Norwich football bringing in Canadian athletes

The recruiting process for the Norwich University football program has taken itself not only past the bounds of New England, but out of the United States and across the border.

The Cadets have five players as members of this year’s squad who are from Canada, three of whom have been making contributions as just first and second year players.
Players coming in from Canada have a tough job ahead learning the nuances of the different set of rules by which football is played here in America. But because many have been to an American high school first, by the time they get to Norwich, the game seems easier, according to wide receiver Trystan Colaire, a 20-year-old sophomore biology major from Toronto, Canada.
Before enrolling at Norwich, Colaire attended The Kiski School in Saltsburg, Pa., after graduating from high school in Canada where he learned the basics of the sport, making the transition to college a much easier experience.
According to Colaire, playing on the smaller American field compared to the by-rule larger Canadian field was very different. “The first time playing on a small field was really weird, I lost track of field position because I was so used to playing on a bigger field.” Colaire said.
Colaire is not the only Canadian Cadet who has had to make that transition.
Freshman running back Quincy Williams, a 19-year-old communications major from Brossard, Quebec, has found the change an interesting one. “Playing on a smaller field makes you think a lot quicker, everything happens much faster than it does on a bigger field in Canada,” he said.
Williams explained that the Canadian football field is 110 yards long, 65 yards wide and the end zones are 20 yards long. “Also, the goal posts are in the front of the end zone rather than at the end, and there are 12 players in the game instead of 11,” he said.
The size of the field was not the only major issue for the two athletes. Each player was also required to adapt to new rules for the game as well. “My first year in prep school was a bit tough. I really had to focus more on learning the rules more than playing the game, but after a couple of games I finally got used to it.” Williams elaborated.
They both attended school in the United States prior to going to college, which was very beneficial with the transition, according to Colaire; ”Being away from home for an entire year was fine because I am used to it from prep school. Prep school made it an easy transition.” Colaire said.
The two athletes have a slight advantage over American players, in the sense that their play prepared them for a much more dynamic game, with three downs from the line of scrimmage, as opposed to four, and with an extra player on the field.
“Canadian is harder because there is more running, there are more men to worry about on the field and overall you have to call better plays because there are three downs rather than four and the field is bigger as well, so there is more ground to cover.” Colaire said.
Williams added that “the Canadian competition is pretty tough. It’s all similar though, because the kids play their hardest to get recognized by schools in America, because the overall competition is better there.”
The two Cadets will continue their adjustments to American football, as the squad makes its way to Throggs Neck, N.Y., to square off against conference foe SUNY Maritime on Nov. 8.

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