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TMU Bold men's soccer player Luca Di Marco runs with the soccer ball
(CELINA CHUGANI/The Eyeopener)
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Bold find answer to rival Varsity Blues, off-field questions remain

By Mitchell Fox

With results still to come in about an investigation into “serious and concerning behaviour,” the Toronto Metropolitan University Bold men’s soccer team is surging ahead with their season.

The Bold defeated the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 1-0 on Saturday night at Downsview Park, turning their season record to 2-2 due to two forfeitures at the beginning of the season.  

“It wasn’t pretty but we’ll take it,” said Bold head coach Filip Prostran about the win. 

On Sept. 4, the university released a statement through an email to The Eyeopener stating they had suspended all team activities. On Sept. 8, it was announced team activities and games would continue while a “thorough and independent investigation” took place.

“To be honest, it’s old news for us,” said Prostran on the investigation. “We’re just focusing on the next game, focusing on the academics and the season ahead.” 

Prostran also responded there has been no news to the team or any meetings with investigators.

“All I know is it’s ongoing,” he added.

The Bold won the game on the back of a strong second half, where they found their desired style of play and gave a skilled Varsity Blues team all they could handle.

Both teams found their fancy footwork in the first half, using backheels and a variety of trick plays to keep the ball moving forward. Though the Bold moved up the field at times, they did not control the match as they hoped.

“I just told the guys that we were kind of losing the fight of the game,” Prostran said. “We were losing the first balls and the second balls and the tackles and these kinds of things.”

TMU midfielder Chris Campoli, who scored the game’s only goal, said Prostran told the team they were not playing to their potential, so they fought to find their best game in the second half.

“We showed what we can do in that second half,” Campoli said. “We created a lot more chances and, as you saw, all it takes is really one chance to win a game.”

In the 60th minute of the game, third-year defender Brandon Barone sent a long pass to third-year left-back Colin Gander, who placed a left-footed cross to the top of the box. The play gave Campoli space to gather the ball and blast it past second-year Varsity Blues goalkeeper Alex Lin. 

“Colin with that left foot… he’s so good at just putting balls in the box,” Campoli said. “Once I saw his eyes kind of flare up into the box, I made that run and I knew he’d find me.”

The team celebrated the goal near the sidelines, where former Bold team captain Christian Westlaken was watching. 

The goal was Campoli’s third of the season, setting a pace similar to his Ontario University Athletics-leading and U Sports Player of the Year-worthy 13-goal performance last season with the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks. 

Campoli said it is always nice to see the ball hit the back of the net.“That’s what I was brought here to do,” he said. “I’m just glad that so far to start the season I’ve been able to produce.”

A perhaps less recognizable name who made his mark in the game for TMU was second-year goalkeeper Dante Ferraro. The Mississauga, Ont. product is playing a greater role than he has in the past, already matching his two career starts entering the season.

Prostran said Ferraro is “an unsung hero” for a team whose star scorers are usually the ones being talked about. 

“Dante is a guy that’s just been kind of hanging out in the shadows making big save after big save,” Prostran said. “I think it’s a sign of a great goalkeeper when he goes unnoticed.”

Ferraro made six saves in the game, including a crucial save at the left post in the 73rd minute to stop first-year Varsity Blues forward Andrea Schifano. 

“The adrenaline you get from the game is unreal, especially when it’s a derby match against the rival team,” the goalkeeper said.

As a result of Ferraro’s play and the team’s overall defensive play, the Bold have yet to allow a goal in their two games played. 

“[If] you don’t get scored on, you don’t lose games,” said Campoli.

Last season’s U Sports Player of the Year went on to praise TMU’s defence—crediting the backline for TMU’s hot start in the matches they’ve played thus far. 

 “The [backline have] obviously been our backbone to start this year off,” Campoli added. “Hopefully they can keep it up and we can keep clean sheets going.”

The team’s need to win is fuelled further by two losses as a result of the season-starting forfeitures. Campoli said though the team never needs a boost to want to win games, they may have a bit of a fire under them. 

“Every game is a must-win game. Obviously losing those two, we’re trying to go perfect now. And that’s what we believe we should do,” Campoli said.

Ferraro said the team has maintained “positive vibes” as they look past the investigation, which they aren’t allowed to talk about. 

“We’re a brotherhood over here. We don’t get down on each other. We just keep everything going and just focus on the game,” Ferraro said. “All I am focused about is the games in the future and continuing [in our goal] to win the national championship.”

UP NEXT: The Bold look for their third-straight win of the season against the Queen’s Gaels on Saturday, Sept. 23 in Kingston, Ont. Kick-off is set for 3:15 p.m. 

With files from Ilyas Hussein and Daniella Lopez

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