AB Apparel Ambassadors: Interview with Nico Pasquotti of the Cavalry FC
November 01, 2019
How did you get started playing soccer? I started soccer from a young age - I was probably three years old. I eventually began playing indoor and outdoor, and then throughout elementary, junior high and high school, I started playing even more sports. Soccer was not always the main path for me. My family always pushed me to play more sports, because you can gain skills that you would not necessarily gain in soccer. That is why I always wanted to play basketball, football, baseball. I never got into hockey - couldn’t skate! I played as many sports as I could, but my passion was always soccer. I eventually tried to make the Provincial teams – trying to make the highest level of team that you could for what was available. I played soccer at college and then I played a year at the University of Lethbridge, as well. Those summers when I was out of school I would come to Calgary and play for Calgary Foothills in what was the PDL [Professional Development League]. This was mainly players that play university sports that needed something before their university season in the fall. We did really well in the last PDL season [PDL is now known as the USL 2] and we ended up winning out of 75 teams in North America. It gets you quite a bit of exposure. Our head coach was Tommy Wheeldon Jr., who is the current coach of our team now [Calgary Cavalry FC]. How did you make the team for the Cavalry FC? Three years ago, in 2016, I messaged an old coach in Calgary telling him I’m looking to play high-level soccer in the summer. This coach put me in touch with Tommy Wheeldon Jr. with the PDL team. I had an open tryout and made the team. As the seasons went on, we were pretty successful. Going into the third year I was still on the team but getting ready to pull it in because I wanted to get on with my career. I had finished my schooling at this point and was working full-time as an intern at a steel manufacturer doing engineering. I had thought I was done with soccer, but Tommy called me in April 2018, saying “hey, we want you to come back for another season, you know the CPL [Canadian Premier League] is coming around and it is a good opportunity for you and one last go at the PDL. I ended up quitting my internship, came up to Calgary, and played. We won that season. It went really well, and eventually, Tommy in Jan/Feb of last year offered me a contract to play for the Cavalry.
Tell me about the year. I know it’s been a short year, but what’s it been like? Your teammates? The wins? The loses? It is a brand-new league, so I think going in nobody knows what to expect. No one knows what the level of competition is going to be like. There are a lot of unknowns heading into the pre-season and first game of the season. We had a lot of guys from last year’s PDL team, which made the transition in terms of the team aspect, pretty positive. We started off really well. We won the fall season. I did not get to play the first couple of games, so I got my first real opportunity in Hamilton against Forge. We won in the 95th minute and I scored the game-winner. This is when it just started to take off a bit more for me. After that, I was a regular most games, getting in and getting my minutes. After we won the fall season, we knew we were in the final. They did two seasons in this league, which is not really traditional. If you win the fall season you get into the final. If you win the Spring season you get into the final. If the same team wins both, then the 2nd team with the highest point total goes into the final as well. Right now, Cavalry and Forge are the top two teams and no other team can catch these teams, so we are both in the final. What was a highlight of the season? The biggest thing for us this season was probably playing in the Canadian Championship. All the Canadian teams, such as the Whitecaps, Toronto FC, Montreal, etc., were put into the tournament to compete for the best Canadian team. We made it into the semi-finals. We ended up beating the Whitecaps in the quarterfinals, which was huge. We were the first CPL team to ever do that. Nobody expected us to do that. In the Semi-Final, we put in a battle against Montreal, but we lost out by a couple of goals. That experience was a big positive of the year – to see if myself and our team are able to play at that level. That level is kind of the next step within the North American soccer pyramid. That being said, another huge highlight will be going into the finals this season. It is our biggest game - the final is going to be exciting! Obviously, you can’t play soccer 24/7. What do you do outside of soccer? As this is a new league, players kind of need to have second jobs. I work at Sport Check. I started working there about a year ago part-time and I actually just recently got sponsored by Sport Check. In my spare time, I am also big into woodworking. When I am at home in Lethbridge, I have a mini-shop setup. I built some stuff for my house, like my dining table, etc. I also like to get out to the mountains to go hiking and I love to travel. Why do you want to partner with Alberta Apparel? Being from Alberta, I feel it is important to give back to Alberta. One of the things this means for me is supporting the local businesses. I want to help support and promote local businesses in a way that everyone can benefit from. I think it is always a good thing to support local companies because at the end of the day it is money back into our economy. Especially when it is a good product -- you are almost doing yourself an injustice by not helping!
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