Griffins add a healthy Jamieson and new striker Amanda ahead of weekend matches

Stewart Jamieson heads the ball away from danger during a match against Alberta last season (Robert Antoniuk photo).
Stewart Jamieson heads the ball away from danger during a match against Alberta last season (Robert Antoniuk photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Such a key member of the Griffins men's soccer team's upstart run into the Canada West playoffs for the first time in program history last fall, Stewart Jamieson had big goals and plans as he prepared for the 2022 season.


Full stop.

Suffering an ankle injury in late July, the wingback was forced to sit on the sidelines for 48 days.

So, when he finally returned to training on Wednesday morning, you can't blame him for being a bit like a kid in a candy store.

"I was buzzing," he said. "Mentally, it just gave me a reinvigoration. My energy definitely went up for sure. It's nice to be on the pitch with the boys. As much as it's nice to be on the sideline talking with them, it's so much more enjoyable playing with them."

There's a chance Jamieson will get into the lineup this weekend as the Griffins (2-1-2) host Victoria (2-3-1) on Saturday (2:30 p.m., Clareview Field) and UBC-Okanagan (0-3-1) on Sunday (1:30 p.m., Clarke Stadium, both games Canada West TV).

Jamieson won't be the only player potentially making his 2022 debut as the Griffins signed former FC Edmonton forward Prince Amanda earlier this week. The striker figures to add even more punch to an already deep and talented attacking group.

"He's pacey, very rapid, loves to take guys on 1v1," said head coach Adam Loga. "We're still trying to get him immersed in our game model here, so there's some things he will learn. 

"Hopefully he can be a bit more of a hybrid forward for us, hold the ball up, link with players underneath and in behind – kind of do a little bit of everything for us. That's the hope."

Amanda was born in a refugee camp in Tanzania after his family fled the Democratic Republic of Congo due to a civil war. They ended up in Edmonton where he grew up playing soccer for the Sherwood Park Soccer Association and later Extreme FC. He participated in a U14 national team ID camp before signing with FC Edmonton in 2019 where he appeared in six games over parts of three seasons. In his FC Edmonton debut, he scord one of the nicest goals of the 2019 CPL season. 

Amanda is the younger brother of Gloire Amanda, who plays professionally for Austrian Bundesliga club Austria Klagenfurt after setting a scoring record for Oregon State University and winning the Mac Hermann Trophy in 2020 as the top player in the NCAA.

"They're a very talented family," said Loga. "He played with a lot of our players in the youth program and even on FC Edmonton with Chance (Carter). He's very welcomed coming to MacEwan."

Amanda will give Loga even more options to his attack, which already includes reigning MacEwan Male Athlete of the Year Rakan Yassin, captain Stefan Gajic and a cast of promising rookies led Ousman Maheshe, Egzon Jeteshi and Tommy Millar.

"It keeps that healthy competition, keeps legs fresh and minutes managed," he said. "It keeps everyone consistent. On the days that maybe one isn't consistent, and we need a little bit of support, there's always one to step in. It's a good problem to have, for sure."

And on the defensive side of the ball, Jamieson's return figures to have a big impact. He played every minute of MacEwan's quarter-final loss to Victoria and just brings a presence back there. The Edmonton Scottish product, who was born in Scotland, but moved with his family to Edmonton at age three, was a bit of a revelation for the Griffins in 2021, but he feels he can be even better.

"Coming off of injury I am excited to get into the season," he said. "Last year, we ended the season so strong, I think I was playing probably my best football. I think I can lift it up another gear. 

"I'm excited to get into some matches and really test myself. Especially with our squad depth this year, you have to be at your best to be in the (18). I think I need some more strong performances."

Stewart Jamieson (16) and the Griffins faced a tough contest against West Division-leading Victoria in the opening round of the 2021 Canada West playoffs, but they pushed the Vikes to overtime in the contest (Armando Turn, AP Shutter photo).

He also brings something else to MacEwan's back four.

"He's just an all-around leader," said Loga. "He leads by example and brings a lot of intensity to the guys and compete. He was in full training (on Wednesday) and already the intensity raised. He's just got an attitude that's contagious and we're super excited to have him back. 

"Obviously, with the signing of Prince and then you get a guy like Stew healthy, I don't think there's many teams in the conference right now who can add two players like that almost midway through the season."

Perfect timing, as MacEwan is about to face the very team that knocked them out in the playoffs last season. The Griffins were tied with the Victoria Vikes 3-3 after regulation in their Oct. 30, 2021, quarter-final match before running out of gas and falling 6-3.
"It was probably one of the funnest experiences I've had on the football pitch, as much as the score-line didn't reflect how we played," said Jamieson. "I thought it was one of the best experiences I've had playing. 

"I think this year could be the redemption. We have a squad that's only improved. I'm excited to put them to the test and put ourselves to the test."