Sports

SAIT soccer heads into new season

Men’s soccer season preview
It could be a year of juggling for the SAIT men’s soccer team.
Seeing only three players returning from last year’s Trojans squad, coach Grant Stevens is left with many tough decisions on how to fill out the rest of his lineup.
Defenseman Jordan Alvarez, and midfielders Daniel Broadhurst and Garrick Collins make up the veteran leadership on this year’s Trojans team, and they’ll be tasked with easing the newcomers into coach Stevens’ system.
“It’s a totally new squad,” said Stevens. “I’m going to have to start from the beginning, go back to the proverbial drawing board.”
For many of the first-year hopefuls, a Sept. 7 exhibition match against the University of Calgary served as a final opportunity to impress their coach, who planned to trim his roster to 22 before the season opener Sept. 11 against Mount Royal.
Stevens wanted a tough opponent for his team’s final exhibition match to use as a measuring stick to see where his team was at going into the season.  “I used the game tonight to make all the cuts,” said Stevens. “Some guys didn’t perform against a strong U of C team and they will be cut.”
The U of C Dinos looked sharp, and were poised at controlling the ball, while the Trojans seemed to panic at times and struggled to maintain possession.
Much of this had to do with unfamiliarity amongst the players who haven’t played together before, and nerves for many of the players on the bubble trying to make the team.
“A lot of guys don’t know each other, and have only had two or three sessions playing together,” said Andres Galarza, a newcomer to the Trojans this year. “We need the veterans to assimilate with the new ones and try to find that chemistry.”
What the team lacks in skill, Stevens thinks it makes up for with speed and grit.
Though he is optimistic about his team’s chances this season, he knows there will be growing pains early on.
“It will take at least three weeks to develop some chemistry,” he said.  “We don’t have a lot of technical skill.  I think tactically I can prepare them for a lot of schemes.  I need them to be tough; they have to tackle like it’s going out of fashion.”

Women’s soccer season preview
After a difficult campaign last season, the SAIT Trojans women’s soccer team returned from the summer fresh, rejuvenated, and ready to take the next step.
The Trojans are coming off a season in which they went 1-8-1 and finished at the bottom of the division.
With nine players returning from last season’s squad, there’s a solid core of players who have improved vastly from last season. The Trojans will unquestionably benefit from a year’s worth of playing experience together.
“This team we have a lot more talent and it seems we (are) a lot more cohesive as a unit,” said Morgann Schnell, a second-year defender.
Over the past year the women have come closer together off the field, and Schnell says this will translate into success on the field.
“We’ve done a lot of team bonding and gotten to know the girls more than last season, and it makes it a lot easier to play on the field.”
And while last season is a thing of the past, the team knows if they can get into the playoffs anything can happen.
“We expect to make the playoffs,” said assistant coach John Telerico.
“It’s our goal to make the playoffs and get into provincials.  And I think we can do it.”
Despite the team’s youth, Telerico is confident they can get the job done this time around.
“They’re young, but they are a quality group,” he said. “It’s promising, and I like what I see.  We just need to gel a little bit more.”
For Trojans game coverage on the weekend, visit theweal.com every Monday morning.

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