St. Thomas University soccer player Josh Oakes received the “Athlete of the Week” award from three separate organizations between Sept. 27 and 29. But, despite the numerous accolades, Oakes said more than anything, he thanks his fellow teammates for their hard work.
“It’s so good to be recognized, but I feel like it’s more of a team award,” said Oakes. “Knowing that I have a solid team to help me look good, [knowing that I can] help them with looking good too and knowing that we’re all together.”
Oakes, a first-year defensive midfielder, received “Tommie of the Week” from STU, “Men’s Player of the Week” from the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) and one of six awards for “Athlete of the Week” from Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA).
He said he is adamant that teamwork, as well as simply bonding with other team members, contributes to how the group functions.
“I don’t think I would be in the situation [receiving an award] I was in last week without [my team].”
The players are from various parts of Canada like British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Oakes said at the beginning of the season, they weren’t as connected which affected their playing.
“Now that we have the bond together, we play much better,” he said. “Every player on our team has a key role, whether they play a full 90 [minutes] every game or they sit on the bench – they all have a role in our team winning or being undefeated.”
But Oakes’ skill and success did not develop overnight. He said he was playing since he was six and competed at a high level his entire life – committing years of hard work and practice to get where he stands today.
Before being recruited for STU, he played on a semi-professional team with the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) based in Buffalo, New York at FC Berlin – a sports club located in Kitchener, Ontario.
Oakes said he attributes his love of the sport to his mom and grandfather and is proud to be “following in their footsteps.” He said soccer is an escape for him.
“It’s been an outlet for me when I’m in a mood or something,” he said. “I just lose all of my thoughts and I can just do what I love – playing.”