to throw the ball in during a game on Feb. 4. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

Sanchez noted that, even though the winter season is used to prepare for the fall season, he still wants his players to focus on staying competitive by winning.

“Part of the culture at this level is being part of a winning team, and you want to do that by winning games,” he said.

Despite frigid temperatures and a constant reminder that it’s not typical soccer weather outside, Sanchez said players know they need to commit to the Stingers in the winter as much as they do in the fall season.

“When we recruit them, we tell them if they come to Concordia, they will be playing soccer for an entire school year,” Sanchez said. “It’s not an off-season. It’s not a recreational time.”

Men’s team

The men’s team finished in sixth place out of seven teams in the RSEQ with a 3-8-1 record. In November, Sutton told The Concordian the season was marred by injuries, and there wasn’t enough experience on the team to replace the injured players.

In the winter league, he’s looking to play some younger players and players who didn’t compete as much during the fall season.

“We use [the winter season] as a testing ground for some of the guys who didn’t get to play in the fall, to see how they’re growing,” Sutton said. “And for our guys who played a regular role in the fall season, they need to continue to improve.”

During the team’s first three winter games, Sutton said forwards Simon Malaborsa, who led the team in scoring last fall with six goals in 12 matches, and Peter Campbell, who had two goals, have impressed him the most.

“When you have guys who come from the fall and they had a good season, you expect them to do that in the winter, and those two guys have done that,” Sutton said.

The Stingers also have two players on their winter team who didn’t play in the fall. According to Sutton, twins Andres and Martin Lopez had to sit out the season after transferring from the United States, but they will be playing next fall.

“Those two have a great ability on the ball,” Sutton said. “Now, we just need to make them understand what it takes to be successful in our league and the physicality they need to come with.”

So far this season, the men have a 3-0 record, and the women are 2-1. Their next games are on Feb. 11 at the Stingers Dome against McGill.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad. Video by Matthew Coyte and Antoine Heuillard.


Season marred by injuries, lack of experience

Confidence crushed after 0-3 start to the season, coach Sutton says

“It was difficult from a mental standpoint,” said Greg Sutton, head coach of the Concordia Stingers men’s soccer team, about the 2017 season. “I don’t think we were mentally strong enough after the start of the season to be able to get past [a 0-3 start].”

The Concordia Stingers finished the 2017 season in sixth place out of seven teams in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Quebec (RSEQ), with a 3-8-1 record. Two of the team’s three wins were against the league’s lowest-ranked team, the Sherbrooke Vert et Or.

According to coach Sutton, a mix of inexperience and injuries led to the disappointing season. Sutton said he and the rest of the coaching staff initially believed the season would end with the Stingers making a run for the playoffs.

The Stingers began the season with a series of games against the Université de Québec à Montréal Citadins, Laval Rouge et Or and the Université de Montréal Carabins. Those teams finished in the top three places in the RSEQ. The Stingers lost all three of those opening games, scoring three goals and allowing nine.

While the team missed the playoffs for a fourth-straight season, Sutton said he believes their record this year didn’t reflect their quality of play.

Forward Peter Campbell kicks the ball against the UQAM Citadins during the 2017 season. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

“We lost a lot of confidence starting the season 0-3,” Sutton said. “That can play with the boys’ minds. After that third game, we had to dig deep. We put together a few wins. We had some good performances, and we had some immature performances.”

Injuries to key players, such as defenders Corentin Aussems (fractured ankle) and Mateo Zazo (anterior cruciate ligament injury), early in the season forced the team to rely on younger, more inexperienced players.

“When [we lost] Aussems and Zazo […] we knew we were going to have a challenge defensively and offensively,” the coach said. “A lot of the [play] starts from the defenders and their ability to move the ball. Those guys have an [offensive] quality that not many of our other defenders have. These were injuries to not only good-quality players, but also quality leaders.”

Sutton said rookie striker Simon Malaborsa, who finished as runner-up for RSEQ rookie of the year, as well as midfielder Henry Barutciski and defender Philippe Audy, all played well throughout the season. Malaborsa scored six times this season, accounting for nearly half of the team’s 13 total goals.

“We had some players that we were really high on, and had expectations for them to be significant parts of our team, and for some reason just couldn’t handle the pressure or just couldn’t handle the strain of being a student-athlete,” Sutton said. “I can’t really say who because there were too many, unfortunately. As much as this game is physical, it’s also mental.”

Moving forward next season, Sutton said he believes the team’s success will come from staying healthy and getting the most out of key players. He’s optimistic that, with the growth and development of younger players, the team can bounce back next season. He added that the team’s goalkeepers, Karl Gouabé and Cameron Rae, are the two best keepers in the country when healthy.

“A lot of things you just can’t control,” Sutton said. “It just really seemed like luck wasn’t on our side this year.”

Main photo by Alex Hutchins


Frustrating forwards is more fun than scoring goals

Stingers captain Olivier Georges was turning heads even before his time at Concordia

I had the pleasure to get to know Olivier Georges, the centre-back who has captained the Concordia Stingers men’s soccer team for the last two-and-a-half years.

I spoke to him after a team practice, and the first thing that struck me was how different he was compared to when I’ve spoken to him after matches. Constantly smiling and very laid back, he didn’t seem like the same guy who’s so focused and intense during games.

My first time watching Georges play was at CEPSUM, on the Université de Montréal campus, where the Stingers faced off against the Carabins, a top team in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ). The game did not go Concordia’s way—the Carabins won 7-3—but the first thing I noticed was the centre-back wearing number 20 who was in control of his team even before the game started. He pumped his team up by vocally encouraging them before the game, and was directing his teammates on where to position themselves during the game.

His style of play and control of the Stingers back line was everything one could hope for from a defensive leader. Despite constantly being vocal and organizing the play, he always managed to calm his team down when on defence.

The more I watched the Stingers, the more he became one of the most consistent and entertaining players on the field.

Off the pitch, Georges is anything but the fiery and passionate defender who seems to be everywhere at the same time during the game. He is smiling and always willing to chat, even after a tough loss or a grueling practice.

At a young age, when most players wanted to score goals, Georges never really expressed a desire to play as a forward. He preferred defending his goal rather than attacking his opponent’s.

“Coaches would always ask me to go up forward because I was so fast, but I never really got into that,” Georges said. “I could always see the whole play from defence, and I always enjoyed frustrating forwards more than scoring goals.”

Olivier Georges right where he belongs: in front of his goalkeeper, defending his net, during the 2016 season. Archive photo by Alex Hutchins.

He isn’t afraid of stepping up to help his team attack, as he is good in possession of the ball. He embodies the newer generation of defenders like Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, who are rising in the professional ranks because they can shut down any attacking forward but could also score goals themselves.

Regardless of how comfortable with the ball or how quick he is, Georges always preferred playing defence. And he’s quite good at it too. Georges was named a RSEQ Second Team All-Star in 2014 and 2015, and a RSEQ First Team All-Star in 2016. The RSEQ All-Star teams consist of the best players in the conference from a given season.

For Georges, who also ran track and field and played varsity volleyball, soccer has always been his favourite sport.

“When I had to choose between [other sports] and soccer, there was no choice to make,” he said. “I’ve always loved being active, but my hand-eye coordination is terrible so it just makes sense that I play a sport where you’re not allowed to use your hands.”

Despite getting an offer to play for the semi-pro St-Hubert Soccer Club last summer, Georges is uncertain about his future career in soccer.

“I was way too busy, but maybe after I graduate I can think about playing there. But I have no definite plans for the future of my career,” he said.

Georges is currently studying Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). It offers a lot of opportunities to teach abroad and that is something he wants to do.

“That’s definitely been a dream of mine,” Georges said. “I’ve always been fascinated by travel and to be able to go abroad to teach would just be a dream come true.” Teaching also requires a lot of leadership and direction, which is what Georges shows with the Stingers right now.

Having been an integral member of the Stingers since his freshman year, Georges has experience with the hectic and perpetually busy life of a student-athlete.

“It’s definitely demanding. I have to take a bunch of evening courses since we practice every day from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. so I have to plan my schedule accordingly,” Georges explained. “But there’s no way I would ever give it up. I would be way too bored without this part of my life.”

Georges added that being part of the soccer team was also a great way to begin university. “Starting off with 23 new friends was a really good part of my first year.”

Although he will be saying goodbye to the Stingers jersey at the end of this year, he has left behind a lasting impression with the team. And I’m sure opponents won’t forget his ability to defend against attacking players either.

Main photo by Alex Hutchins

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