Throughout the 2017-18 season, U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our new interview series “Getting to know…”
Name: Marie-Joëlle Vandal
School: Université Laval
Year of eligibility: 4th
Hometown: Lavaltrie, Que.
1. What attracted you to Université Laval?
I love Quebec City! During my research, I learned that Université Laval always had a competitive soccer team, as well as high standards of excellence in both sports and academia.
2. What’s your favourite memory, and your greatest athletic achievement as a U SPORTS student-athlete?
Our 2014 U SPORTS championship. No other Quebec university had ever won a national title before, and we won it at home in front of our fans. Everything fell into place for us to win.
3. Where are you hoping your path will take you after university?
Having taken part in the last two Universiades with Team Canada, I hope that my university experience will be a stepping stone towards pursuing a professional career.
4. Who’s had the greatest influence on your athletic career?
When I was 10 years old, Francisco Oltra was my goalie coach in Lanaudière, Que. He constantly pushed for us to always give more and more. Push harder, make the save. Getting scored on isn’t okay - that was his philosophy and thanks to him, it’s mine today. It’s who I am.
5. Who is someone in the sports world, past or present, with whom you’d love to have dinner with? Why?
David Beckham. He had an exceptional sporting career while being family-oriented. He managed to maintain a great balance between the two.
6. What is your pre-game ritual? Do you have any superstitions/idiosyncrasies around preparing yourself for a game?
I always listen to music in the locker room to get me in the zone, somewhere between relaxation and concentration. I always leave much earlier than the rest of my team to prepare since I need a consistent warm-up. I also need to make a good save during warm-up before the game begins. It’s a must!
7. What’s your go-to song to get pumped up for practice or a game?
I listen to dance or Latin music. Something that makes you move a little. Nothing calming.
8. What’s your favourite social media account to follow?
I don’t follow anyone in particular. I follow teams like PSG, Real Madrid, and FC Barcelona. Major European teams, yes, but not necessarily public figures.
9. If you could try another sport, what would it be and why?
I would say tennis, which I love watching but am not very skilled at! It’s a complete sport where you’re alone and depend solely on yourself.
10. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you as an athlete?
An easy shot that goes between your legs is always embarrassing. It’s happened to me before in a game. It’s not great either if the ball passes over you, hits the post, bounces off your head and into the net.But that’s never happened to me during a game – only in practice!