Sports

Joey McGuire poses for CS Saint-Hubert with the Première Ligue de soccer du Québec. Photo: Courtesy of Dave Robertson.

McGuire talks student-athlete, semi-pro experience

Joey McGuire has quite the schedule.

The 25 year-old for the last few months had been practicing for the Gee-Gees’ men’s soccer club, going to teach as part of the teacher’s college program with the University of Ottawa, and then driving to Montreal every night right after to practice and play for CS Saint-Hubert of the semi-professional Première Ligue de soccer du Québec (PLSQ).

Then, he would drive back that very night to do it all again, and make it back for practice with the Gee-Gees in the morning.

“Being a student … you have not more free time per se, but you don’t have as many responsibilities, so there was that potential to do it,” McGuire said. “One week I decided I would do it, and we would see how it goes, and I just kept doing it.”

He said this arrangement actually worked quite well due to early practices for the Gee-Gees, allowing him to squeeze in teaching and travelling to Montreal five days a week, then factoring in the weekend games as well.

“Weekends were kind of crazy too because they’re usually two-day trips, and in the winter we play preseason games, so we’re down in New Hampshire, down in Maine, down in Manhattan,” he said. “So it was crazy this winter. Five days in a row, wake up, workout, go to school, drive to Montreal practice, come back, repeat. And then weekend games. So it was nuts. But it’s fun, and I’m happy with it.”

McGuire, now playing his last season with the Gee-Gees under coach Chris Roth, said it’s understandably a different style of play between the two leagues.

“On Saint-Hubert, we’re very closed defensively. So there’s a lot of coverage when you’re defending, there’s a lot of support,” McGuire said.”Whereas (Roth) lets us play more open, but more aggressively up the pitch. It’s a more brave style of football, and it’s kind of cool because it’s a nice transition for me.”

He said this allows him to play a more high-tempo game with the Gee-Gees than with Saint-Hubert.

However, McGuire said he still prefers the conservative style of play these days.

“For sure the Montreal style suits me better. I am getting older, and I don’t have the legs I had when I was 18, and so for me … if you watch most senior professional teams, the way we play in Montreal is the way teams play,” he said. “That’s because teams don’t have the same legs they did at 18.”

CS Saint-Hubert fared well in the PLSQ regular season, making it to the league semi-finals, where they would be knocked off by FC Gatineau, who would then go on to fall just short in the Cup Final.

As far as the future goes, McGuire said he’s looking at a few different options, as his contract with Saint-Hubert lasts only a year.

While he’s considered moving on to play soccer in England, he wants to continue to teach and coach.

“Right now I want to advance my professional career as well, in terms of education,” he said.

He plans to work in a Sportitude program, where he would teach soccer as his daytime job, while sticking with semi-pro soccer in Quebec.

“I’ll still play semi-professional soccer for another four-five years at least,” he said. “I love the roadtrips, I love being in the changeroom with the boys, I like training five days a week. It’s part of who I am.”

As of this publication, the Gee-Gees men’s soccer team has finished the regular season, defeating the Bishop’s Gaiters in their last game, and are now onto the playoffs at the Université du Québec en Outaouais.