Rebels Soccer Season Preview
By: Derek Gagnon
The 2015 soccer season is set to get under way this Sunday, September 13 for the Red River Rebels teams, with the women’s team kicking things off at 1 p.m. and the men’s team following up at 3:30 p.m. Both games are against the Brandon Bobcats at Brandon University.
Both teams made it to the finals in the 2014 season, with the women’s team falling just short against the Providence University College Pilots in a 1-0 loss, and the men’s team falling by a 3-1 score to the Université de Saint-Boniface Les Rouges.
Like most sports at the college level, there has been a great deal of roster turnover for both teams heading into the new season. Head Coach Doug Lawrie of the women’s team only has five returning members from last season’s squad, and all four of his all-conference players from last season are gone. While acknowledging last year’s team as being very strong, he still expects his team to be very competitive.
“There is always a large turnover each year at an institution like RRC,” said Lawrie. “I recruit year-round and always follow-up on all contacts and possible leads. There is never a guarantee that you will be able to replace one-to-one each graduating all-conference player. It means the style of play must adapt each year to the players that you do get.”
The women’s team recently traveled to Minneapolis for a trio of exhibition games against American opponents, going 0-2-1 against stiff competition. Lawrie saw growth, while also spotting areas for growth.
“I was able to identify some of our strengths, but also areas to improve upon,” said Lawrie. “ I also saw the emergence of a strong team chemistry, so I was pleased with that.”
The men’s team finished third in the regular season standings last year, and will be looking to improve upon that this season. Three players return from last year’s squad, with a fourth joining from the Rebels’ futsal team.
Head Coach Jordan Goetting is more than optimistic about his teams chances for the upcoming season, citing an infusion of new experienced players that will provide much needed depth for the team.
“Our team this year is very knowledgeable of how to play as a team, and I expect us to be better off the bench,” said Goetting.
“Last year, in our semi-final against Providence we ended up going into extra time and winning, which used up a lot of our energy ahead of the final the next day.”
Goetting thinks that the group has shown good camaraderie so far, and expects that to benefit them on the pitch.
“Lots of guys on the teams end up being good friends. They go out there willing to do anything for each other and play well together as a result.”
Both teams host their first games at Red River College on Sunday, September 20 at noon.