Canadians Make Impact With Men’s Soccer
Boasting three Canadians on its roster, Penn State men’s soccer decided Tuesday night’s game against Pitt would be Canada Night in honor of Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday.
The three Canadians — Dayonn Harris, Aymar Sigue, and Mitchel Bringolf — all started in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over the Panthers.
Fittingly enough, sophomore Ontario native Harris scored the game’s lone goal to propel the Nittany Lions to its first win and first goal in the past four games. Harris chipped the keeper on a breakaway in the 41st minute and followed his shot into the net to secure victory.
“I saw the goalie coming out so I just kind of chipped it up and then the goal was wide open for me,” Harris said. “We’ve been kind of struggling with goals for the past couple games, but this definitely sparked us. We’ve got a couple home games coming up and hopefully this could get us going again.”
Tonight wasn’t an anomaly for Harris or the other two Canadians on the roster. All three have played important roles in this team throughout the season.
Harris has started every single game this season. His speed and strength have made him one of the most dangerous players on the field, which was evident in his two-goal effort against now No. 1 Maryland.
Sigue, a junior transfer from Tulsa in his first season with Penn State, has scored two goals in his ten appearances this year. One of his goals was the game-winner in overtime against Oakland after he had been with the Canadian U-20 National Team in Costa Rica just 24 hours beforehand.
Bringolf, a freshman from Montreal, has started all but one game this year for the Nittany Lions. Coach Bob Warming has switched Bringolf from holding midfield to the center back on and off this year, forcing the rookie to be versatile in his first season.
The three have made themselves known to Warming, who has made Canada one of his recruiting pipelines the past couple years.
“No offense to any other country in the world including our own,” Warming said. “But Canada has to have the nicest bunch of human beings on the planet. They are such good human beings and so great to have on a team. They are very positive people and gosh knows we need positive people around us. I absolutely love the guys and if we get another opportunity we’ll go back and get another couple.”
Penn State took an opportunity last summer to expose its program to more Canadian soccer players.
The Nittany Lions played a handful of games up in Canada this past June. The team trained in a number of Canadian cities including Toronto and Montreal, and also had the opportunity to train at MLS club Toronto FC’s complex.
“I think one of the wonderful things that the NCAA has is that once every four years you can take a foreign tour.” Warming said. “Remarkably, the majority of our team had never been to Canada. There are not many foreign countries you can drive to, but this place was a great place to drive to to have a different cultural experience.”
While Warming is happy to have Canada as a pipeline for the team, he doesn’t expect to see increased international presence in his sides like some other teams around the country.
“Last year’s Final Four, there were three teams with ten foreign players on each team,” Warming said. “We’re not going to do that. I think you can sprinkle in a few, especially when they’re fantastic human beings like these guys are.”
With four more games in this five-game homestand coming up, the Canadians on this roster figure to play an important role as Penn State hopes to find itself in the postseason.