Colton O’Neill played his final regular season home game on October 9. The W. J. Mouat Secondary graduate joined the team in 2011 and is finishing off his final year as team captain. O’Neill opens up to The Cascade about his favourite games, what he’s going to miss about the team, and what’s next for him.
I started soccer when, I think, I was five. My older brother Trevor started a couple years before me, and then I wanted to play because my older brother was playing. I loved it and just kept playing. To get some school paid for, I decided to come and play here. I’ve enjoyed it.
Your brothers also played for the Cascades. What was it like being on a team with them?
Well my twin brother Connor, I’ve played pretty much all the way up with him. At UFV I got to play with my older brother Trevor. That was a lot of fun because you’re really close with them. It’s easier to feel motivated because you’re with your brothers; you see them beside you and you want to win. That helps out.
So this is your last season. How does that feel?
It’s kind of sad to be finished. It’s hard to believe that I’m in my fifth year. It’s sad because it is a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed it. It’s sad to realize that I’ve played five years and I can’t play anymore. I would if I could.
Have you had any favourite games or moments throughout your time with the Cascades?
We beat UBC a couple times, which was nice. And I think the first year we made playoffs we won our first game against Alberta, and I happened to score that game, and then got bronze and beat UVIC, who we hadn’t beaten previously as well. That was two years ago. That was probably one of my top moments.
What are you going to miss?
Training every day with the guys, and just the jokes and the fun you have at practice — stuff like that. The games as well. Just the guys — it’s a lot of fun. That’s what I’m going to miss the most. Just all the time with your friends. We’re a pretty close group.
What was it like playing under coaches Alan Errington and Tom Lowndes?
They’re somewhat similar I’d say. Tom is a younger guy, so you can relate to him a bit more. It’s nice. They’re both pretty friendly guys. They’re both jokesters, so that’s nice. It keeps it fun in practice.
What’s next in your soccer career?
I’m not sure, to be honest, whether I’m going to continue playing or try to go pro right now. I’m not too sure. If anything comes up I’m sure I’ll try to go as far as I can, but right now I don’t have any plans.
How do you feel that you’ve changed throughout your time with the Cascades, personally or as a player?
I’d say maturing both as a soccer player and as a person. Being more responsible for myself. And now I’m captain of the team, so I have to be responsible for everyone else, making sure they’re pulling their weight. In your first year you’re not really expected to do anything, just work hard. First-year, you think you have so much time, and you’re never going to be a fifth-year — same as school. You think, “Oh, I have time, I don’t need to worry. Graduation is far away.” Now you’ve got to step it up and get to it.
How do you balance everything?
I don’t know. To be honest, it’s very difficult to study if we’re on the road. It’s hard to get everything done. When you have free time, you have to be doing something.
What’s it been like being captain this year?
It’s been good. I’d say it’s been a bit of a weird experience for me because I’m not the most outgoing guy. It’s been good just to get me out of my comfort zone.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.