TORONTO — Christopher Campoli, a third-year midfielder from Ontario Tech University, was named the U SPORTS player of the year in men’s soccer, Wednesday night. Campoli, who hails from Woodbridge, Ontario, is the first Ridgeback to capture the Joe Johnson Memorial Trophy. In fact, he is the first Ontario Tech athlete in any sport to be named a national player of the year.
Other national award winners announced during the All-Canadian Banquet held in Kamloops, B.C., were UBC defender Eric Lajeunesse, who won the Lou Bilek Award for rookie of the year; Deven Doodnath of Nipissing, who won the Student-Athlete Community Service Award; and UNBC head coach Steve Simonson, who won Fox40 coach of the year honours.
The 2022 U SPORTS championship gets underway Thursday at Thompson Rivers University’s Hillside Stadium and culminates Sunday with the national championship game at 2 p.m. Pacific Time. All 11 games from the eight-team tournament will be webcast live on CBC YouTube Channel, with select games on Gem and cbcsports.ca in English, and all games in French at USPORTS.ca.
Official championship website: usports.ca/en/championships/soccer/m/info
JOE JOHNSON MEMORIAL TROPHY (player of the year): Christopher Campoli, Ontario Tech
Christopher Campoli, a third-year finance student, led the Ridgebacks offence this season with 13 goals in 11 matches. This put him atop the OUA and placed him second in the nation. Not only could he score, but Campoli also led the OUA in assists with six, while also finishing second in Canada.
This season he was recognized as the OUA East MVP, a first for the Ontario Tech soccer program. For the second time, he was named a first team all-star, a feat he previously achieved in 2019. In 2021 and 2022, he was also selected in the first round of the CPL-U SPORTS Draft. Campoli went fourth overall in 2021, followed by going third overall in 2022 to the Halifax Wanderers.
Since joining the Ridgebacks in 2019 he has scored 31 goals over 35 matches, making him the program’s all-time scoring leader.
“Chris has demonstrated tremendous passion, hard work and excellence on the field. He sets the standard for our players and assists them in being better on and off the field,” said Ridgebacks head coach Ramin Mohammadi. “Chris regularly communicates with the coaching staff and seeks advice on how to improve. The way he strives for excellence is admirable. It is a privilege to coach a player of this calibre.”
UNB forward Keji Adeniyi, Montreal midfielder Quentin Paumier and UNBC forward Michael Henman were the other finalists for the award.
LOU BILEK AWARD (rookie of the year): Eric Lajeunesse, UBC
Despite playing in his first U SPORTS season, Ottawa native Eric Lajeunesse showed poise and skill far beyond his years from his very first start for the UBC Thunderbirds. The 6-foot-2 defender not only played in all 16 regular season Canada West games, he logged more minutes on the pitch than any other Thunderbird and more than only two other players in the entire conference. A steady defender, Lajeunesse also showed his offensive flair and intelligence on the pitch, joining the attack and contributing with a goal and two assists on the season.
“Eric is a special player, and I don’t use that word loosely. I think he’s one of the best young players to come through our program in years. He’s got a very high ceiling given the qualities that he has,” said Mike Mosher, UBC’s head coach. “He has a lot of the intangibles, he’s got a great attitude, he’s intelligent, and he’s got a huge desire to play the game at a high level. He’s a very technical, left-footed centre back and he’s played almost every single minute for us this season. I’ve got a lot of time for him as a player and most importantly, as a person.”
Lajeunesse is the fourth straight winner of the award to come from Canada West, and is the fourth UBC player to win, following Adam Plummer (1999), Chris Serban (2014) and Thomas Gardner (2018).
Cape Breton midfielder Jacob Spizzirri, UQAM striker Alexis Jeanne, and Waterloo forward James Arango were the other nominees.
STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Deven Doodnath, Nipissing
On and off the field, Deven Doodnath has been a leader, and his all-around efforts have made him the 2022 U SPORTS Student-Athlete Community Service Award winner.
Doodnath, who hails from Scarborough, Ontario, has provided stability on the Nipissing back line as well as leadership as one of the team’s captains. He has been a fixture for the Lakers, but his impact extends beyond soccer.
The fifth-year senior is the Director of Community Relations for NUBASE (Nipissing University Black Association for Student Expression), focusing on creating initiatives that promote equity, diversity, and inclusion on campus and in the North Bay community. The education major is also a volunteer with the North Bay Support Group for Black and Brown People, has started and runs the men’s health initiative on campus, and assists with the support services for varsity athletes.
STFX midfielder Olivier Storset, Sherbrooke defender David Harrison and Mount Royal goalkeeper Sterling Kerr were the other nominees.
FOX40 COACH OF THE YEAR: Steve Simonson, UNBC
Steve Simonson has been named the 2022 Fox40 Coach of the Year as he helped transform a Timberwolves program into a serious contender. Simonson’s team finished with an 8-5-3 record, good for third in the Canada West Pacific Division after recording just two wins a season ago. He guided the T-Wolves to a strong second half, as they went on an eight-game winning streak going into the conference playoffs. Simonson helped his team capture program records for wins, goals scored and points. He righted the ship despite a slew of injuries throughout the season, creating a culture of passion and determination for his squad.
“He has worked extremely hard establishing a team culture, creating an environment where the players are accountable, with a focus on them becoming better players, better students, and better people. He has stayed true to that with his efforts recruiting, coaching, and time spent on his professional and personal development. I am so proud of Steve,” said Loralyn Murdoch, the UNBC athletic director. “It is special to be recognized by your colleagues from other institutions. His passions go beyond the win/loss column, and his team’s success on and off the pitch are evidence of that passion and drive.”
UNB’s Barry Morrison, UQAM’s Christopher Dutarte and Ontario Tech’s Ramin Mohammadi were also nominated for the award.
ALL-CANADIAN AND ALL-ROOKIE TEAMS:
The all-Canadian teams were also announced Wednesday. Joining Campoli, Paumier, Henman and Adeniyi on the first team were goalkeeper Sterling Kerr (Mount Royal), defenders Jacob Begley (Ontario Tech), Lewis Dye (STFX), Guillaume Pianelli Balisoni (UQTR), Caden Rogozinski (Mount Royal) along with midfielders Thomas Gardner (UBC) and Soji Olatoye (York). Rogozinski and Olatoye both won their second straight all-Canadian nods, while Gardner returns to the dream team for the first time since 2018.
On the second team is goalkeeper Taylor Miskolczi (Brock), defenders Kareem Sow (Montréal) and Jamie Watson (Cape Breton), midfielders Heikel Jarras (Laval), Jack Sears (Guelph) and Gabriel Wiethaeuper-Balbinotti (UQTR), along with forwards Thierry Côté (Montréal), Mohamed El Gandour (Mount Royal), Sean Freeman (Saint Mary’s) and Victory Shumbusho (UBC). El Gandour (2019, 2021) and Shumbusho (2017, 2019) are both three-time all_Canadians, while Sow and Jarras are repeat winners from last year. Freeman was on last year’s all-rookie team.
The all-rookie team consists of Lajeunesse, Spizzirri, Jeanne, Arango, along with goalkeeper Ludovyck Ciocciola (McGill); defenders William Omoreniye (Calgary) and Orion Wiersma (Saint Mary’s); midfielders Ilyes-Jaden Fradj (UQAM), Tiago Pereira (Brock), Tadija Vukas (Toronto) and Jonathan Walter (Mount Royal); along with forward and Samuel Barrowcliffe (STFX).
2022 U SPORTS MEN'S SOCCER AWARD WINNERS & ALL-CANADIANS
- Joe Johnson Memorial Trophy (player of the year): Christopher Campoli, Ontario Tech
- Lou Bilek Award (rookie of the year): Eric Lajeunesse, UBC
- Student-Athlete Community Service Award: Deven Doodnath, Nipissing
- Fox40 Coach of the year: Steve Simonson, UNBC
First Team All-Canadians
|GK||Sterling Kerr||Mount Royal||4||Calgary, Alta.||Psychology|
|D||Jacob Begley||Ontario Tech||4||Markham, Ont.||Kinesiology|
|D||Lewis Dye||StFX||4||Fall River, N.S.||Human Kinetics|
|D||Guillaume Pianelli Balisoni||UQTR||4||Bastia, Corsica||Physical Education|
|D||Caden Rogozinski||Mount Royal||2||Calgary, Alta.||Business|
|MF||Christopher Campoli||Ontario Tech||3||Woodbridge, Ont.||Finance|
|MF||Thomas Gardner||UBC||4||North Vancouver, B.C.||Science|
|MF||Soji Olatoye||York||5||Brampton, Ont.||Psychology|
|MF||Quentin Paumier||Montréal||3||Marseille, France||Economics|
|F||Michael Henman||UNBC||4||Victoria, B.C.||Business|
|F||Keji Adeniyi||UNB||4||London, England||Arts|
Second Team All-Canadians
|D||Taylor Miskolczi||Brock||3||Welland, Ont.||Kinesiology|
|D||Kareem Sow||Montréal||4||Sherbrooke, Que.||Mechanical Engineering|
|D||Jamie Watson||Cape Breton||2||Kirkcaldy, Scotland||Arts Community Studies|
|MF||Heikel Jarras||Laval||5||Quebec City, Que.||Statistics (M)|
|MF||Logan Rieck||StFX||2||Cambridge, Ont.||Human Kinetics|
|MF||Jack Sears||Guelph||3||Ajax, Ont.||Mathematical Science|
|MF||Gabriel Wiethaeuper-Balbinotti||UQTR||3||Trois-Rivières, Que.||Kinesiology|
|F||Thierry Côté||Montréal||2||Chicoutimi, Que.||Arts & Sciences|
|F||Mohamed El Gandour||Mount Royal||4||Calgary, Alta.||Business|
|F||Sean Freeman||Saint Mary's||2||Halifax, N.S.||Science|
|F||Victory Shumbusho||UBC||5||Chilliwack, B.C.||Arts|
|GK||Ludovyck Ciociola||McGill||Montreal, Que.||Management|
|D||Eric Lajeunesse||UBC||Ottawa, Ont.||Science|
|D||William Omoreniye||Calgary||Calgary, Alta.||Business|
|D||Orion Wiersma||Saint Mary's||Barrie, Ont.||Engineering|
|MF||Ilyes-Jaden Fradj||UQAM||Montreal, Que.||Business|
|MF||Tiago Pereira||Brock||Woodbridge, Ont.||Labour Studies|
|MF||Jacob Spizzirri||Cape Breton||Woodbridge, Ont.||Business|
|MF||Tadija Vukas||Toronto||Toronto, Ont.||Elec. Engineering|
|MF||Jonathan Walter||Mount Royal||Calgary, Alta.||Open Studies|
|F||James Arango||Waterloo||Mississauga, Ont.||Recreation & Leisure|
|F||Samuel Barrowcliffe||StFX||Princeton, Ont.||Arts|
|F||Alexis Jeanne||UQAM||Montreal, Que.||Ergonomics (M)|