Why Giving Matters

Student Athletes Win Big

Andrew Seinet-Spaulding (pictured below) shone in his debut season as a defensive tackle with the McGill Redmen football team.

He earned numerous accolades, including being named team MVP, making him only the third rookie in the team’s history to win that honour – a milestone initially achieved by Michael Soles, BA’89, (pictured above) who went on to play professionally in the Canadian Football League.

seinet-spauldingSeinet-Spaulding shares another tie to the famed Redman. The lineman is a recipient of the Michael Soles Football Award, which provides financial assistance to Redmen players in good academic standing.

“I wouldn’t know how I would be in school right now if it wasn’t for the Mike Soles award,” he says.

During his freshman year, Seinet-Spaulding also had a chance to meet Soles, who suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). “He attends all the banquets that we have, so we get the chance to meet him and talk to him. He cheers us on – he’s always with us.”

Soles won 48 awards with the Redmen and played a pivotal role in their unexpected 1987 Vanier Cup victory, before graduating to a successful CFL career. In 2014, his former Redmen teammates looked for a way to honour him and his McGill football legacy. “It had to be memorable and it had to be lasting,” explained former Redmen slotback Bruno Pietrobon, BEng’89, when the Michael Soles Football Award was inaugurated.

Pietrobon and four other former members of the legendary ’87 Redmen team aimed to raise $80,000 on McGill’s Seeds of Change crowdfunding platform to endow the award. They quickly surpassed that, with donations ultimately reaching $250,000. The five organizers, along with Soles, won the McGill Alumni Association’s E.P. Taylor Award for their efforts.

Seinet-Spaulding has his own sights set on playing in the CFL, but his other long-term goal is to become a social worker. That dream is becoming a reality: having finished preparatory courses in Health and Social Services Management at McGill’s School of Continuing Studies, this fall he will shift into the Bachelor of Social Work program in the Faculty of Arts. All he’s wanted to do since he was young, he says, is to help troubled youth.

School and football involve a lot of work, but Seinet-Spaulding says that’s the life of a student athlete. “If you want to play football, you have to go to school. And school’s first.”

Seven players, including Seinet-Spaulding, have received the award named for McGill legend Mike Soles since its inception.

Read our full Report on Giving 2018.