York Lions soccer players Francesco Bruno and Jamaal Smith have been named to the Canadian men’s soccer team for the 25th International University Sports Federation (FISU) Summer Universiade. The international sports event will be held in Belgrade, Serbia, from July 1 to 12.
Left: Francesco Bruno
The FISU selection is yet another accolade in what has been a tremendous year for Bruno, a star midfielder on the York Lions men’s soccer team. A Toronto native, he is the reigning Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) soccer player of the year and was the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) finalist for the CIS athlete of the year award – the BLG Award – founded by the national business law firm Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. He has also been a first-team all-Canadian and a first-team OUA all-star in each of his first two CIS seasons. Internationally, he represented Canada at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates, where the team reached the quarter-finals.
This past season, Bruno was a CIS tournament all-star as the Lions won the national title, the program’s first in 31 years.
Fellow national champion Smith, who hails from Mississauga, Ont., has been a dominant defender in his two seasons with the Lions. The CIS and OUA rookie of the year in 2006-2007, Smith played a key role on the Lions defence at the national tournament as the team did not allow a single goal in three games en route to the gold medal.
Right: Jamaal Smith
Canada is coming off its best performance in history at the Universiade in men’s soccer with a fourth-place finish at the 2007 Games in Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to 2007, the Canadians had never advanced past group play in four previous appearances at the tournament.
The Lions soccer stars will be joined on the squad by 16 other men, including three others from the OUA. In total, the team is comprised of 15 players from CIS schools and three from National Collegiate Athletics Association universities. They will be led by head coach Mike Mosher, the head coach of the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.
Team Canada flies out of Montreal on June 21 and will hold a one-week training camp in Belgrade before kicking off the 16-team Universiade tournament with Group B contests against the Czech Republic on June 30, Morocco on July 2 and the Ukraine on July 4.
The quarter-final round is set for July 6, the semifinals for July 8, and the bronze and gold medal games for July 10.
The Canadians are in tough in Group B as the Ukraine is reigning Universiade champion, while Morocco and the Czech Republic claimed bronze medals in 2005 and 2003, respectively.
Canada’s schedule and draw
- June 30 – Preliminary Group B: Canada vs. Czech Republic
- July 2 – Preliminary Group B: Canada vs. Morocco
- July 4 – Preliminary Group B: Canada vs. Ukraine
- July 6 – Quarter-finals
- July 8 – Semifinals
- July 10 – Bronze and Final
- Group A: Serbia, Mexico, Great Britain, Ghana
- Group B: Ukraine, Canada, Czech Republic, Morocco
- Group C: Italy, Uruguay, Ireland, Korea
- Group D: Thailand, Japan, France, Brazil
Canadian team’s past results
- 2007 (Bangkok, Thailand): 4th place
- 2003 (Daegu, South Korea): 15th place
- 1995 (Fukuoka, Japan): 15th place
- 1993 (Buffalo, United States): 16th place
- 1979 (Mexico City, Mexico): 12th place
Submitted to YFile by Alyson Grant, sport & recreation information officer, with files from CIS