Airdrie brothers go head-to-head for first time in CIS soccer
Though they had been on the same men’s summer league soccer team in the past, Airdrie natives Ryan and Curtis Contenti had never gone up against one another out on the field.
That all changed on Sept. 14 and 15 in Lethbridge, as Ryan suited up for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies to take on Curtis and the host University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.
“It was a pretty cool and fun experience,” said Ryan, a 22 year old, who is in his fifth season with the Huskies.
“As we were growing up, we never played against each other competitively as we were in different age groups, so I was really curious to see how it would turn out.”
“To go against him was a lot of fun, and I think it was something that we both enjoyed,” Curtis, an 18 year old, who is in his freshman season with the Pronghorns added.
The two brothers ended up splitting their two games during the weekend, as the Huskies picked up a 1-0 win on Sept. 14, with the Pronghorns taking a 2-1 victory on Sept. 15.
“When I was going up against him and I saw him in that other uniform, I had a little bit of extra motivation out there, and I really enjoyed playing him in both of those games a result,” Curtis said.
“It’s always fun to play against someone you know at this level and I was really interested to see how he would play against me,” Ryan added.
“I thought he did extremely well.”
The matchup between the Contenti brothers was an interesting one to watch for their parents, as their father Reno and mother Wanda attended both games in Lethbridge.
“They wore blue for the Pronghorns in the first game and they wore green for the Huskies the next day, so I don’t really know who they were cheering for,” Curtis said.
“I think they just wanted to see a good game and to see us both play well,” Ryan added. “Since we both won a game during the weekend, I think that was the best possible outcome that they could have hoped for.”
The win for the Pronghorns on Sept. 15 was the first for Curtis in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) ranks, as the former Bert Church Charger has already had the chance to have a ton of playing time as a centre defender.
“Personally speaking, it has been awesome for me so far,” said Curtis, who is in the management program at the University of Lethbridge. “I have played full games in our four contests so far, and while I didn’t expect to play that much in my first few games, I have been taking advantage of it.”
Ryan, who is finishing up his history degree at the University of Saskatchewan, has taken on more of a leadership role with the Huskies this season, who currently have a 3-1 record.
“That’s something I have tried to do with the team this year, as I am in my fifth season,” he explained. “We have a fairly balanced roster and our first three games went really well, but that loss to Lethbridge shows that we have a lot of things that we need to work on.”
Though the regular season in the Canada West Prairie Division won’t conclude until the end of October, both of the Contenti brothers are hoping their team will make it into the playoffs.
“On paper, we have a really strong team this year, and it’s one of the deepest rosters we’ve had since I came here,” Ryan said.
“If we can match our potential, I think we have a shot at winning our conference.”
“Last year, the Pronghorns just missed out on making the playoffs by one goal,” Curtis added. “So if we can get into the playoffs this year, that would be a huge deal for our program.”