Behind the Hawk: Sandro Stojakovic
It’s hard to believe that only one year ago the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s soccer team finished the season second last in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) west division with only three wins on the year.
This season, the Hawks sit in fourth place in their division with six wins and two games yet to be played.
Part of the team’s newfound success is due to performances from new additions such as first-year forward Sandro Stojakovic whose four goals are the second most on team and tied for eleventh in the entire OUA.
Stojakovic, a Waterloo native, was drawn to Laurier not only because it was close to home but also because of his experience with the team’s head coach Mario Halapir.
“[Halapir] coached me when I was younger in his program, Elite Athletes,” said Stojakovic. “I always found that he was a great coach. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had in my life.”
It’s not only great coaching that has set the team on track.
Stojakovic explains how a collective appetite for victory has sparked new life into the Golden Hawks this year.
“There’s a lot of first-years, a lot of new people that want to do very well and everyone that’s here from before also wants to improve on last year’s season so I feel as though there’s a lot of desire to do better this year,” he explained.
Stojakovic attributes his success this year to his ability to depend on his team: “we’re all a family we all work together; I think that everyone believes in each other and we all work very well together.”
He describes how there is a great sense of equality on the team; the veteran players welcome the newcomers as they all share a common goal.
“We all look at each other as one team,” said Stojakovic. “It’s a very nice atmosphere.”
Stojakovic maintains a very busy schedule, as having skipped a grade he is still eligible to play for his top-ranked club team: the Erin Mills Soccer Club.
“I’ve been playing university soccer and also going to games and some practices with my club,” said the rookie.
He also spends what time he has left working at the Terrace and coaching at Elite Athletes, an impressive resume for a 17-year-old communications major.
“You’ve just got to organize your schedule,” said Stojakovic. “It’s all about time management.”
Stojakovic’s greatest soccer achievements include practicing with the Ontario provincial team as well as attending the Toronto Football Club Academy. However, now he has his sights set on a much higher goal:“I want to go to nationals and I want to win nationals.”
As the team continues to recruit and develop skilled young players like Stojakovic he might just see this dream become a reality.