This year’s football season may be over, but for Jeremy Ambraska it may be the start of great things. The 18-year-old student at Monarch Park Collegiate has been an impressive presence at the school since he started there five years ago, particularly in the sports scene.
Realizing the school did not have a football team, Ambraska, along with his parents, persuaded the school staff to join the Eastern Commerce squad to form a joint team.
His efforts earned him a reputation as a leader at the school in no time.
“He’s the guy who brings others together, he’s the guy who encouraged others to come out and play football,” said coach Sean Henderson.
Having two schools join forces wasn’t easy at first.
“The first year was kind of different, with it being two different schools and all. But now we play as one team and it’s great,” said Ambraska.
The team struggled this year, finishing in sixth place in the East/West Tier 2 division with only one point.
The playoff match against Downsview was lost by only a touchdown, putting an end to the season, and for a few of the students, the end of their school football career.
One of those players was Che Andrews.
“It was heartbreaking to lose,” said Andrews. “It’s tough to lose the last game.”
Andrews emphasized the strength of character of everyone on the team, from the younger players, to the ones who have been there since the beginning.
“We’re a team when we’re on the field, but we’re more like a family off the field.”
Of Ambraska, he said, “He’s a great player, a great teammate, and a great student.”
Ambraska plans on finishing the year off focusing on his grades and preparing to enter university.
Jeremy is not just a good football player. He also plays on the Monarch Park rugby, soccer, baseball and basketball teams. And if that isn’t enough, he is an excellent student with a grade point average above 80.
Ambraska hopes to play football at Western University.
He is also looking forward to coming back to Monarch Park someday.
“I would like to be involved in Monarch football [in the future]. I’d come out and help coach,” he said.
As for the immediate future of the team, Ambraska is confident they will keep getting better.
“Keep going,” he said. “We got better every year. We moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2. So as long as they keep going we’ll move up.”
Henderson, who teaches at Eastern Commerce, sees great potential in Ambraska as he embarks in his post high-school ventures. He has no doubt that he will impress future coaches with not only his technical skills but with his attitude on the field – the same attitude that he exhibited in the five years at Monarch.
“Good leadership rubs off, especially on young high-school students,” said Henderson.
“Your legacy lives on and we’re not going to forget you,” he said of Ambraska and the other students graduating this year.