Jan
07
1996 Soccer Reunion Video


[TV channels changing] [The 1996 Gee-Gees soccer team in action] [Sports commentator] Go, go, go! [Commentator in French] It doesn’t look as quick on camera. [Fan cheering] Come on Ottawa! [Michelle Beauchamp] Honestly, I don’t think anyone expected us to do as well as we did. It was a bit of a fairy tale. Like after every game, we were just so happy that we won one more and… and it was a bit surreal because we actually didn’t lose a game until the finals the following year. [Steve Johnson] Expectations for this program have always been high. We had been close the two previous years. We’d had a really good season in 94 when we started the program, 95 not quite as successful but… …we really thought we had… …some really interesting players coming into 96. He really pushed us to work hard. I think that… …you know we had a lot of expectations that we had to meet and… he motivated us, but we also had fun and… …you know I remember one summer, there was a drill that we had to do to qualify to play for the team, it was a 12 minute run, and it was… it was not hard. We had to, I think, meet or surpass the Canadian national team standard and we would practice. The summer before, we would train every single week just to be ready for that point in time. And that’s because his expectations were really high and I think that pushed us to do better and… and achieve greater things then we thought we could. Yeah, Graham Chandler was a huge part of that program. We were best friends. We were roommates at university, and I met with him during the summer. He wasn’t really doing anything at that moment. I offered him the opportunity to come and coach with me at University of Ottawa, stay in my house. We’d be roommates once more and work towards coaching a National Championship season. [Graham Chandler] How are you doing? [Beauchamp] So we went two full seasons undefeated and… I don’t think any of us took it for granted. I think we were proud of our accomplishments and we knew that we had a strong team, but we kept working at it like, you know, it wasn’t granted to us and we were a small team. So I think part of that helped to create more of a bond between the players because we got to know each other and we got to play together. Locally, many players were from Ottawa as well, so a lot of us had played together even before… …coming to and playing with the Gee-Gees. [Johnson] It was… it was a really small team. We didn’t have very many players. I think we were 16 players. We were tight. We were… there’s very narrow talent band. We had some really really good players, but players… that were with this program could all play, they could all compete, and so I think the fact that we were very close in terms of ability and very close in terms of our goals and what we’d set for the season really made for a wonderful season. [Johnson] The final game was difficult. Alberta had several national team players on their squad. They were very well balanced, they were very well coached, and they were experienced. They had a lot of players who’d been to Club National Championships and as well to Senior National Championships at the university level. It was our first time there, but we had very good quality on our team. We had kids who later would go on and get an opportunity with the national program. And because I think we were… we’d been through some adversity in the past, we were well prepared to make 1996 our year. [Sports commentator] And from Ottawa to number 8, Danielle Vella. [Beauchamp] I seem to recall it was a breakaway and… Danielle Vella executed perfectly. I mean, she was one of our top players on the team and rightfully so. [Johnson] Yeah, it was a… it was a great through ball from Julie Gareau. The other team I think was… …was playing fairly flat. The timing of the run from Danielle was fantastic. She had a lot of time to think about what she had to do. And… …sometimes it’s more difficult the more time you have because she had to run all the way from midfield because we had broken up from our own half and she had all of midfield to run at goal, one versus the goalkeeper, and while that’s happening, she’s got defenders who are tracking her down and gaining on her and closing that gap. Their keeper came out. Danielle was cool as can be and slaughtered the ball pass. And that was it, it was fantastic. [Beauchamp] I’ve been… I went bungee jumping once in my life and the thrill and exhilaration that I felt after bungee jumping, after thinking I was probably going to die when I jumped off that ledge, was the closest thing I’ve ever felt after winning that game. [Music plays] [Whistle blows] [Music ends]