Remi Catteau missed tryouts for Ryerson Rams soccer. He missed them by half a month, to be exact.
Understandable, considering he came from France.
“So I wanted to do sports and I saw the list of sports proposed and cross country was one that could be interesting,” Catteau said.
Catteau is one of three international athletes who qualified for the men’s and women’s brand new cross club. Country coach Tim Uuksulainen said he’s happy to have the foreign presence.
“(It’s) great to have them aboard. You always like good international flavor,” he said.
Remi Catteau talks with Jordan Mady of The Ryersonian at Riverdale East Park:
Ryerson Athletics lists seven international athletes among its primary varsity and club rosters. The cross country team currently has nearly half of them.
“The good thing is maybe it’ll set a bit of a template for other students, you know, foreign students who come in and they see we’ve had foreign students,” Uuksulainen said.
But athletics director Ivan Joseph said his department prioritizes player selection based on where coaches have contact and the abilities of a particular athlete.
“What we’re looking for is outstanding men and women. It doesn’t matter to the program whether they’re from here or international,” he said. “Talent is talent.”
Catteau said he was just happy to be able to join athletics on such late notice.
“Now I’m glad to be on the team,” he said.
The native of northern France is in the final year of his engineering studies at Icam (Institute of Catholic Arts & Trades) in Lille, France. Over the course of his last year in the program, he must complete a six-month research thesis and six-month internship.
His professional interests are primarily what brought him to Toronto for the research portion.
“For my thesis, I chose to go abroad. We had plenty of choice and Icam has different partnerships around the world,” he said. “And for my specialty and the field I want to work later, Ryerson was a good choice as I want to work in renewable energies.”
The 22-year-old is used to a cerebral Icam Lille campus of just under 900 students. Coming in at more than 38,000 students, Ryerson is a big change.
“It’s very different for us, because for us, it’s a very huge university,” he said, adding that being in downtown Toronto is refreshing as well.
“It’s kind of difficult to compare but I think maybe people are more generous here. The way they live, the way they think. I think that’s general for the Canadian people.”
Once his thesis is complete, Catteau will return to France to do his final placement before graduating. But during his brief stay in Toronto, he’s proud to be a Ram.
“When speaking with the guys on the team, I feel something new and something different,” he said. “Kind of proud. Fière (proud) to be a team and to do something new for Ryerson.”