Cold northern temperatures or not, Keyano men’s soccer prepared for ACAC
By CURTIS J. PHILLIPS, Connect Weekly
With them all coming from different countries: Brazil and Jamaica. One thing they will all agree on – in unison; “It’s cold in Canada.”
Say hello to Pedro Bianchi, Kyle Cummings and Rodrigo Wogel Koebsch of the Keyano Huskies men’s soccer team. A soccer team that has been ranked No. 1 in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association polls, from coast-to-coast-to-coast, since September 29, 2015.
A soccer team, which will host the 2015 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Men’s Soccer Championships from October 30 to November 1, 2015 at SMS Equipment Stadium’s Shell Place, with five other teams lacing up their cleats in an attempt to stop the Huskies howl.
A soccer team that scored an impressive 43 goals in 10 regular season games at the ACAC, while allowing only six – thanks in part to Bianchi, Cummings and Koebsch totaling 32 goals between them. It was by chance that the three players have crossed paths.
Love brought Bianchi to Fort McMurray three years ago, not for love of soccer, but for the love of a girlfriend.
“I had been playing soccer at an academy since I was 13. And before I continued on, I wanted to travel a bit; spend six months somewhere and then return back to Brazil,” said Bianchi, who is from Paracatu MG, Brazil.
“My girlfriend’s family moved to Canada and she was going to Keyano College, so I came to Fort McMurray to visit her and (Keyano Huskies men’s soccer head coach Connor Brady) heard I was here and asked if I would like to try out for the team,” he said.
“I tried out for the team and he liked me, so I started talking to my parents at home about moving here and taking some courses (Environmental Technology).”
Bianchi would find success been named 2014-2015 ACAC Futsal Player of the Year. Of the original difficulties transitioning to life in Canada, Bianchi said, “English” and the “cold,” are the biggest factors.
“He is, in my opinion, one of the best players in the province offensively and defensively. He has the abilities to step up and take over the game when he does the right things. Every weekend, he is out there for us and we look for him to set the pace and tone.”
Of Bianchi, head coach Brady said: “He is, in my opinion, one of the best players in the province offensively and defensively. He has the abilities to step up and take over the game when he does the right things. Every weekend, he is out there for us and we look for him to set the pace and tone.”
It was that same Canadian autumn chill that sent shivers through the body of Koebsch when he arrived to Fort McMurray back in September 2013 from his hometown Rio de Janerio, Brazil.
With the rest of his teammates on the pitch – dressed only in shorts and tops, Koebsch (with teeth chattering) stood on the sidelines heavily layered with a jacket, sweats and a toque.
The words of head coach Brady were foreign to him in, as much as was a full-sized soccer pitch.
“My city is big and there is really no space for soccer fields, we played in closed gyms,” said Kobesch of the sport of futsal. “I had only played two or three games before on a soccer field.”
Kobesch echoes fellow countryman Bianchi of the cultural transition, “When I first got here I didn’t understand a thing the coach was saying during drills.so I had Pedro (Bianchi) help me. The winter…it was so cold here totally different from Brazil.”
Cummings, like Bianchi, came to Fort McMurray due to love, love of family and to be with his sister and her family.
“Before I came here, I checked out if Keyano College had a soccer team,” said Cummings, 20, who made the final cut for the Huskies and enrolled in the business administration program.
“I arrived four months ago and it was summer, so it was hot. Now, it is cold. I have not seen snow yet. If it snows (at ACAC Championships), it is still soccer and I will play my best.”
Of his scoring prowess in the ACAC (nine goals in seven games): “I have been scoring goals. Back in Jamaica, I was on the Under-17 National Youth Team.”
Of the key to winning the 2015 ACAC Men’s Soccer banner Wogel said: “We have to be calm and play our game.”
Huskies have a bye in the opening round playing a semi-final game on Saturday October 31, 2015 at 12 p.m. As for the entire team, they are ready to howl on Halloween… a Husky howl!
Catch you on the Rebound.
– Connect Weekly –