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Men’s soccer team funds charitable campaign with tournament proceeds

The University of Ottawa Gee- Gees’ men’s soccer team recently capped off their 10th year as a competitive club, and head coach Dave Piccini feels this year’s sea- son has been a great success.

“In the last two years, we’ve really taken a step forward with the program,” said Piccini. “[We’ve] become a lot more competitive. We’ve also added a lot more games to the schedule and really tried to get a lot more structure to the program in hopes of becoming varsity.”

One of the steps the men’s soccer program has taken with the aim of gaining varsity status has been hosting tournaments. Not only did the Gee-Gees cohost this year’s Canadian university preseason tournament in August, but they also ran the second annual U of O Movember World Cup Classic on Nov. 12.

“We have this wonderful field here that’s empty, so through the school we book the field for the day and we have a tournament,” he explained. “We make a donation to Movember, and the rest of the proceeds go toward our club team to fund our winter season.”

While the team is all for contributing to men’s health awareness, the decision to donate to the Movember Canada campaign was influenced by something more personal.

“We had a player two years back whose father passed away from prostate cancer, so he was the one who approached [coach] Marc-André Paulin [about creating a tournament] two years ago. [Paulin] and I agreed that it would be a great event to have.”

The tournament was open to any interested players at a cost of $350 per team, with the winning team scoring $1,000. This year’s Movember World Cup saw Matt Anthony Field flooded with over 250 soccer players from 20 Ottawa teams, each choosing a country to represent from around the world to go along with the World Cup theme.

While teams representing inter- national soccer favourites like Brazil and Argentina successfully qualified for the tournament playoffs, it was the groups who chose Japan and Scotland that would face off in the final game.

After several minutes of back and forth play in the final matchup, the team playing as Scotland opened the scoring with a low strike to the net’s left corner.

“It was hard for me, because I was one of the captains and I felt a little bit down,” said Sekouba Camara, a player representing Japan and a third-year striker for the Gee-Gees. “But the team had hope and we came back.”

After Camara scored a goal to tie the game with 10 minutes left of play, neither team was able to notch another point. With a tied score after regulation time expired, the game was decided by a shootout. Japan scored three goals to Scotland ’s two, successfully taking home the $1,000 prize and the title of tournament champions.

With the incredible player turnout and funds raised—both for charity and the men’s soccer program—Piccini believes the Movember Classic will continue to grow in the future.

“It would be a great, great tournament to have again,” said Piccini. “It’s now the second annual and it’s going to come back every year even better.”

The men’s soccer team will now take a two-month break before beginning their indoor season in January 2012.

—Keeton Wilcock