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Demers bringing confidence from the octagon to Kodiaks net after unique road to soccer

Click to play video: 'Demers bringing unique experience to Kodiaks’ net' Demers bringing unique experience to Kodiaks’ net
The Lethbridge College Kodiaks men’s soccer team has recruited a number of exciting local products ahead of the upcoming ACAC season, including an MMA fighter turned goalkeeper who’s hoping to grab the starting job. Danica Ferris has more. – Jun 25, 2021

With college and university sports set to restart this fall, teams are using the summer to finalize rosters. For the Lethbridge College Kodiaks men’s soccer team, that’s involved signing a number of local products, including a promising MMA fighter turned goalkeeper.

Read more: Alberta colleges exploring e-sports opportunities amid pandemic athletics shutdowns

Cardston’s Ethan Demers has heard all the stereotypes about goalkeepers being a little different, and he admits his road to signing with Lethbridge College has been rather unique, after shifting his focus from dodging fists to stopping shots just three years ago.

“Well I mean the fighting definitely put a couple screws loose up there I guess,” Demers laughed.

“But other than the stereotypes, fighting has some similarities with goalkeeping; I need the fast reaction times, good hand-eye coordination.”

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Sean Carey is the head coach of both the men’s and women’s programs for the Kodiaks, and says Demers looks like the “real deal, oozing both confidence and athleticism.

“Multi-sport athletes are always a positive. They bring different dynamics of skill,” Carey said. “But MMA fighting is definitely different, it’s the first one I’ve ever had.”

Read more: Lethbridge College Kodiaks men to look to secure playoff berth

Demers says his confidence in the net took some time to build. His focus was always firmly on fighting, until a knee injury brought his MMA dreams to an end, and sent him into a “dark place.”

“Personally, it was really hard, and very, very emotional because I was kind of born into it,” Demers said. “My dad always taught everybody else, I was always competing with my older brothers, and I just always wanted to be the best.”

Demers says it was his brother-in-law who sparked his new interest in soccer following the injury, with the pair watching a Champions League match together.

After that, he began training with the Lethbridge Soccer Association, and he credits head coach Sean Heaps and the Caps 2 College academy for fast-tracking his development.

The goalkeeper says his focus wasn’t initially on stopping shots.

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“I originally actually wanted to be a striker, because you know, I love the glory,” he said with a laugh. “And then I ended up going in net for a game and I stopped a goal, and that felt really, really good.”

The Kodiaks have an open starting spot in net for the upcoming Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) season, and Carey says he can’t wait to see how Demers adapts to the level.

Read more: Post-secondary coaches and athletes facing unique recruiting challenges during COVID-19

“Ethan oozes that confidence, so you just never know. But hopefully he can come in and win a couple games for us when we need it, and take us to another banner,” Carey said.

The ACAC has confirmed there will be a season starting this fall. Schedules have not yet been released.

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