Kingston’s pro soccer team will take full advantage of Queen’s soccer resources.
Kingston FC will play their home games at Queen’s West Campus — the Gaels’ home base in the fall. They’ve also recently signed five impactful players from Queen’s for the upcoming Canadian Soccer League (CSL) season.
Former Gaels midfielder Jordan Brooks and defender Austin White are both entering their second season with Kingston FC. Current Gaels captain Joe Zupo is a newcomer, along with fellow central defender David Tom and graduating winger Nathan Klemencic.
Zupo isn’t overly concerned about the pressures that come with playing in a professional soccer league.
“I don’t think making the shift to CSL is going to be that difficult for me,” Zupo said. “I’m used to playing in matches where the stakes are high.”
The 2010 rookie of the year has also been an OUA All-Star three straight years. This past season, Zupo and Tom led the Gaels to eight goals against in 14 games — tied for best in the OUA.
“At Queen’s, I’ve learned to play with older players and players who are physical,” Zupo said, adding that the speed in both leagues should be comparable.
Both Zupo and Tom are signing amateur-level contracts with Kingston FC — meaning they won’t get paid — but for Zupo, the benefits are clear.
“Getting a chance to play with these top quality strikers, especially with two defenders and two centre backs, will only make what was already a really good defence one of the best in the country,” Zupo said.
“[We’ll be] only stronger, and can only make our relationship as center back partners stronger.”
Gaels head coach Chris Gencarelli sees the Queen’s-Kingston FC relationship as mutually beneficial. He said Kingston FC is always aiming to add more Kingston talent to its roster.
“The long term benefit is having players take advantage of staying in Kingston, being able to utilize our athletic facilities here in town, playing at a high level and playing with each other,” Gencarelli said. “It’s also another recruiting tool.”
The Gaels finished 11-1-2 this past season before falling to McMaster in the OUA Final Four. The five signees begin their regular season with Kingston FC in the spring.
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