For the Win
Soccer Rookie Kaitlyn Fournier Brings Goal Scorer’s Touch to Concordia Stadium
She whizzes by two defenders like hot metal through butter. The Martlets double-team her hoping to break her down. She explodes on the pitch; her wiry legs running, crisscrossing between enemies, dribbling a ball seemingly magnetized to her cleats.
“She’s so fast it’s hard to photograph her,” says a photographer assigned to cover the game.
Number 10, Kaitlyn Fournier, is the Concordia Stingers women’s soccer team’s new centre midfielder. Coach Sanchez recruited her in the hopes of adding some scoring power to his squad. Last year, the Stingers found the back of the net a dismal 10 times in 14 league games.
The 22-year-old rookie was quick to put her talent on display at Concordia Stadium, scoring two goals at a recent exhibition game in a 3-1 victory against Acadia University on Aug. 29. She added another against the University of New Brunswick on Sept. 1.
“I’m an attacking midfielder,” she says.
Despite the laconic replies, the Pincourt native isn’t timid when asked about her abilities or her team’s potential.
“I want to get as many goals as I can as a midfielder and take the team as far as we could go,” she says. “Playoffs, nationals would be good.”
This seems a tall order for a program that hasn’t reached the postseason in close to a decade. Still, the terse but candid Fournier doesn’t waver a minute about her team’s chances to win it all this year.
“Why not?” she says.
At the Stingers home opener, though, the McGill Martlets pour cold water on these aspirations. That night, the fresh-faced soccer team—10 players graduated last year—loses 4-0 to their crosstown rivals.
Still, even in defeat, Fournier shows flashes of her human highlight reel potential. Almost every time she touches the ball, her assigned defenders double back in a huff to catch up with the speedy midfielder. And when she streaks too close to the box, the Martlets are forced to become a phalanx to stamp out the threat. The unimpressed rookie dazzles, dribbling through the defense before the wall closes in on her, ending her run.
She gets too few scoring chances though. By the end of the game, her shoulders slouch; the Martlets have blocked her every attempt at finding space. She finally gets a break and pushes the ball down the wing. Even running on empty—she can only kick a lob that reaches the goalkeeper from a bad angle—she never gives up.
“I want to get as many goals as I can as a midfielder and take the team as far as we could go.” — Kaitlyn Fournier
“When I played with them in the winter, we got good results against two good teams, McGill and Sherbrooke,” she says. “So, we know that we can compete with them. I think that if we work hard we’ll go far.”
Fournier joined the team for their indoor season earlier this year. This is her second semester at Concordia; she is enrolled in Arts and Science courses. Before this, she played two years for John Abbott College.
“Both my years, we made it to provincial semifinals, which I think is better than what they had done in the past,” she says.
It seems the natural goal scorer encounters success everywhere she goes.
During the summer, she suits up for the Laval Comets of the USL W-League, the second tier of women’s soccer in North America. The competition is fierce with players hailing from all over the world. The team finished first in the Northeastern Conference and reached the National Semifinals in the playoffs.
Since the W-League is an open league, Fournier maintained her eligibility to play at the collegiate level. She played 10 out of this season’s 12 games, scoring once.
Stingers coach Jorge Sanchez was so proud he tweeted about her first game playing with the professionals.
Fournier started playing when she was five years old. She says she knew she wanted to play soccer from the start.
“I always was like a little tomboy so I was the rough one on the field,” she says. “Not the one picking daisies. So at about eight years old, I was known as being one of the better ones.”
Coach Sanchez recognized her skills early—first scouting her when she was 16—and is a major reason why she joined the Bees this year. The midfielder also likes the technical advantage of playing at Loyola.
“We have a training facility with a good coach there,” Fournier says. “Practicing every day. The group of girls is good also.”
However, those aren’t the only reasons she chose Concordia. She smiles as she mentions her teammates.
“Well, I have a lot of friends on the team,” she says. “I don’t have a favourite teammate. I like them all. They’re good.”
Home opener aside, if the past is portent of the future, the Stingers’ looks bright with number 10. If only she can touch the ball more often.