Cyrille Hogan-Saindon, a passion for football that didn’t want to die

Several times it crossed my mind to quit football. I think it’s normal. Sometimes I couldn’t see the end. I was wondering if it was worth continuing launches Cyrille Hogan Saindon at the end of the line.

The giant athlete from Quebec tells his story without pitying himself. On the contrary, he said, he would not change anything. Tuesday evening the footballer is where he always wanted to be. Surrounded by his loved ones and his teammates waiting for his name to be spoken during the CFL Draft. I am excited and nervous at the same time. It’s a big step and the start of something new. I can’t wait to see who’s going to take the risk with me.

The Cyrille Hogan-Saindon Center

Photo: Mathieu Belanger

The 24-year-old footballer, who was ranked the 18th best prospect by the CFL’s recruiting agency, almost certainly looks set to become the 20th offensive lineman in Rouge et Or history to be selected in the professional ranks. However, his career at Laval University is unprecedented.

A passion that came too late

It must be said that football came quite late in the life of Cyrille Hogan-Saindon. It was not until the fifth grade, in the Petit Séminaire de Québec, that he put on the shoulder pads for the first time.

skateur. J’avais un bon gabarit et ça faisait plusieurs années que les gars à mon école me demandaient de venir jouer au football. Je disais toujours non. Quand j’ai fini par accepter, j’ai tout de suite eu la piqûre”,”text”:”J’étais un joueur de hockey et un skateur. J’avais un bon gabarit et ça faisait plusieurs années que les gars à mon école me demandaient de venir jouer au football. Je disais toujours non. Quand j’ai fini par accepter, j’ai tout de suite eu la piqûre”}}”>I was a hockey player and a skateboarder† I was a good size and the boys from my school had been asking me to play football for years. I always said no. When I finally accepted, I immediately had the stinghe says.

Hogan-Saindon protects his quarterback when he throws a pass during a game.

Quarterback Arnaud Desjardins and center Cyrille Hogan-Saindon

Photo: Mathieu Belanger

Used by his coaches on the offensive and defensive lines that year, Cyrille Hogan-Saindon had to quickly learn the basics of the oval ball. In the beginning it is rare that we are good, but my coaches were former Rouge et Or and they immediately saw the potential I had.

Enough for the Élans de Garneau to invite him to continue his apprenticeship with the team, and three years later Glen Constantin recruited him in turn for the Rouge et Or.

Four years without playing a game

Laval wasn’t the only team interested in the services of the 1m94 (6’4”) and 136kg (301lb) behemoth, but he didn’t see himself playing anywhere but in his hometown. The Rouge et Or had just won the Vanier Cup and were recognized as the team with the best front line in the country.

Hogan-Saindon kind of learned it the hard way when he arrived. During his first three seasons with the team, between 2017 and 2019, the coaches never dressed him for a game. Other players were ahead of him in the Rouge et Or org chart. Then just as his turn appeared to be coming, the pandemic struck and the 2020 season went through the wringer. A few times he thought about hanging up his shoulder pads for good.

I persisted because I still liked exercising. I love football so much and just standing on the field every day with my friends and trying to get better, I never got tired of it.

A quote from Cyrille Hogan-Saindon

From reserve to star player

Improvement is what the center tried to do by working hard in the training room during the year of forced football hiatus. When the first game of 2021 finally arrived at the end of August, the business student was not only in uniform, but in progress.

When I heard that I was leaving, it was very emotional. It’s a dream I’ve had for so long and I’ve really enjoyed every moment of the season. I sat on the couch looking for so long that I knew what it was worth.

On the field, Hogan-Saindon quickly proved that he was able to not only get by, but often dominate the defensive linemen in front of him. Years of shadow practice against future pros such as Mathieu Betts and Vincent Desjardins paid off.

During a match at Telus Stadium, he comes out of a tangle with his teammates.

Cyrille Hogan-Saindon (number 59) had to wait four seasons before being allowed to wear the Rouge et Or uniform for a match. Here he now stands at the gates of the CFL.

Photo: Nicolas Mallard

The coaches of Quebec’s university network noticed. Enough to name him in the circuit’s all-star team at the end of the season. Suddenly, CFL teams began to inquire about the man who had never played a college game a few months earlier.

A polishing diamond

Cyrille Hogan-Saindon didn’t miss his chance. Invited to combined of the CFL in Toronto, the 24-year-old athlete dominated the physical tests. Both in the bench press, where he beat all the other attacking players present, and in the agility tests.

At the end of the day, every team on the Ambrosia Tour wanted to talk to him. A few weeks later, he jumped to the top hope rankings for the second chance, ahead of all the other players at the University of Quebec.

The center player now sees his inexperience as a new card in his game and is something of a diamond to polish for CFL teams. An exceptional athlete whose full potential is still untapped.

It has often been difficult in recent years, but I think nothing happens for nothing. That setback transformed me as a footballer and led me to where I am today. I am healthy, fit and ready to prove myself in the pros.

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