Azaan Sayeed’s 2020-2021 season at Ryerson was the start of a new journey; it was his first full varsity season. Despite it being his debut season, Azaan’s first year went exceptionally well.
Though it took some time to get accustomed with the adjustments of the team, he soon adapted, playing in 6 games of the season. Ryerson had a wonderful run but fell just short of reaching the finals, with the final scoreline reading 3-2 to York University in the Ontario University Athletes (OUA) semi-finals.
As Azaan hasn’t played competitive football in Bangladesh’, he was seemingly unaware of the collegial level imbalance between Bangladeshi varsity football and Canadian varsity football. However, when asked about it, he stated that the elite coaches, physiotherapists, paramedics, first-rated faculties and abundance of great facilities are very different from the ones provided in Bangladesh.
Stepping up to Ryerson from underground football, the grassroots level in Bangladesh, was a big change for Azaan. At the time he was learning to play, the only tournaments that were being held were informal ones, hosted by local players during the weekends or inter-school tournaments. There were no facilities, no physiotherapists or coaches to guide him. Thus the transition from underground to collegiate level, where you are constantly monitored, mentored and supervised, was mammoth. Universities have a surplus of essentially the best players from high schools all across the country and internationally, who have the same desire to play football at the highest level. Azaan is mindful of this competition and the opportunity he has been presented with and therefore he plans to cement a permanent position in the starting eleven.
The 2010 World Cup had a profound effect on Azaan’s aspirations to play football. Iniesta’s remarkable last gasp goal in the finals against the Netherlands was the moment he claims he madly fell in love with football. To this day, he is driven by the ceaseless passion and devotion towards football, pushing him to exceed his limits and play at the highest level possible.
After he graduated high school, Azaan was in Dhaka for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During this period, he focused on improving his fitness for his preseason trial at Ryerson and continued to play locally with his friends.
Azaan’s advice to anyone who is aiming to play at the collegiate level would be to primarily keep on playing football and enjoying the sport itself. Refining and polishing one’s fundamental base is rather more important than worrying about building up one’s fitness by working out at the gym, since he believes that these outlooks are secondary to the technical and methodical aspect of the game.
‘’Playing competitively has its ups and downs. For some people the tactical and physical side of the game can be comparatively less enjoyable than just playing pickup with your friends, but personally I enjoy the competition and I like playing against players who are better than me as they motivate me to improve. ‘’