The first person who should come to anyone’s mind when thinking about who embodies passion, determination and commitment to achieving a goal is Algonquin Wolves men’s soccer team player Oscar Forward.
Forward fell in love with soccer at age 13, partly thanks to his English background on his mom’s side, where soccer is everything.
“I became obsessed with soccer. I quit every other sport and started really getting into it, and once I got into it, I got attached. Before school at 6 a.m. in the morning, I’d go train at Carleton University fields every day,” said Forward.
While he has played for other post-secondary institutions, such as Humber College and Concordia University, Forward finds a special connection to Algonquin College.
“I’ve created a really good relationship with all three of our coaches. I love our physio staff, even the people that work at the front desk (of the Z building). It’s a whole family and community feeling.”
Forward leads by example and was given the role of co-captain this past season for the Wolves. He is considered the heartbeat of the team by many of his teammates.
“He’s always had a drive for himself and his teammates to do everything in their power to win games on the soccer pitch,” said Wolves goalkeeper Nicholas Parry. “As he’s matured as a soccer player at Algonquin, he’s been able to channel that drive to become a leader that everyone on the team can look up to. He’s a dedicated athlete and will always set the tone in terms of hard work and quality on the training pitch and in games.”
Teammate Michael Iliopoulos shared the same feeling, explaining that Forward leads both with his actions and his words.
“He motivates us and keeps us accountable. He’s got all our backs if we were to get into a tackle or get hit. I know he’ll be there to back any one of us up,” said Iliopoulos.
Forward is a very humble, intelligent and, if necessary, fiery person, which makes him not only a terrific teammate but a great player to coach.
“You have to make them (your teammates) understand why you want to push them and why you get upset,” said Forward.
“One time, I had one of our strong players ask me why I’m so hard on him so I pulled him to the side and told him him it’s because I know you shouldn’t be doing that because you’re better than that and I expect you to be better than that every single day. I told him that because I care,” said Forward.
Coach Angus Wong expressed his appreciation for Forward’s character, a quality evident in both game situations and daily interactions. This sentiment is not only shared by him but also resonates throughout the entire staff.
“Oscar is an intelligent player who understands what we’re trying to coach, why, and how to implement it on the pitch. Oscar is personable and is well-liked by the staff,” said Coach Wong.
The Algonquin Wolves finished their regular season with six wins, three losses and one draw, falling short in the playoffs in the quarter-finals against Conestoga College, which went on to win the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association’s championship.
Wong’s evaluation of the season was a positive, saying his team showed it was capable and is heading in the right direction.
“We had moments this season where we played like a team who could compete against and beat anyone in the CCAA. Unfortunately, we didn’t perform well enough in the big games to achieve our goal, ” said Wong.
Forward is determined to ensure next season will be an improvement and more akin to the 2014-15 season when Algonquin men’s soccer team last secured the OCAA championship.
“I can only imagine what it would be like to bring a gold medal back (to Algonquin College). I just want to win for the school, because we haven’t had a good period in soccer, where we normally dominated for years for a while, so I kind of want to bring that back,” said Forward.