Gaels excel at OUA Soccer Showcase

Four Gaels excel at annual event

Jesse de Boer was one of four Gaels at the OUA Soccer Showcase.
Jesse de Boer was one of four Gaels at the OUA Soccer Showcase.
Journal File Photo

Top Queen’s athletes got the chance to exhibit their talents at the OUA Soccer Showcase earlier this month in Oshawa.

The women’s and men’s games each featured a pair of Gaels on the OUA East teams on May 2-3. Striker Brittany Almeida and midfield Jessie de Boer represented the women in the Saturday afternoon contest, while goalkeeper Max Materne and midfielder Henry Bloemen played for the men’s side in the Sunday game.

Both teams came out successful with the women’s East side winning 2-0 over the West while the men’s did the same by a 4-2 score.

The event was organized by the Ontario Youth Soccer League (OYSL) alongside the OYSL  university fair.

Queen’s women’s head coach Dave McDowell worked alongside the coaching staff for the women’s game. He said the high quality of play was one of the best parts of the weekend.

“Not as much scoring as you’d see in some other all-star games,” McDowell said, “but it’s nice to worry less about tactics and more about … things like people getting to play with their teammates and work together as a team.”

While not an all-star game per se, the showcase helped display the quality and opportunities the league offers. McDowell saw the opportunity to use the showcase as a recruiting tool, as the crowd included many prospective athletes from grades 10-12, who were also attending the university fair.  

McDowell said the event is an opportunity to get closer to fellow OUA athletes and coaches.

“There are some people on other teams you’d love to hate because they’re such good players,” he said. “But you get to know them at an event like this and you realize they’re also real quality people too. You don’t get a lot of time to socialize during the season so I really enjoyed it.” 

Almeida agreed with McDowell.

“It was a really cool opportunity to show the calibre of the OUA,” she said, “and also get to play with girls you’ve played against so many times.”

While the athletes may stay the same, Almeida said she knew that it’d be different this upcoming year playing against people she called her teammates for a game. 

“There’s a sort of new respect for them,” she said, “[that] maybe you didn’t have before because you’d never met them off the field.”

Almeida also helped McDowell with the recruiting process, talking to many of the high schools athletes who’re deciding what university they’d like to attend.

“You hope some of the conversations you’ll have will sway someone into coming to Queen’s,” she said. 

Over on the men’s side, goalkeeper Materne saw the opportunity as a swan song of sorts, as his Queen’s athletic career has finished after five years.  Materne, who’s currently pursuing his graduate diploma in business at Queen’s over the summer, relished the casual nature of the experience compared to the competitiveness of the OUA. 

“It’s not too serious but more just a fun time,” he said. “It’s cool to play on the same team as people you’re supposed to hate during the year.”

Materne noted that while he made his own mistakes during the match, it wasn’t as costly as it could’ve been in a non-exhibition game.

“They scored a nice direct free kick against me,” he said. “But I wasn’t too worried about the result. I was just having fun out there playing one last time.”


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