Six days out of the week — at six in the morning every day — you’ll find Jordian Farahani training at the Elite Athletic Centre in Regina, as he prepares to take the next step in his soccer career.
“Some days I’m in the gym twice and on the field once, playing men’s league and doing whatever I can just to get exercise in,” Farahani said.
Farahani, former captain and recent graduate of the Huskie men’s soccer team, has recently signed a contract that will take him away from Saskatchewan, across the Atlantic and to the pitch of Höttur, a second division team in Iceland.
“There was a guy who was doing a semester abroad from the University of Iceland… He had been playing since he was 19 in the Icelandic soccer league,” Farahani told the Sheaf through a Skype interview. “He kind of reached out to me and was like would you ever consider playing in Iceland after you’re done?”
The foreign exchange student recommended him to the coaching staff of Höttur and they contacted him soon after.
The Höttur Coaching Staff “saw highlights of the Canada West final and just with my player resumé… they were super interested and said that, ‘We want you, we are prepared to offer you this, what is going to get you here?’”
This season was a success for the men’s soccer team as they were crowned CanWest champions on their home turf, beating the University of Alberta Golden Bears.
The team’s trip to the CIS Men’s Soccer Championship was not as successful, although Farahani says that the losses made the experience all the more rewarding.
“After that [first loss] I know all the guys were super, super upset and the other team and their fans were cheering so much. I remember thinking, I didn’t have my head down and usually I am an emotional guy… but it was a different feeling, I had my head up. I said to the other guys, ‘Look at them they’re celebrating. They know we were the better team.’”
The Huskies may not have achieved all of their goals but Farahani says that he is leaving with the knowledge that the program is better than ever.
“The season was over yet [my teammates] all just had that hunger in their eyes where they want to put work in during the off-season, and come back here and try and better this. This speaks to the standard we have now created at the U of S… that mentality shift is huge. It’s huge for the culture and it’s huge for the province.”
While many would see the opportunity to be a professional athlete as a once in a lifetime chance, Farahani has tried to keep a realistic outlook.
“Signing this contract doesn’t guarantee me anything but the only thing it guarantees me is six months of salary and flights there and flights home,” Farahani said. “I mean it’s a nice feeling that I’ve got a foot in the door in Europe, but on the other hand that’s all it is, a foot in the door.”
Farahani credits his current mentality to Kent Kowalski, one of the Huskies’ assistant coaches, who said to Farahani in his first year orientation that, “Sports and being a collegiate athlete is about pursuing your potential. Do your best and apply yourself. Five years flies by but just do everything you can do, academically and athletically, just to be the best that you can be.”
“For me right now, I take that same sort of wisdom now that I’m in a professional realm and environment. Can I be the best pro that I can be to give myself a career?” Farahani said.
If all goes well, Farahani will be stepping onto the pitch once again this April. Only this time he won’t be wearing the green and white jersey of the Huskies.
“The U of S is always going to remain an integral part of just me developing as a mature person,” Farahani said. “The whole journey has just, I think that has… more than anything, made me mature and made me appreciate hard work. It’s humbled me a lot.”
Photo: Katherine Fedoroff