The Martlet soccer team is off to a strong start to the 2014-2015 season, which means business as usual for junior kinesiology student Zoe Fasoulakis. The center-back has seen teammates and coaches come and go, but winning has been a constant since she debuted in 2012.
Along with fellow junior Margaux Sleckman, Fasoulakis marshals the Martlet defence with authority, providing a much-needed veteran presence on a backline that has received a major influx of rookie talent this year. As the oldest defender on the squad, Fasoulakis takes pride in overseeing the development of a young and promising defensive core.
“It’s my job as one of the more veteran players to guide those younger players and talk to them,” Fasoualkis explained. “I’m the one they look to for guidance on the field.”
Fasoulakis is able to draw strongly on fond memories as a first year to put herself in a rookie’s shoes when giving advice or criticism.
“As a first year coming in, it was more about getting experience and playing [time], my role was kind of just getting my feet wet,” Fasoulakis said. “I remember when I was looking to my center back for guidance.”
However, the age and experience of the team is not Fasoulakis’ main concern. According to her, one of the biggest challenges the Martlets face year to year is forming a new identity. With key players inevitably graduating, and coaching staff retiring or moving on to new positions, the culture in the locker room can change dramatically from one season to the next.
“It’s pretty key for us to settle on an identity early in the season, just so we’re all sharing the same goals,”Fasoulakis explained. “It’s important to know what kind of game we want to play based on our strengths and weaknesses.”
But any concerns Fasoulakis may have had over the team’s dynamic had dissipated by the end of the pre-season, and with the Martlets already blanking Bishop’s and Concordia in conference play, her position group is clearly on the same page.
“We got a couple games [in the pre-season] where we were able to try out some new ideas without having the risk of losing in the regular season where it actually matters,” Fasoulakis said. “Everybody is of the similar mindset [….] There’s a lot of determination and hard work in our team, but we are also a very fun group and really enjoy playing [soccer].”
In addition to scavenger hunts and other miscellaneous team bonding activities, Head Coach Jose-Luis Valdes took the Martlets on a retreat to Mont Tremblant to close out a busy and successful pre-season.
While Fasoulakis acknowledges playing for the Martlets has been the most rewarding experience in her time at McGill, she admits that the commitment can get overwhelming at times.
“It can be slightly challenging,” Fasoulakis said. “When you have that Monday off from practice you really have to do your work. You can’t procrastinate too much, or go watch TV shows in your break—you need to actually do work.”
McGill Tribune (MT): What is your favourite song right now?
Zoe Fasoulakis (ZF): Rather Be” by Clean Bandit, it’s a locker-room favourite that we play a lot.
MT: What is the best course you’ve taken at McGill?
ZF: Anatomy 316, working with cadavers was very cool.
MT: What is your favourite bathroom in McGill?
ZF: Basement of Leacock – on the right, where the Subway is.
MT: What was your first slow dance song?
ZF: First one I can remember? Oh God—“Graduation” by Vitamin C.
MT: You have Beyonce in a room. What do you ask her?
ZF: Hmm, that’s a tough one. Keep doing what you’re doing Beyonce. But also can you sing a halftime show at a Martlets game? That would be awesome.