By Thomas Becker
Head coach Lewis Page appreciates a strong defensive lineup and after losing graduating centre backs Jake Deighan and Lucas Ross, he needed to secure the back end with another quality defender.
Enter Ethan MacDougall. The 18-year-old reached out to Page in his junior year of high school and the two connected quickly. That initial meeting paved the way to him committing to UPEI.
"I decided to join UPEI not only because they had the program I wanted, but also due to my positive experience getting to meet Lewis and practice with the team."
The bench boss expects his young centre back to compete for a starting role right away. MacDougall's physicality was the first thing that stood out, but he also reads the game well and is an excellent passer.
"Ethan is a physical presence on the field and he's a good 1v1 defender," Page said. "He's also a left-footed centre back or wing back and they're rare."
MacDougall also takes great pride in his competitive spirit. The man wants to win and he did a lot of that with the Middlesex School Zebras in Concord, Massachusetts. In 2018, the Zebras went undefeated with an 18-0-3 record and captured their first-ever New England championship.
The Antigonish, NS native was introduced to the school by a hockey coach who has a history of sending players from Atlantic Canada to the United States for hockey. As MacDougall's four years passed at Middlesex he moved away from hockey and started to focus more on soccer.
"Aside from having a lot of fun during the championship year, it helped me learn what it takes to build a championship team," MacDougall said. "Our coach stressed each and every day to focus on the details and to play the right way regardless of the result."
MacDougall has known for awhile he wanted to return to the Maritimes for university and when UPEI made the push to pursue him, he couldn't refuse their offer.
"Although I really enjoyed my time down south, I knew for a while that I wanted to be closer to home for university and UPEI was a great fit being a small school and offering the program that I'm interested in."