CCAA championship contender: Université de Saint-Boniface
The underdogs fight for top spot at the CCAA championship
By Samantha Holomay
A Université de Saint-Boniface graduate and former soccer player, coach Seif Dhaoui now hopes to pass his knowledge to his players as they attempt to earn their first medal at the CCAA men’s national championships.
The only francophone University in Manitoba, USB has captured the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference title five times, most recently in 2017. But their presence at nationals is only recent, having joined the CCAA in 2019, and only permitted to participate in the final championships starting in 2021.
St. Boniface beat Brandon 4-3 in the final of the MCAC to secure its berth at the nationals, which run Nov. 9-12 in Langley, B.C.
USB going in as the underdogs
St. Boniface will enter the championship as underdogs, ranked outside the top 15 of the CCAA’s season rankings.
“I just want the team to experience and see a different level of play than what they’re used to,” said Dhaoui, who added that he hopes his roster of reasonably young dynamic players take advantage of the exposure.
Les Rouges striker Ayman Soussi said the team once lacked unity and had to learn how to be cohesive to win. They stuck with it and eventually the tide turned.
“I’m glad we put everything together when it mattered,” he said, adding it was a real highlight when they beat Brandon University in the conference final to represent Manitoba at Nationals.
Eric Lemoine, the team’s communications and athletics director, said the crucial part is that the players give everything they’ve got, no matter what.
“Regardless of the outcome, you leave everything on that field,” he said. “And I think we’re going to have stronger people and stronger athletes just by participating at this level.”