The Ribeiro Moojen Strait | The Press
The path to the world of professional soccer can be winding, but when other marked paths open up to young people, the path gradually becomes clearer.
This is the mission of Frederico Moojen and Antonio Ribeiro, two former Montreal Impact color bearers. For more than 10 years, the friends have been organizing matches between some of the most promising players in La Belle Province and inviting university teams from across Canada and the United States to come and snatch their nuggets.
« There’s so much talent here, » Moojen says straight away. When we started, we showcased around thirty players. Now, nearly 300 players take part in these matches. »
If the event, which took place throughout the weekend, is gaining momentum, it is largely due to the high quality of its participants. According to Moojen, more than 250 players managed to get a scholarship to a university following the event.
It’s something to be proud of. It’s a bit of the best of both worlds, because young people can continue to progress in soccer, but they will also seek a university degree.
These events are also intended as a solution other than the CF Montreal Academy with respect to male talent.
« They can’t take everyone, » recalls Moojen. So there are several players who go under the radar, but who deserve the opportunity to be seen. »
Which is excellent news in the eyes of Patrice Bernier, former captain of the Impact. The Quebec soccer scene is much healthier than before, in particular thanks to the excitement of multiple tournaments of this type.
I remember we would pack several guys in a trailer and we would play games like that all over the United States. Before, you had to go from the first rung of the ladder to the last. Today, the steps are done one by one.
Unequivocally, soccer here has come a long way, according to Bernier. And it would be difficult to contradict him.
Fruits that are already ripening
When the names of Moïse Bombito and Charles Auguste are mentioned to Moojen, the latter’s eyes light up. Bombito, selected by the Colorado Rapids with the third overall pick in the most recent MLS Superdraft, and Auguste, who signed with the Houston Dynamo on the eve of the next season, both came through the tournament in Moojen and Ribeiro.
Moojen even took the liberty of recounting the discussion that helped Auguste get his ticket to Creighton University.
I received a call telling me that the university needed a complete midfielder. I immediately thought of Charles [Auguste]. They came to see him play and after five minutes they made him an offer.
For Bombito, it was during one of the tournaments organized by Moojen and Ribeiro that he stood out.
“My superior came here and found Moses. He told me that we absolutely had to come back here, ”notes Augusto Lima, assistant coach of the men’s team at Northeastern University, in the first division of the NCAA.
No one is a prophet in his own country
The triumph of the Canadian women’s team at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 has not yet had the expected impact. Without a professional league before the spring of 2025, young Quebecers feel that exile is the only way to progress.
“Even if it’s unlikely that I will live one day, the NCAA is the only option to advance my career, says Chloé, who took part in the tournament. I should be 180% certain that I will have a club career to give up my studies. That’s why university is a good compromise. »
The head coach of the Lousiana Tech University women’s team – also in the first division in the NCAA –, Steve Voltz, agrees.
“The level of play is very high in Canadian university sport. On the other hand, in the United States, we have much more financial resources and you have a much better chance of being spotted by a professional club, ”he admits, pro domo.
Without being a panacea, what Frederico Moojen, Antonio Ribeiro and others like them who hold tournaments are doing is another step towards maintaining a healthy Quebec soccer ecosystem.