Friends stick together on football journey
CCHS Trojans Matt Harland (left) and Jayden Neuman have committed to the Edmonton Huskies of the Prairie Football Conference. Ryan Stelter/ Camrose Canadian
Two best friends will continue to play football together with the Edmonton Huskies of the Canadian Junior Football League.
Matt Harland, a slotback and long snapper, and Jayden Neuman, an offensive lineman will be suiting up with the Huskies in the upcoming CJFL season. The pair of École Camrose Composite High School Trojans have been tight since the beginning of high school, so it will be a great experience for them to play junior football together.
“Best friends since first day of school, so it’ll be a pleasure continuing on and playing with Jayden,” Harland said.
Harland hauled in 10 catches for 183 yards in six games, averaging 18.3 yards a catch for the Trojans this year. However, the journey towards the Huskies started with the Battle River Shock, a midget team that plays in the Capital District Minor Football Association.
“It started through the Shock, a [Huskies coach] attended our banquet, I talked to him there, he gave me his card and it went from there,” the six-foot-four 185 pound receiver said. “We kept in contact, and [I got] invitations to workouts and then spring camp and to now signing day and main camp.”
It was a bit different for Neuman, he had a personal connection with one of the offensive linemen from last season that helped him get in contact.
“I got in touch because my buddy (Alex Loosemore) played for them on the O-line last year, so he introduced me to the coach,” he said.
For both players, the goal after playing junior football is to make the jump to U Sports (formerly Canadian Interuniversity Sport) football.
“That’s definitely my goal after junior. I do have some contact with some schools, StFx is my goal right now,” Harland said, “It’ll be junior for a couple of seasons, and then hopefully off to university.”
Neuman is also looking east to eventually play university ball, but the grades need to be there.
“I want to upgrade a little bit and get my grades up and maybe go to the University of Toronto,” he said.
Harland is looking forward to the challenge of junior football, but knows it’s a big jump from high school ball.
“It’s a whole new level at junior, we’re going in at 18 and we’ll be playing against 23 year olds,” he said. “Probably more complex playbooks, for example the Huskies run a no-huddle, so you’re watching from the sidelines to watch what plays the coach is telling you, so it speeds things up and you really got to be on the ball.”
Neuman knows that junior ball is a lot faster, and will have to prepare for that in the off-season.
“A lot faster, they do a lot more conditioning and running and weight training. Everything seems to speed up 10 times faster,” the six-foot 300 pound lineman said. “It’s a lot of working out, like every day of the week.”
Harland’s off season will look similar, he’ll try to stick to the Huskies training program and make sure to be prepared for main camp.
“The Huskies have their own team training plan, so the guys are on that. [I’ll be] definitely following their training plan, just getting bigger, getting better,” he said.