Loturi and Keen to represent Mount Royal in CPL after being drafted by Cavalry FC
By George Potter, Staff Writer
Two players from the Mount Royal Cougars men’s soccer team have been drafted by Cavalry FC in the Canadian Premier League (CPL) U SPORTS Draft.
Unfortunately, both players were unable to play their first year with Mount Royal due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite not being able to show their skills in their freshmen year, they are both excited for what they will bring to Cavalry FC for this upcoming season.
The two Cougars selected by the hometown Cavalry were Victor Loutri and Ethan Keen.
The CPL U SPORTS draft took place on Jan. 29 and had two rounds where U SPORTS soccer players from across the country were selected by the eight teams in the Canadian-based league.
Because of the pandemic, the Cougars and the rest of the teams across U SPORTS were unable to have a season. However, it was a special time for those who were drafted to the CPL, especially Loutri and Keen.
Both players reflected on how the pandemic affected them in their first season with the Cougars.
“So, we didn’t really get to play and get that real feeling of a live 90-minute game. So probably, that was the biggest setback coming into this year, just not being able to have any games to prepare,” says Loutri.
Keen, who was very excited about joining the team, found it tough not training with them and staying at home.
“I was really disappointed at first, for the season and the soccer aspect, especially. But I think also, just for me, I was really excited. It was my first year, I didn’t really know what to expect at all, and I was really excited to get to know the guys on the team [and the] kind of experience, like going on trips travelling with the team and the actual school atmosphere,” says Keen.
The first round of the draft saw Loturi, a freshman midfielder, taken as the sixth pick to Cavalry FC. Loturi had experience with Cavalry FC before joining the Cougars this season. He appeared in four games with the club in 2019. Loturi feels that he has a good chance to achieve his childhood dream of going pro.
“Growing up, I always wanted to be a professional player. So, being drafted just gets me one step closer to that dream,” says Loturi.
In the second round of the draft, Keen was selected as the eleventh pick. Keen is also in his first year with the Cougars and played for the Calgary Foothills soccer club before joining the team at MRU.
“I think that’s really cool that I get to do it and have a lot of my friends growing up here, and my family as well [are] here to hopefully support me. And even with my MRU career as well, I feel like just, it’s all close to home for me. And I think that’s really important to help me give it my all and be at my best,” says Keen.
The spring is getting very close, which signals the start of the season for both players. Loturi and Keen are very optimistic about how they can make an impact on Cavalry FC. When they return to MRU in the fall, they’re also hoping to take on leadership roles as soon as they are able to get their first opportunity to represent the Cougars.
“If I get another opportunity, [I can] help the younger guys develop and get into the team, making them feel welcome. And even with the older guys, I can even help them as well. [I can] give them some of my input, and they can give me some of their input as well,” says Loturi.
“For me, it’d be a dream, obviously. Since I was a kid, [I’ve always wanted] to play professional soccer. And then in the fall, go back to MRU and hopefully have a season with them and be at my best,” says Keen.