Alex Pigozzo wins gold with Team Canada
On July 22, history was made. Canada won gold at the 2018 IFAF U19 Championship, the second of back-to-back gold medals, the first time a country has done that in the event’s history.
In front of a crowd of 25,000 at the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City, Mexico, Canada prevailed by a final score of 13-7 over Mexico with the game coming down to the final seconds.
A key cog for Canada on offence was Laurier’s own Alex Pigozzo. The second year offensive lineman, carrying his past experience with Team Ontario in high school and his one year at Laurier, played a big role, playing every spot on the offensive line during the tournament and helping secure win after win.
“It was absolutely incredible. It’s a very humbling experience to know that we were the first ever to go down there and to win back-to-back championships. But not only that, just to know that I was able to represent Canada with a bunch of other absolutely amazing players, it’s absolutely incredible and it’s a memory that I’m definitely going to hold very high,” Pigozzo said.
“With coming back from a big championship team, the top dogs in this tournament, it kind of translates back to university and that’s the energy I wanna bring here, is that, whereas Laurier, we’re a good football team, we’re striving to be great and we want to win another championship and with that comes a championship kind of energy and mindset.”
Considering how invaluable versatility is in football, the hope is that the experience that comes out of this tournament for Pigozzo is that he can take it with him and be that much better of a football player and of great help to the Golden Hawks.
“It really helped me out in terms of furthering my football career. The goal was for me to be a more reliable player so that if the time comes and when, if a coach needs me to go in this or that, tackle, guard or centre, whatever, they can trust me in that spot because I’ve had experience playing all of them. So really, it just sort of helps round me out as a football player a little more reliable and versatile,” Pigozzo said.
While he knows there is still things to clean up and improve upon, Pigozzo knows he performed well and is proud of his performance. The biggest thing he gained outside of experience though, is a boost of confidence.
“The confidence boost is great because it helps you come into camp knowing that I can play at a very high level. With that being said, university football is an extremely high level of sports, especially for my age, it’s definitely the highest sort of competition I could find out there for football,” he said.
“But [Team Canada experience] certainly taught me a lot of things to appreciate more about football about my game. A lot of the minor details really do make a huge difference.”
Another thing he hopes to take with him is the championship mentality he gained from the tournament win.
“With coming back from a big championship team, the top dogs in this tournament, it kind of translates back to university and that’s the energy I wanna bring here, is that, whereas Laurier, we’re a good football team, we’re striving to be great and we want to win another championship and with that comes a championship kind of energy and mindset,” he said.
While Laurier hopes to rebound from their Yates Cup loss to Western in 2017, obviously the expectations and confidence still remain high for this upcoming 2018 season.
As for Pigozzo, things seem to be looking up as he looks to work his way up and push himself and his teammates with a confidence boost coming from one golden experience he’s had.