Gee-Gees

Emma Lefebvre
Lefebvre in action against York. Photo: Hailey Otten/Fulcrum
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Lefebvre has been a dominant player in the OUA throughout her time at the U of O 

Some players have careers that are so exciting and impressive that it feels like something out of a movie. 

The University of Ottawa’s own Emma Lefebvre has had one of those careers during her time with the Gee-Gees women’s soccer team. 

Since leaving her hometown of Kingston, Ontario to join the Gee-Gees in 2016, Lefebvre’s list of accomplishments has grown exponentially every single season. While the individual awards and acknowledgments Lefebvre has earned are incredible, it should be noted that she has left her mark on the Gee-Gees and will leave an impact on the program even beyond her fifth and final season. 

The decision to return to the Gees for the 2021 season was actually not always in the plans for Lefebvre, but things lined up. The pandemic prevented the 2020 season from being played, leaving Lefebvre’s fifth year of eligibility untouched. Needing prerequisites for grad school and wishing to continue playing soccer at a higher level meant her return to the Gee-Gees. 

“I returned to play my fifth year at the U of O for a few reasons. The Gee-Gees have an amazing coaching staff and very talented players,” Lefebvre said. “It made sense for me to return so that I could play at the highest level possible in order to keep my skills up as well as take classes at the same time.” 

“I was so eager and happy to be back to use my fifth year of eligibility the best way I can.” 

It has been quite a successful fifth year, too. The Gee-Gees finished the regular season undefeated, only missing out on a single win due to a 1-1 tie against Carleton on Thanksgiving day. Still, the 9-0-1 record earned the U of O 28 points on the season, first place in the entire Ontario University Athletics (OUA). 

Individually, Lefebvre leads the league in both points and goals scored. Her 12 regular season goals in 2021 contributed to her becoming the sixth player in program history to score 30 regular season goals. 

“I feel incredibly grateful and honoured to be recognized for this milestone,” said Lefebvre. 

When asked about Lefebvre’s impact on the program, head coach Steve Johnson’s initial response was simple. 

“Huge,” said Johnson. “[In] five years she’s the player that helps us build our attack and she’s the player who helps us [prepare] our defense. She is so important to us on both sides of the ball.” 

Nammi Nguyen, a rookie to the squad, attests to the effort Lefebvre puts into both the sport and the team. 

“On the field, she is simply constantly running and working her butt off,” Nguyen explained. “You’ll also see her doing individual work and shooting on top of regular team training often.”

“She leads by example. On the field, she always gives one hundred percent and the way she plays is inspiring to watch. Even as a sixth-year, she’s still very much a team player and doesn’t stray from doing the little things and helping out rookies.” 

Katerine Delev shared the field with Lefebvre for four years, and has witnessed her success on the field and in school. 

“I think we all look up to Emma as a student-athlete and as a person,” Delev said. “I’m grateful that I had the chance to play with her for four years. She is not just a striker that scores goals, she is a great defensive player that leads by example and makes others want to work hard too.”

Impressive performances throughout her career have earned her a great deal of recognition. She was named an OUA Second Team All-Star in both 2018 and 2019 as well as a Second Team All-Star in the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) Indoor series. 

Her awards go beyond the field, as she has earned a spot as a U Sports Academic All-Canadian every year since 2017. Lefebvre also earned OUA and U Sports Female Athlete of the Week for the week of Oct. 4 this season. 

“It feels great to know what I have contributed to this program over the past five years. Though, in all honesty, what stands out is the success we have achieved as a team,” Lefebvre said. “Not to mention all of the friendships and memories I have gained.”

During her time at the U of O, the team has medalled in OUA championships, won a U Sports National Championship on home turf, and travelled to China to win the 2019 FISU University World Cup for Canada. 

“The program has given me friendships and memories that will remain highlights of my experience at the U of O,” said Lefebvre. “Road trips, incredible wins, upsetting losses, a couple of championship titles- and hopefully one more- and everything in between.” 

Lefebvre does not intend for this to be her last season of soccer. She is looking to play at the professional level in Europe, a path that some of her former teammates have taken. 

“I have an agent and will be updating my highlight video once this season is finished,” Lefebvre said. “I would love to play in France or Spain.” 

“I have always loved soccer from a young age, and am striving to play soccer at the professional level.” 

Until then, there’s still work to be done. Lefebvre has a few more games in the Garnet and Grey and is sure to end her career off with a bang.

“I came into the season wanting simply to do my best. It was a long break with the pandemic and I was excited to get back on the field,” said Lefebvre. “I’m really happy I have been able to convert opportunities to goals for my team this season. We will be working hard every practice and game to ensure this success keeps coming!” 

The Gee-Gees defeated the Rams 2-0 in the OUA quarterfinals to send them to the semi-finals. The game will be hosted on Matt Anthony Field, and will be a rematch of the U of O’s toughest game all season. The matchup against the Queen’s Gaels will determine who moves ahead to the OUA Championship.