Head coach:Charles Mrena, 2nd season
Players to watch:Shane Pfeifer – goalkeeper; Ryan Poirier – Defence
Preview:This year, the Red River Rebels men’s soccer team main goal is to make the 2018 Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) post-season as they fell one point shy the previous year.
The 21 player squad has six returning players with new captain and second year defender Ryan Poirier as a key contributor plus will off-set the loss of 2017’s captain and All-Conference Team recipient Alex Castro. In addition, second year keeper Shane Pfeifer is another significant veteran back with Red River. Head coach Charles Mrena is impressed with his talented group of new recruits and feels this group can achieve goal number one – the playoffs.
Mrena commented that the Brandon University Bobcats looks like the most improved team and looks forward to those matches. The challenge will be the second game (Sunday) of each weekend that has a double header. For the conference this year, some of the more dominant players over the past few seasons have departed and Mrena is not sure of the effect and impact on the MCAC for 2018.
The head coach also mused about the Rebels challenge is “for everyone on the Rebels squad to avoid injuries, gain our fitness quickly and remain competitive.”
Mrena enthused about the upcoming season with possibilities and opportunities still to contribute to the Rebels’ future success this year by stating, “We are always looking for players to join the team, so it is (almost) never too late as we can add players late into the season. Players experience injuries, changes in work schedules and personal priorities and as a result we tend to lose players as the season goes on…so adding more/new players is something we are always open to. We encourage the general student population to come out to support the team during home games…it really lifts the spirits of the players when a supportive crowd is present to cheer us on.”
Red River starts the 2018 men’s soccer MCAC season on Saturday, September 15 at Providence University College Pilots and then the Rebels’ home opener on Sunday, September 16 against Université de Saint-Boniface Les Rouges with both matches beginning at 3:15 p.m. CT.
The season culminates with the MCAC Soccer Championships held at the Winnipeg Soccer Complex on October 27-28.
– by Chris Zuk