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Peter Schaale and Marcus Campanile are no strangers to playing in important games for the Cape Breton Capers men’s soccer team.
The two men have won three Atlantic University Sport championships with the Cape Breton club, while capturing the U Sports national title in 2017, and a national silver medal last season.
Schaale and Campanile will look to win their fourth AUS title this weekend when they participate in the league championship tournament at the Cape Breton Health Recreation Complex on the Cape Breton University campus.
“The expectations are big,” said Schaale, who’s enrolled in the bachelor of business administration program at CBU.
“It’s the final year for a lot of us and after not winning the national title last year, our hunger is even bigger right now to win and it all starts with the AUS.”
Schaale, who arrived in Cape Breton in 2016, has appeared in 46 regular season games with the Capers, recording 11 goals and five assists for 16 points along with 54 shots on goal.
This year, Schaale has two goals and 13 shots in 11 regular season contests.
The Bernkastel-Kues, Germany, native won back-to-back AUS most valuable player awards (2019 and 2018) while receiving various all-star team honours over the past four years.
Schaale, who isn’t expected to return to Cape Breton for his fifth season, admits it’s going to be different not coming to Sydney next August.
“It’s been quite a ride,” said the 23-year-old defender. “We’ve played so many games on this pitch (in Sydney) together as a group, it’s going to feel odd not playing here next year.”
Like Schaale, Campanile, a midfielder, has also found success on the field with the Capers program.
In 45 career regular season games, the Edinburgh, Scotland, native has 18 goals and five assists for 23 points and 95 shots on goal.
Although it’s likely his final season with the Capers, Campanile couldn’t be more focused on the task at hand, however, he admits he has thought about his final games.
“From now until the national final, if we make it, we only have five more games — two games in the AUS and three games at nationals,” said the 23-year-old Campanile, who’s enrolled in
the bachelor of arts community studies program at CBU.
“It’s the final five games and the last two home games wearing the jersey we’ve been wearing for the last four years — it doesn’t feel real.”
“It’s going to be strange not coming back, but I don’t think we’re actually going to know the feeling until we’re away for a long period of time.”
During their four-year career with the Capers, Schaale and Campanile have only lost two regular season games, both coming during their rookie season in 2016.
Since then, Cape Breton has posted a 31-0-5 regular season record over the past three years, including a 10-0-2 record this year.
Despite winning a national title in 2017, Schaale considers the 2016 AUS championship his most memorable.
“Winning the AUS in the first year was special because nobody really expected us to win that year,” said Schaale. “We went through the league with a young team and then it turned out to be an outstanding finish — it was a big year for us.”
Although the club is focused on the 2019 season, the future roster is uncertain for the Capers program.
With Schaale and Campanile moving on, along with fifth-year players Hugh Parslow and Jesse MacIntyre of River Ryan, a number of fourth year players on the roster could decide not to return for a fifth season.
“Right now, we’re concentrating on the semifinal — it’s really big,” said Schaale, who played with the Halifax Wanderers of the Canadian Premier League this past summer.
“We know that our season will eventually come to an end at some point — hopefully not this weekend — but we know this is our last games at home so it’s going to be quite emotional.”
Cape Breton will face Saint Mary’s in the league semifinal today. Game time is slated for 2 p.m. at the Cape Breton Health Recreation Complex.
• Hometown: Edinburgh, Scotland
• Age: 23
• Position: Midfield
• Year: 4
• University: Cape Breton
• Studies: Bachelor of arts community studies
• Hometown: Bernkastel-Kues, Germany
• Age: 23
• Position: Defender
• Year: 4
• University: Cape Breton
• Studies: Bachelor of business administration