From the gridiron to the pitch

Two former Laurier football players made the switch to soccer this season


Photo by Kha Vo
Photo by Kha Vo

Two former Wilfrid Laurier University football players decided to take their talents to another team.

Fourth-year forward Tyrell Wilson and third-year goalie Julien John tried out for the Laurier men’s soccer team, a year after playing for the football club. After participating in their training camp, they both earned spots on the team, becoming the new goalkeeper and a new forward, respectively.

Making the switch from football to soccer was not an easy decision for the two of them, and it ultimately came down to several factors.

For John, playing time and being able to contribute to the team were major factors to him switching sports.
Over the summer he decided that although he enjoyed football, it just wasn’t for him.

“I kind of lost the fire in the off-season,” he said. “I didn’t prepare like I have the past seasons.”
John also went to high school with midfielder Jordan Kotsopolous, and played soccer with him when they were in school.

“We were talking about it kind of jokingly and I decided in the back of my mind that I was kind of considering it,” John said.

“But I really kept it to myself until I decided.”

John is still really close with his past teammates in football, and is even living with a few of them still.

Wilson was also looking for more playing time in soccer.

“After the East West Bowl, I went into my fourth year, I didn’t really get the opportunity to play as much as I like,” he explained.

Wilson also wanted to try soccer to see if he was good enough to make the university team.

He trained all throughout the summer with his old club, the Hamilton Spartans, before the Hawks training camp in August.

“[I wanted] one more opportunity in soccer to see if I still had it, and then play in university and then see where it goes from there,” Wilson said.

“Maybe [I’ll] try and play competitively after university.”

Although both athletes enjoyed the strategic aspect of football and enjoyed their time playing with the team, they both decided it was for the best.

One of the most challenging parts of the transition for both athletes was the amount of work and commitment they had to put in from switching to playing full-time football to full-time soccer.

Their training changed because the two sports are a little different.

Wilson noted that soccer requires much more conditioning and running than its counterpart.

“Football is really demanding time-wise,” Wilson said.

“You have to be in the gym and doing your work on the field as well as off the field. It’s really about explosion and weight lifting and being very powerful, but with soccer it’s more about playing and just getting your touch.”

“[The training] hasn’t been a struggle as much as the technical side [of soccer]. I’m still not technically sound at all because I haven’t really played much at all, so it’s going to take some time to get that back,” John said.

Ultimately, both athletes are happy with their decision to switch over to playing soccer this year and are looking forward to the upcoming year.
”I felt like it could make my final year really fun and possibly special, and right now it’s going according to plan,” Wilson said. “I’m having a great time.”

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