Balancing academics, athletics, and leaving home




Océane Deslauriers, a product of FS Salaberry soccer, will be attending Salem University in West Virginia, where she will play for the Tigers.

Photo: Courtesy Océane Deslauriers

Moving on to university provides a level of excitement and nervousness for students. Those emotions can be magnified when it involves student-athletes who are not just moving up, but also moving out as the institutions they will attend are not within commuting distance from home. Since this removes them from their comfort zone and support network of family and friends, they need to have the maturity to overcome these new challenges, relying in large part on their own character and skills.

When it comes to student-athletes attending out of town institutions, this is a goal they have pursued for some time. Whether they are there on a full or partial scholarship or gained admittance to the school based on academic and athletic skills, this is merely the first step. The pressure is on to perform in the classroom as well as in athletic competitions.

There are numerous common threads woven into successful student-athletes that serve them as they climb each wrung of their educational ladder. Starting with self-confidence and self-discipline, a student-athlete has passion and is motivated to succeed. Bumps in the road won’t put these individuals off course as they know how to face stress with poise, accept criticism, and possess the ability to overcome setbacks.


More and more the path to higher education for a student-athlete is through combines — events held to evaluate athletic skills — where they are exposed to numerous institutions. Two soccer players who benefitted from their combine experience are Océane Deslauriers and Leila Karam, who both committed to American universities after attending the Ribeiro-Moojen Combine. “I did attend last year’s combine, but I felt I wasn’t ready yet,” Deslauriers said. “I felt this year was my year and I worked much harder.”

That hard work garnered success as Deslauriers will be attending Salem University in West Virginia where she will play for the Tigers. As is the case for many, there was more than one school interested in having Deslauriers commit, so it came down to which institution offers the best fit.

“Salem was the first school to speak with me, but it was the program I wanted to follow that helped me to choose them,” she said. “I plan to study in human science, nutrition, and performance and Salem is one of the top schools for that.”

Karam feels that it was thanks to Ribeiro and Moojen — founded by former professional soccer players Antonio Ribeiro and Frederico Moojen — that she was able to earn a scholarship to Indian Hills in Ottumwa, Iowa where she will be a member of the Warriors. “They helped me get this,” Leila Karam said. “Without their input I wouldn’t be in Iowa right now.”


This is an important opportunity for Karam. “To have a scholarship in D1 (Division 1) in America is very, very important to me,” said Karam, who will be studying chemistry. “It’s going to be an important thing for my career and even towards the [Canadian] national team. I think this opportunity will allow me to be a better athlete and student.”

Deslauriers, a product of FS Salaberry soccer, noted some pros and cons about moving south. “The toughest will be leaving my family,” she said, adding. “But I am looking forward to adapting to something new, and also to improve my English. French is my first language. My English is pretty good, but I need to learn all the technical terms in English for my courses.”


Leila Karam was able to earn a scholarship to Indian Hills in Ottumwa, Iowa where she will be a member of the Warriors

Photo: Courtesy Leila Karam

At the time of the interview, weeks before the start of the school semester, Karam was already on campus and practicing with her team. Getting to Iowa was a family affair. “My family loaded up the car and drove me here,” she said. “They’ve done everything so I would be all set when I got here. It’s tough to be so far from them but I look forward to the challenges ahead.”

Moving forward, it will all be about balance of both school and sports when Karam’s courses kick in. “So far so good,” she said. “I get to be a great group of players, a great staff and a great coach.”

Deslauriers was preparing to head south when she was interviewed and was about set to go. “To get ready was a long process,” she said. “There was lots of paperwork, and the school really helped me to get through it.”

She has hit the ground running in West Virginia where she has a simple game plan. “I’m going to put all my effort into soccer and studying,” she said. “This is all I am going to do, play soccer then go back and study. If I don’t study and get great marks, then I won’t get to play.”


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Happy customer doing extremely well in the NCAA 1. Congrats @chadi.mayati Keep up the good work #NCAA1 #MLS #RibeiroMoojen #RMCombine #SIMA #FAU
Partnership with one of the biggest clubs in the world @atletico #CAM #RMCombine #RibeiroMoojen #RMPUS
Great partnership deal. More news in the coming weeks. We are so excited to be able to host our PRO coaches in one of the best hotels in Montreal downtown. @sheratonmontreal If you are coming to Montreal and need a hotel downtown, we recommend the Sheraton Downtown Montreal. Fully renovated 🔝 ______ Excellente partenariat. Plus de nouvelles dans les semaines à venir. Nous sommes très heureux de pouvoir accueillir nos entraîneurs PRO dans l'un des meilleurs hôtels du centre-ville de Montréal. @sheratonmontreal Si vous venez à Montréal et avez besoin d'un hôtel au centre-ville, nous vous recommandons le Sheraton Downtown Montreal. Entièrement rénové 😍 #RMPro #RMCombine #Montreal #Sheraton
Several coaches confirmed. Only 3 more places available (center back position) before registrations will close (waiting list available). 2023 RIBEIRO-MOOJEN PRO COMBINE #RMPro #Combine #Pro
Another happy client and scoring goals! Paula is currently with @gsu_soccer in the NCAA 1 Keep up the good work Paula @paulaboza_ #RMCombine #TheTotalPackage
Our 6’3 GK Gaurav is doing well at NJCAA with @allencc.mensoccer NCAA coaches looking for a GK for fall 2024, make sure you watch @gsandhu._ play #RMCombine #TheTotalPackage
Our talented Center Back client @nassimn_ is the captain of his current NJCAA 1 team @eosc_msoc #RMCombine #TheTotalPackage
From our 2023 RIBEIRO-MOOJEN COMBINE to @fightingowlsmsoc We love to see stories like this. The sky is the limit. Keep up the good work @xavier_roy_soccer #RMCombine #NJCAA1
Our client from Montreal, Quebec Saad is doing well in the NCAA 1. @sdc_ft MAAC rookie of the week playing for @ridermenssoccer @maacsports Congrats Saad. This is only the beginning. #RMCombine #TheTotalPackage
Joueurs Ribeiromoojen Pro en Espagne
Only a few more places available. Our staff will be watching several games in the next weeks to find the best talent we can possibly find for the last 20 spots we have for this event. #RMPro #RMCombine #Montreal
Two happy clients playing against one another in the NCAA 😍 Good luck this season @eugenie.amidou_ (UNCP) and @gab.cossette ( Catawba) @uncpwsoccer @catuwsoc #RMCombine #TheTotalPackage
Another MAJOR club @sjearthquakes @mls confirmed to come to recruit our players at the 2023 RIBEIROMOOJEN PRO COMBINE: December 16-17 in Montreal. 12 pro coaches already confirmed: San Jose (MLS), AC Milan ( Seria A), ATLETICO Mineiro (Série A), ATLETICO San Luis (Mexican first division), Miami ( USL), Omaha (USL), etc…. Only a few more places available for players to register. DO NOT MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY!!! #RMPro #RMCombine #Montreal #combine #showcase
Our client Marc Kouadio has a huge season ahead in the NCAA 1 with ETSU. We have no doubt that the sky is the limit for this talented and very athletic GK. Marc is from Montreal, Quebec and has already caps with Team Canada youth squads. Best of luck @marc__kouadio this season! @etsumsoccer #RMCombine #TheTotalPackage
Good meeting with the director of sales of the Sheraton downtown Montreal today @sheratonmontreal #sheraton #RMCombine
Last year the big division 1 Brazilian club @atletico selected 3 boys from our event to go for a 2 week trial with their U17 side. Do you want to be the next one? ATLÉTICO MINEIRO and many other big clubs will be here in Montreal December 16-17 to see YOU! Boys 16-24 years old. DO NOT MISS this opportunity. #RMCombine #RMPro
Two former @rmpus players in action yesterday playing for the NJCAA 1 side @tbirdmenssoccer #RMPUS #NJCAA1 #RMCombine
Big win for our girls @leane_cmrt & @sierra.giorgio at @ou_wsoccer Well done girls! Huge win. Onto the next ⚽️⭐️ #RMCombine #Oklahoma
Best of luck this season @avaacampione with @concordiasoccer We know you will do very well ⭐️ #RMCombine #montreal
Miami FC coach is excited about our pro combine this December in Montreal. Do you have what it takes to play for MIAMI FC? @themiamifc #RMCombine #RMPro #Montreal #Miami
From Spain 🇪🇸 to our PRO COMBINE Confirmed @nextstarsfcacademy #RMCombine #RMPro
10 coaches confirmed from all over the world. Did you register yet? Boys 16-24 years old that want an opportunity to play professionally ⚽️ Inbox 📥 if you want more info. #RMCombine #RMPro #montreal
Game day in Spain for the RIBEIROMOOJEN PRO boys with @nextstarsfcacademy vs Racing Portuense U18s #RMCombine #RMPro
Another @rmpus player was on the field in St-Louis last night playing vs a top NCAA 1 program: Saad Saad joined RMPUS soccer + school last year and now is playing and studying in St Louis with his former RMPUS teammate Arthis. Best of luck this season in the US 🇺🇸⚽️ Saad. @viraa.s7 ______ Un autre joueur du RMPUS était sur le terrain à St-Louis hier soir pour jouer contre un des meilleurs programmes de la NCAA 1 : Saad Saad a rejoint RMPUS soccer + school l'année dernière et joue et étudie maintenant à St Louis avec son ancien coéquipier RMPUS Arthis. Bonne chance cette saison aux États-Unis 🇺🇸⚽️ Saad #RMCombine #RMPUS
Repost from RMPUS: @rmpus “Arthis making us proud in St Louis playing vs a top NCAA 1 program last night. Arthis joined RMPUS in 2022/2023 for school and soccer. After the winter @ribeiromoojen SHOWCASE he accepted an offer to go play & study in Saint Louis. We are super happy to be part of his journey. This is only the beginning. Make us proud @arthis_ishaka ____ Arthis nous rend fiers à St Louis en jouant contre un programme de haut niveau de la NCAA 1 hier soir. Arthis a rejoint RMPUS en 2022/2023 pour l'école et le soccer. Après le SHOWCASE d'hiver @ribeiromoojen, il a accepté une offre d'aller jouer et étudier à Saint Louis. Nous sommes super heureux de faire partie de son parcours. Ce n'est que le commencement. Rends-nous fiers @arthis_ishaka #RMPUS #RMCombine #STL “

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