Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, Ontario — The lifelong impact a coach can have is something athletes understand well. Carleton Ravens players and alumni are no exception, and they are proud to celebrate the individual contributions and recent recognition of two of exemplary soccer coaches
Earlier this summer, the team’s head coach Kwesi Loney and assistant coach Kwame Telemaque were named to SHIFTER Magazine’s Outstanding Black Men in Canada 2020 list. The list recognizes Black Canadian men who have made a positive impact at home, work, and in the community. Ravens veteran midfielder Ricky Comba knows how fortunate his squad is to learn from Loney and Telemaque.
“These men teach and push us everyday to be better, and they have great impacts on our lives both on and off the field. We all feel that our success on the field and our growth as young men comes greatly from the work that these men put in to help us succeed.”
For Loney, the responsibility of coaching student-athletes extends far beyond the playing field.
“As most coaches will tell you, we enjoy teaching the specifics of our sport but for the most part we use our sports as a vehicle to teach life lessons,” he says. “The platform we are afforded should have ripples that go beyond the field of play. To be recognized in this manner validates this approach and hopefully inspires others to continue the good work coaches do.”
Stephen Ball and Alex Zaslavsky are a pair of Ravens Soccer alumni and can be heard on OUA.tv as the broadcast voices of Ravens Soccer. The two have known Loney and Telemaque for years and believe that both coaches perfectly exemplify the values they instill on their athletes.
“They are leaders who lead by example. They themselves live by the Carleton code of inclusion, focus and hard work. These core values have always defined what it means to be a Raven and Kwesi and Kwame embody these,” says Zaslavsky. “Most importantly they reflect these values to the players, alumni and fans. I am truly proud that our program is gifted with such leadership which not only develops students into great players but also into great people.”
Ball echoed his fellow commentator’s sentiments and says the coaches bring a wealth of experience and composure to their profession.
“They are thoughtful, organized, inclusive and focused on their goals of bringing young men together for a shared experience. They are true social conductors, if you will, and people want to be around them. Their leadership style is contagious and they do lead by example by being role models in the community and exhibiting a high level of professionalism.”
There are aspects of coaching that have nothing to do with sports or strategy, especially in a university sport environment. Impactful leadership requires the ability to respectfully communicate and connect with others, qualities that Ball says Loney and Telemaque exemplify.
“They listen and are always open to learning and as a result are beloved by those who know them. Their authority comes from the respect deservedly earned over the years in our community,” he says. “We are all richer for knowing them and having an opportunity to be around them.”