For the longest time, football, and all sports have been seen as a form of entertainment. People sit down with a snack and watch the games. Either on television or in person. There’s a reason why they watch it, and why it is looked at to be entertainment. It’s exciting. Football is a very fast paced sport, which if two good teams are playing each other anything can happen at any point in the game. It has gotten to a point in time where the game of football is a billion dollar industry and there are hundreds of opportunities for the athletes in the industry. The only thing though, a lot of this money, and the majority of these opportunities only go out to the football players in the United States. There is this narrative going around in the world today that only athletes in the U.S are marketable and are looked at to be “elite” athletes, but that narrative is slowly changing as athletes in Canada, and other countries take over.
One athlete that is taking over from all aspects of life is Stephane Tshishimbi. Tshishimbi, originally from Ottawa, the nation’s capital, plays for linebacker for the University of British Columbia’s football team. He got recruited by coach Blake Nill and the UBC Thunderbirds in 2020 after playing his senior year of high school in 2019 at Clearwater Academy International in Florida, and Nill is happy to have him on his team. As a rookie, Tshishimbi made 15 tackles and a tackle for loss in 6 games played. Down the stretch of the season he made 12 tackles over three games against Regina, Manitoba and Calgary, showing his potential for the future with the Thunderbirds, but his bright future is not limited to just football.
Stephane Tshishimbi is a brand, and a growing brand. He is living proof that Canadian athletes are parallel with American athletes, on and off the field. Tshishimbi has played across the border and held his own at Clearwater Academy International under head coach Jesse Chinchar, he and a number of his former teammates have had success in the U.S.A for football, therefore it’s been known that Canadians can play with the Americans, but it’s been the media and marketing around it that has been behind. As mentioned previously, Canadian athletes haven’t been looked at to be marketable, like American athletes have been. Players state side have made millions of dollars on their name, image and likenesses for years, something that Tshishimbi looks to do as well, but in Canada. “Its never been done before,” he told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “in Canada, there hasn’t been a lot athletes that make their mark outside of their sports. There’s a narrative that we are only athletes and can’t really do much else, but I want to change the narrative.”
Outside of being a stud on the football field at all levels, from his time in Ottawa with the Myers Riders, to his time in Florida with Clearwater Academy and now with the University of British Columbia, Stephane Tshishimbi has also made a name for himself in the music industry as well as the modelling and film industry. Going by TGEStephy, Tshishimbi has released and featured on a number of hits, including “Pain” and “4X4”, he implies, “Music has always been with me, but not always seriously. I really got into it when I was in Florida where I was around a lot of artistic minds that I could relate more to. Johari (McGregor/ TGETruth) introduced me to “The Grey Era” which I am now a part of and we are all on to doing big things. I’m very excited about it all,” he continued, “music is a way I can express myself.” As for modelling and acting, Tshishimbi has also done numerous photoshoots, and appeared on an Amazon Prime Original, “The Reacher” as a background actor. He said, “being on set with big time actors and learning from experienced producers and actors was pretty huge for me.”
In the next couple of years, starting now, he looks to expand his name as an artist and an actor while still playing football, showing that it is not only possible to do both, but succeed doing both as well. On Friday, a documentary will be released by Tshishimbi and Apex Visual Productions to tell the life story of Stephane Tshishimbi the football player, and the brand. He tells Jordan Zlomislic, “The documentary is about my life. It tells my football story. How I got into it, my football in Ottawa, my time in Florida and being with UBC, but it also shows my life off of the field. It goes into detail about my goals and vision as a brand.”
“Its to show people that you don’t have to be confined to what people think about you. Some people think that I’m just a football player, or even some people think I only do music and are surprised about me playing football, but I do everything. I know that I can do anything that I want under my name, and really anyone can do this.”
Tshishimbi has the goal of one day being a professional athlete, whether that be in the CFL or NFL, a mainstream artist and a star actor in large roles of movies and television series. He’s already kick started everything to get their very soon, and wants to see more athletes like himself do more to be looked at as brands in Canada, like you can see in the states.
He says in a form of advice for young athletes in similar situations as himself, “Don’t be afraid to be different. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.”
The Stephane Tshishimbi documentary, “The Next Chapter” can be seen on Apex Visual Productions’ website starting Friday January 14th at 8:00 PM EDT.