A Step in the Right Direction

Stingers Rookie Andrew Bryan a Valuable Addition

  • Stingers striker Andrew Bryan winds up for a shot in Concordia’s 1-0 win against the UQAM Citadins. Photo Erin Sparks

In his debut with the Concordia Stingers men’s soccer team this past season, Andrew Bryan proved why he is a valuable player to the team.

Bryan had a stellar 2012 campaign, leading the team in points with five goals and two assists as he helped lead the Stingers to a playoff appearance. He was named the PJ’s Pub Athlete of the Week twice, first for the week of September 9 and then of October 21.

First playing soccer at the age of 4 in LaSalle, QC, Bryan credits his father for igniting his career.

“My dad was my inspiration,” he said. “He played semi-pro when he was younger. I have always watched all of his games.”

His family eventually moved to Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC, where he went on to play house league soccer, before eventually playing competitively.

“It was a big change,” he said. “I had never played competitively and it was a definite challenge to make the move from recreational to competitive soccer.”

Bryan then had a string of successful seasons with his CEGEP team, the John Abbott Islanders. Midway through his stint with the Islanders, team head coach Robert Baylis was contacted by Concordia University’s head coach Lloyd Barker, who showed interest in the striker.

Bryan said that Barker’s persistence convinced him to go to Concordia.

“He showed interest in me, basically keeping tabs on my season, seeing how I was doing and really wanting me to play for the team,” he said.

Unfortunately for Bryan, his first season as a Stinger was a difficult one. After starting off with a 5-0 loss to the Université de Montréal, Concordia won their home opener against the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières 2-0—before going 1-8-2 the rest of the way.

“I wish there was an award that could be for the whole team so we could all share it and not just one person being looked at for their performance, because my performance was a result on how my team played.”
—Andrew Bryan

“We played so much better than the score would show,” Bryan said. “We were just unlucky with some of the chances, and other teams were lucky.”

But luck was ultimately on Concordia’s side at the end of the season, as the use of ineligible players by McGill and UdeM had the Stingers move from last place in the league with a 2-7-2 record to 5-6-1 and a fourth-place finish along with a spot in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec semifinals against Université Laval.

While they lost that game 1-0, Bryan insisted the team still has a lot to be proud of.

“We all contributed on the field, offensively and defensively,” he said. “We all tried our best to play defense together and all tried our best to attack together.”

And despite the difficult season, one of the most important and apparent things the Stingers were able to do was bond as a team.

“Because we were so many rookies and so many new players, sometimes it was tough to gel, but we all did it collectively and everything was done as a team,” Bryan said. “It showed in our games.”

But only Bryan can say he was named to the RSEQ All-Star Team and the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Second-Team All-Canadian. Initially shocked by the recognition he received, Bryan said he is proud of all he accomplished this past season.

“It is definitely a good feeling and kind of overwhelming at the same time,” he said. “It wasn’t really expected and all I did was play for my team and I tried to do my best.”

Nonetheless, he insisted none of these successes would be possible without his teammates.

“I wish there was an award that could be for the whole team so we could all share it and not just one person being looked at for their performance, because my performance was a result on how my team played,” he said.

With this season behind him, Bryan is already looking forward to next year and can’t wait to get back out there with his team.

“I see us doing a lot better than we did this year,” he said. “Not to say that we didn’t do good at all; it’s just that from what I saw at the end of season, with all of us pulling together—and the way we played in the semifinals—was a great indication of how we can play as a team.”

And the team’s strong semifinal game performance could very well serve as a preview for the team’s potential success moving forward.

“It’s a vision into the future of how we are going to perform and how we can perform as a team—and that makes me really excited,” Bryan said.

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