Redmen welcome 3 linebackers to team

McGill brings in one out-of-province, one international and one local commit.

The McGill Redmen have done a little shopping and this time, it was for linebackers John Mooney from Handsworth Secondary School, Chris Mikola from Thetford Mines and Brandon Fombuena from Vanier College.

John Mooney
It will be quite the trek for Vancouver resident John Mooney to reach his new home in Montréal, Québec. But, when a city has captured your attention, distance doesn’t matter all too much. “The city was amazing with a great heritage and phenomenal feel,” Mooney said.

Mooney added that he chose McGill because he felt it would give him the perfect combination of academics and athletics. “In the long-run, I felt like the university gave me the best shot at a career in business while also giving me the chance to play for a developing program. The facilities were awesome as well. Seeing Percival Molson Field and the entire athletic facilities was very cool,” he said.

After played five years for the Handsworth Royals (BC Secondary Schools Athletic Association), Mooney is set to forge a new connection with the Redmen bosses. “The coaching staff was great. I felt that the young staff had a lot of heart and passion to succeed and ameliorate by constantly making the program better,” he said. “On top of that, the coaching staff was one that I felt I could relate too. They were amical and funny as well!”

The 5’10, 200lbs athlete understands that committing is the first step in a long journey. But, he’s up for the challenge awaiting him. He said, “I am beyond excited to start my U Sports career, but it’s just the beginning; now that I have committed, it’s time to start working even harder so I can start competing at the next level.”

Handsworth Royals Coach’s Dedication 2014
UBC Football Linebacker MVP 2014
Handsworth Royals MVP 2016
NSSAAA Defensive All-Star 2016
AAA Pacific Conference All-Star 2016

Chris Mikola

Courtesy of Chris Mikola.

If you thought Mooney had a far distant to travel to reach McGill, then you haven’t met Chris Mikola yet. Although he has spent two years playing with Les Filons du Cégep de Thetford (RSEQ Division 2) in Thetford Minds, Québec, he is originally from Paris, France.

Québec continued to appeal to Mikola, so he said he chose McGill because it is a great school for his studies. He is interested in industrial relations. On the football side of things, he is ready to help his new team in any way possible.

“I choose McGill because the coaches make me feel like they really need me and the program is building something strong for the future and I want to grow with them. It’s a good challenge,” he said. “I like the coaching staff. They really care about players in everyday life and football and they always want you to give more.”

Standing at 6’1, 218lbs, the outside linebacker played with Le Flash de La Courneuve in France and was on the U19 French national team. In 2015, he helped Les Filons win a Bol d’Or off an undefeated season.

While there can be a lot of negativity in this world, Mikola has a little bit of advice for everyone out there: “Don’t let nobody tell you that you can’t.”

Brandon Fombuena

Courtesy of Brandon Fombuena.

Unlike his other linebacker counterparts, Brandon Fombuena lives just north of Montréal in Laval, Québec. But, his motives for committing to the Redmen are quite similar. “I chose McGill because it is the best of both words concerning academics and athletics. Academically, it is a prestigious institution, which is very strong in the field I intend to study,” the potential microbiology and immunology student said.

“On the athletic side, the football team shows a lot of promise and has terrific facilities. McGill’s coaching staff has a lot of depth! A lot of the position and assistant coaches were all previously head coaches at other programs,” he added.

In his career, the 6’1, 200lbs outside linebacker and rover played with Les Patriotes de Vimont, Les Cobras de Laval (Québec Bantam Football League), Les Bulldogs de Laval (Québec Midget Football League) and the cégep Vanier Cheetahs (RSEQ Division 1). In 2013, he suited up for Team Québec. In his travels, he has already encountered the Redmen’s top boss.

Fombuena said, “I was also previously coached by Coach Ron, and have complete faith in his direction!”

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