Best friends couldn’t stand thought of separation

Laval add two international commits to their Class of 2018.

Same height. Same weight. Same position. Same country. Same school. Same new team, the Laval Rouge et Or. Defensive backs Souleymane Karamoko and Edris Jean-Alphonse from Cégep de Thetford sure have a lot of things in common.

Souleymane Karamoko

Courtesy of Souleymane Karamoko.

Souleymane Karamoko was one highly sought-after commit this recruiting period. He said he had tour offers from Bishop’s, Concordia, McGill, the University of Ottawa, the University of Montréal and the University of Laval. Narrowing it down to three, he visited Bishop’s, Montréal and Laval before decided that Laval was the place for him.

“I’ll admit that I already had a soft spot for this team for a long time,” Karamoko said “It happens to be one of the best teams in the country. I like competition and the challenge of making a place (for myself) on one of Canada’s top teams. It’ a big challenge. As we get along in Thetford ‘always in competition,’ I have a chance to compete against the best and I will give (my) best.”

While Karamoko is interested in a bachelor in physical education, admission into a program is not a given. He said that the head coach, Glenn Constantin, spoke to him about how he could be admitted into the program. He also offered solutions in case he wasn’t accepted into physical education. “It was reassuring,” Karamoko said. “The Laval Route et Or have a great coaching staff with (plenty of) football experience. It may just be beneficial for me.”

Standing at 6’1, 200lbs, Karamoko played two seasons with Les Filons du Cégep de Thetford (RSEQ Division 2). In his native France, the product of Paris played with Team France at the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, Poland. “It was a great and beautiful experience for my football life,” he said. “Finally, Team France won against Germany and I won a gold medal.”

Edris Jean-Alphonse

Courtesy of Edris Jean-Alphonse.

Ever since Edris Jean-Alphonse started playing football, he has always had his ‘brother’ beside him. “Souleymane Karamoko is my teammate in football and in life. He is also my best opponent and this competition helps us become better and better,” he said.

While Jean-Alphonse was considering joining Les Carabins, with the departure of the team’s cornerback coach, he said he made a real reflection. “Then, I chose to go to Laval. It’s a really big program and I wouldn’t like to separate from my brother. We are like a duo and we help ourselves improve in life and football,” Jean-Alphonse said. “Life shows you a sign and sometimes you got to read, understand and follow the road God made for you.”

On the football field, Jean-Alphonse will be under the guidance of the Laval coaches. He said he thinks they have a lot of experience. “Since the beginning of the program, some coaches are still there, and they keep the momentum and lead this team to the top three in Québec and one of the best teams in Canada,” he said.

For six years before coming to Canada from his hometown of Bobigny, France, Jean-Alphonse played with La Courneuve Flash (Ligue Élite de Football Américain/European Football League). He then spent two seasons with Les Filons. In 2013, he won a national junior title. Last summer, he won gold with the French national team in Wroclaw, Poland. Last season, the 6’1, 200lbs athlete was defensive recruit of the year. He is interested in taking the athletic intervention program.

In his career, Jean-Alphonse had plenty of support. He said that, “Arnaud Mboutia (is a) man who built me (up) and keeps doing it today. Nicholas Simoneau was also a constructor of my life. Football isn’t just about sport. It’s about life. It made me what I am today.”

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

Leave a Reply