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Another sporting adventure for Riley Roy, this one in Florida
2021-05-17
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Riley Roy has crammed an awful lot into his 23 years to date, almost all of which has revolved around sport.

Despite never ranking among the most imposing physical specimens on the block, the native of Lively has suited up with a pair of university varsity teams, manning the secondary for the Waterloo Warriors football team and covering the midfield as a member of the Laurentian Voyageurs lacrosse team.

Squeezing every last ounce of time between his sports and his studies, Roy also founded Northern Built, initially for the purpose of aiding fellow high-school recruits, but morphing, over time, into a sport specific training provider for athletes in both of his primary sports.

Come September, it will be time for his next adventure, this one in Florida as Roy heads south to attend Webber International University (Babson Park) on a lacrosse scholarship, combining some work with the staff of the football team in the area of recruiting and scouting on the side.

This young man has always fancied himself something of an underdog yet seldom shied away from a challenge, certainly not since hitting high-school, initially at Lively, but for the better part of the next few years at Lockerby Composite.

"In grade nine, I was probably 5'9" and 120 pounds - and that's when I decided my goal was to play university football," he said recently. "Even when I started working out, the biggest I got in high-school was 6'1" and 150 - maybe."

"But I think a big part of my game, a big reason why I have been successful in sports that I have been successful in, is how I look at the game, understanding how the game works."

"I'm going to use my advantages and not let you impose yourself on me," Roy continued. "If you are bigger than me, that's OK. I'm not going to try and run through you. I will use my skill set to my advantage."

"That means a lot of studying. Even in high-school, I would always be watching game film."

Roy would play only one season of OUA football at Waterloo, earning field time in half of the Warriors eight outings that year. Beyond his own determination and perseverance, he had no issue sharing the credit with then Sudbury Gladiators head coach Aaron Rehel.

"At first, it was annoying to play for him because he was someone who would move us around positions all the time," suggested Roy. "At that point, I didn't understand it. But that was a big factor in why I was able to play at Waterloo."

"When I came into training camp, I came in as a cornerback, but I played at halfback and safety."

So basically some experience across a spectrum of positions - and a whole lot of studying, correct?

"A big thing for me was the playbook," said Roy. "At university, we had a 40 page playbook and I was one of the very few first years who knew every single play - but I had to know them at all three positions - and there were a lot of moving parts."

"I try to be very honest with myself, and the kids that I work with now," he added. "I'm tall and skinny - and not very fast. Understanding where I have to be was always a key factor, which is something that Aaron taught me."

Enrolled at Laurentian in second year, Roy had contemplated trying out for the lacrosse team, despite having only extremely limited box rep lacrosse experience with the Sudbury Rockhounds.

Some conversations with friend and future teammate David Withers hadn't quite sealed the deal. Rather, a chance meal at a local sushi establishment, where Roy learned that some L.U. freshmen with even less experience than his own managed to see the field led to an email, from the restaurant, to the Voyageurs lacrosse coach at the time.

"My first practice with the team was a game against Western University, the national champions that year," recalled Roy with a laugh. "I had maybe played wall ball for a few days, just to get a stick in my hands."

"My role was to go hit people, scoop the ball off the ground, pass it to somebody better than me and get off the field."

It was a role that he relished, and one that he expanded, over time.

Never let it be said that Riley Roy is not one to keep busy. With the Sudbury Spartans down three quarterbacks to injury in the summer of 2019, entering a playoff game, it would be the defender unafraid to defy the odds who would step in, clearly overmatched.

"I think I completed three passes, but that was honestly one of the most fun football games that I had ever played."

It's something of that carefree nature that would see Roy reaching out to a handful of university programs across the States, still interested in playing field lacrosse and coaching football.

Webber International offered both. And with the possibility of an MBA concentration in Sports Business Management following two more years of undergraduate studies, Roy is excited.

Babson Park is situated about an hour away from both Tampa Bay and Orlando. That's four pro sports teams, with plenty of other elite athletic programs (NCAA, baseball, etc..) strewn all over the Sunshine State.

Riley Roy has not yet narrowed down a clear-cut pathway to his career - though he is hopeful that it will obviously be sport-centric. For now, it's all about expanding the opportunities - as many as he can possibly squeeze in.

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