27Matt Catalano got the opportunity for a once in a lifetime experience in August, and the 26-year-old seized it. The Fanshawe student, and member of the college’s Falcons soccer team, was invited to play on the U Sports Canadian entry into the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei (from Aug. 19-30). It’s the second-largest multi-sport event in the world, and Catalano jumped at the opportunity.
But it came with a cost: $3,500. Impressively, the youngster was able to round up the necessary funds with the help of many people, including his family, his girlfriend, the Elgin Middlesex Soccer Association (EMSA), Ian Campbell of FC LONDON (whom Catalano played for in the past), and some local businesses.
A London native and former Catholic Central grad, Catalano has played the beautiful game his whole life. At Fanshawe, the student-athlete was named Rookie of the Year as well as an OCAA League All-Star (as a defender) in his first season with the Falcons, a team that ranked as high as fourth in the province last season.
He won the 2012 PDL Championship with FC LONDON, won five Ontario Cups at the Senior Level (with both Marconi and AEK) and two National Championships with Marconi Men’s Premier (in 2014 and 2015). He is currently the coach of the Marconi U9 Girls team.
But his coaching duties (and his full-time job) had to take a backseat in August, as Catalano took a month off for pre-tournament training in Vancouver for 12 days and then the Summer Universiade event from Aug. 19-30. An opportunity of a lifetime, for sure.
Contributions from Fanshawe College Athletics