Not many times in ones sporting career is the chance to win a championship at home presented, but for the University of Montreal, that’s exactly what slipped through their fingers on Sunday afternoon.
In front of the best support, one could imagine for U Sports soccer, the Montreal Carabins and University of Quebec Trois Rivieres put on the most entertaining game anybody could have hoped for.
In just the first half, there were two yellow cards (one aside) a missed penalty and a goal for the away team; certainly a lot of entertainment for the fans who packed every corner Cepsum stadium
First of all, the support that both teams had at the match was unbelievable. I have covered U Sports for three years, and I have never seen the level and passion of support that I did in the final.
Both team’s supporters set off smoke bombs, waved flags and chanted until their lungs began to hurt. It was a true showing of school passion, something that there is not enough of in Canadian university sports.
The passion in the stands bled onto the field; both teams were furious in their pursuits of loose balls and tackles, leading to a highly entertaining match of football. Not only did the fans of the Carabin show up, but so did the Patriotes fans, with the two combing a truly special atmosphere.
Although winning at home would have been special for the Carabins, but history wanted otherwise, choosing to give itself a prominent role in the final.
UQTR had never won a championship until this point, with the win they made history.
A goalkeeper hadn’t kept three clean sheets ever in the tournament; with that, Felix Clapin-Girard made history.
The tournament’s final whistle had never been triggered by a goal; with that the match made history.
It’s safe to say this was not a match or tournament will soon be forgotten by anyone involved with the Patriotes.
The best performance of the final belonged to Felix Clapin-Girard, who made 17 saves in the en route to the goalkeeper’s perfect tournament. Never has U Sports seen a goalie be as dominant and carried the weight of his team as much as Clapin-Girard did with the Patriotes.
During the pure joy and ecstasy of his celebrations, he was able to speak briefly with 49.
“It’s unreal, so so happy. My defenders did so well today, so strong” said the keeper, tipping his hat to his defenders who disrupted many Montreal attacks.
However, it was not just the final where he stole the game- he stole the whole tournament. 49 asked him whether making the first few steps in the final gave him momentum to continue his strong form all the way to the final kick. In response, he said “This game? The Whole tournament I had confidence!” The young man is very happy with his current form and his tournament as a whole. He was named the goalkeeper of the tournament following the match.
There are hundreds of soccer games coast to coast in a U Sports soccer season, with over 1000 athletes lacing up the boots in hopes of becoming national champions. For UQTR, the national championship was only a dream at the start of the season. By the end, they have become one of the best underdog stories ever in U Sports and possibly in Canadian soccer history.
The interview with Felix Clapin-Girard was conducted in french