Blazers Men's Soccer Bolster Backline with Byfield
The CMU Men's Soccer program is very pleased to announce the commitment of Daunte Byfield for the 2023-24 MCAC season. The Linden Christian product will bring athleticism and a passion for the game to the Blazers' backline beginning this fall.
One look at the 5'11" Byfield's powerful frame and it becomes immediately apparent why the budding sport star has seen so much success in a wide range of sports over the last few years. Never one to stick to a single athletic dicipline, Byfield has cultivated an all-around athlete persona that suggests a rare competitive drive and game sense allowing him to make an impact on many levels. Coming out of the MHSAA "AAA" Linden Christian School has allowed Byfield to broaden his athletic endeavours, featuring prominently on a number of their varsity teams. He has anchored the back line of the Wings' varsity soccer team since 2021, helping the team to a Zone 12 Championship in 2021, as well as a "AAAA" Provincials consolation finals appearance last high school season. He is looking to lead the team as a co-captain in the upcoming spring season, which begins in a few weeks' time.
Clearly the born-and-raised Winnipegger knows what it takes to compete and win against the top athletes in the province, having been part of his high school volleyball squad that has captured back-to-back "AAA" Provincial Championships, where he featured as a middle. His efforts with the team led to him earning the Junior Varsity Christian Character Award in 2020, and he has since followed that up with a Varsity Christian Character Award in 2022 for co-captaining the Linden Christian varsity basketball squad where he played as the team's small forward. As if playing the 'big three' school sports wasn't enough of a commitment, Byfield has also participated and excelled at a number of other high school sports, including top five finishes in javelin and discus at varsity track and field meets, and an appearance at MHSAA "AAAA" Provincials for discus last year. He has also translated some serious raquet skills from his background in youth tennis into a Zone 12 finals appearance in mixed doubles badminton, and a subsequent berth at the high school Provincial Championships. Not surprisingly, the true multisport athlete was given the Linden Christian Varsity Athletic Achievement Award in 2022 and is looking to repeat as winner this year.
Byfield has also developed his talents on the field and court through club participation both prior to and during his time at Linden Christian. As mentioned above, he began his multisport upbringing with Advantage Tennis at Taylor Tennis Club with whom he won several doubles tournaments. As with a majority of the current Blazers men's volleyball team, Byfield played his club volleyball with 204 Volleyball, which he played from 14U to his 17U seasons. Meanwhile, on the pitch, he began his high-level soccer with South End United where he featured as a defender even from an early age. On the gridiron, Byfield has his roots firmly set with the Fort Garry Lions Football Club where he also featured on the defensive side of the ball as a middle linebacker. His dedication to football led him to become the Lions' defensive player of the year in 2018, and the team went on to become the MMFA Championship finalists the following season while he was a capatin of the squad. His success in football has kept Byfield involved in a coaching capacity, starting as a peewee defensive coach for the 2020-2021 seasons, and then as a defensive coordinator for the bantam age group in 2022, helping those squads to Championship finals appearances the last two years. Unsurprisingly, Byfield has also competed on the diamond with Fort Garry Sox Baseball, and has stayed involved there as well, helping coach the 15U squad to a West Division Championship followed by a Provincial Finals appearance last summer.
If the Byfield name sounds familiar in connection with CMU and Blazers Athletics already, it's because Daunte's older sister Anari-Mai has been a big personality around the school since she began her post-secondary career on the women's basketball team in the fall of 2021. Leadership skills clearly run in the family, as the elder Byfield was recently voted President of CMU's Student Council for the 2023-24 school year when she intends to leave her stamp on the school. Look for Daunte to be an immediate impact player with the men's soccer squad, playing alongside 2022 MCAC All-Star Noah Schindel, and filling the big hole of graduate Gode Katembo in the Blazers' backline. Men's Soccer head coach Anderson Pereira spoke to Blazers Athletics about his first signing of the offseason stating "I'm thrilled for Daunte to be joining us this coming season, and the leadership and competitiveness he can bring to our squad. Not only will he raise the athleticism of our back line, with the capability to shut down the top strikers in the league, but he's also a quality person on and off the field and thinks the game very well." Byfield is grateful for the opportunity to represent the Blazers and be among great teammates, coaches, and support staff and is excited about getting going for the upcoming year.
Now heading into their third season since the MCAC was fully accepted into the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association, the Blazers are ready to hit the road for some pre-season CCAA action in Alberta later in the summer leading up to the MCAC season. The provincial winners from MCAC earn a spot at the National Championships, so the Blazers will push hard for the title as they host the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference Championships at the Ralph Cantafio Soccer Complex October 28-29 in search of their first championship since the 2018 outdoor season.