The University of Ottawa will host the 2018 U SPORTS women's soccer national championship November 8-11. The Gee-Gees have appeared in 13 national championship tournaments in the program's 25-year history, earning nine medals and cementing a tradition of success. Ahead of the 2018 U SPORTS championship, a group of Gee-Gees alumni reflect on their experiences at nationals, and what a home championship will mean for the program.
This week's alumni profile comes from Laurel Fougère, who wore the Garnet and Grey from 2006-2011 and attended four national championships. The OUA All-Star defender hails from Halifax, N.S. and studied Human Kinetics.
"Reaching a national championship in so many of my years at University of Ottawa really helped me to realize the correlation between hard-work and achieving your goals. The hard-work and dedication that led us to such success on the field also taught us such valuable life lessons that could translate to the classroom. The opportunities that soccer provided us were wonderful learning experiences, and the chance to get to go and participate in Championships in other cities and provinces was well worth the time and work. After my first year and first Championship, I knew I wanted to continue to succeed in soccer. It also motivated me to have a better year academically in my coming years at university."
"All of my clearest memories from national championships have to do with camaraderie and excitement. The excitement in the change-room before taking the field, the joy of our team scoring a goal or winning a game. The locker room after a hard loss that eliminated us and our teammates consoling one another. The excitement of exploring a new city together as a team, and the joy that we had made it this far together."
"The most enjoyable parts of competing at a national championship for me would be getting to experience a new place and play the best teams in the country with the people you have worked so hard with all season to get there. The time spent playing with your team while at the championships, knowing that for some players on your team it would be their last University game was bitter-sweet. It was unfortunate it would be their last game, but it also made it so much better for the players that their last games got to be at a national championship. It was great that the season was not cut short."
"My parents drove up from Halifax to watch when we played in the championships at University of Cape Breton. There were other families that also came that year. It is always special to have your family and friends there to support you and cheer you on, and I think that will make it so special this year for the team. Having your whole school there to cheer you on really motivates you."
"When I heard uOttawa was hosting nationals I was very excited for the team that they get to be a part of this unique experience. They get the chance to showcase their University and City and show them what were made of. I was also excited that the school would get to be a part of such a fun and exciting event and I knew that I would love to help out to make sure it was a championship they would remember."
"It would have been very exciting to participate in a national Championship in Ottawa. For anyone originating from Ottawa, which a lot of players often are, I think it is an extra special occasion, because your friends, family and fellow students get to see you represent your school at such a high level."
"Ottawa is a beautiful city with a lot to offer, the Rideau Canal, Parliament, the Byward Market, and the various beautiful NCC properties in the area including Gatineau Park. The chance for players from afar to come and experience their Nation's Capital is a rare opportunity. There is a huge soccer community in Ottawa and I think having the opportunity to go watch female soccer players compete at such a high level while also perusing their education is a great motivation for young athletes."