Kicker David Côté is already displaying the attitude of a veteran at Alouettes training camp. At least, the athlete from Quebec is much more comfortable than last year, when he was in his first professional camp with the Montreal club.
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"Let's say that I know more how it works, it's less unknown, it's less stressful, indicated Côté, Friday, after the morning training held at the Cégep de Trois-Rivières stadium. I can just focus on one thing: kicking the ball."
The former Université Laval Rouge et Or color holder, now 25, remembers very well his first day at Alouettes training camp in 2021, when he showed up at the Olympic Stadium to change to the team locker room.
"I was told it was in the basement of the Olympic Stadium, but I didn't really know where to go," he said, laughing. The last time I set foot there was in 2008. I had just turned 12 and it was the Gray Cup final between the Alouettes and the Calgary Stampeders.
At the time, the young David certainly had no idea that he would return there one day to become a professional football player.
After successfully breaking through the Alouettes' squad last year, Côté is not taking his position for granted during this camp in Trois-Rivières. He finds himself in particular in fight with the American kicker Andrew Foster, a player from Morehead State University, Kentucky. Australian Joseph Zema, who specializes in punts, is also back.
“I have the same mentality, I know that I have to work as if it were my first year at camp, indicated Côté. You can't sit back and take this lightly."
In his first campaign with the Alouettes, the kicker made 32 field goals in 39 attempts. He notably made nine punts of 40 yards or more between the posts.
Côté applies precisely this recipe, these days, at the camp of the Alouettes.
The NFL: The Ultimate Dream
David Côté assures that his old dream of one day playing in the NFL is far from haunting his thoughts. His position as a kicker, however, could suggest that it is not yet too late for him, at 25.
“I'm not even close to thinking about that right now, said Côté, focused on his position to keep with the Montreal Alouettes. It would be a lie to say that I no longer dream of it. Any football player logically aims for the biggest league in the world and the NFL is the best league in our sport.”
Over the years, kickers Adam Vinatieri, Morten Anderson and Matt Bryant have notably proven that it is possible to play this position for a long time after having blown out 40 candles. Côté is not, however, the one who loses himself in certain illusions.
“What I currently control is to succeed in my next kick,” the Quebecer rather indicates, wisely.
Memories of Alabama
There was a time when the American dream was more present in Côté's mind. At this level, he remembers a trip in June 2016 during which, accompanied by his father Daniel, he took part in a kicking camp at the prestigious University of Alabama, in the setting of the Crimson Tide formation.
“It remains a beautiful memory, even if I had not been able to carve out a place for myself, he agrees. It was a very nice experience.”
Looking back on this trip, Côté says: “My parents have always supported and motivated me in my career. I think of my father Daniel, but also of my mother Linda [Giroux]. I think it's important to mention it."