Stingers Soccer Teams Look to Regroup in Offseason
Both Teams Looking to Develop Key Signings During Winter Season
On a cold Sunday, at Concordia Stadium, both Concordia soccer teams closed their seasons off with disappointing losses to Université de Sherbrooke Vert et Or, on Oct. 21.
This was the programs first season operating under master coach Greg Sutton, who oversaw both the men’s and women’s teams.
Both teams had to deal with new management systems as well as more assistant coaches who were brought in to help Sutton handle the workload.
“It wasn’t so much that there were men’s coaches and women’s coaches, but everyone working together,” said Sutton. “We had a more unified vision of what we wanted to work on the communication flow worked quite well.”
With Sutton at the helm, this marked the first time in 16 years the women’s program was under new management after the departure of former head coach, Jorge Sanchez by mutual agreement. The women’s matched their points total (13) from last season, finishing in sixth place on the season—a decent starting point given that the team changed little compared to last year.“The women really took everything in stride this year and morale was really good since day one,” said Sutton. “We lost some games we should’ve won and we left some points off the table but all-in-all the transition has gone really well.”
The Stingers were led offensively by forward Sarah Humes and mid-fielder Claudia Asselin. Both players contributed to the majority of the team’s offence, scoring five goals each. Humes has slotted comfortably into her new role as the Stingers’ target player up top.
“This year was definitely an adjustment and I think that the fact we at least matched last years results is a really good indication of what we’ve got coming in the future,” said Humes. “We’re definitely looking forward to the winter season and a lot of the girls are really excited to get back to work.”
With the women’s side looking up, the men’s side does not have room for the same optimism. Their season ended in an embarrassing 5-1 loss to last place Sherbrooke in order to take the last seed spot in the playoffs for themselves.
Finishing first place in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec during the winter season, the men’s team went into this year with higher expectations than last fall. However, after a promising start going 1-1-1, they lost nine consecutive games to close out the fall season—their second worst record since Sutton took over in 2013 with just four points.
While they acknowledged that there is some increased pressure given that Sutton has not made the playoffs, or had a season over .500 since his arrival as head coach, Athletics Director D’Arcy Ryan as expressed that the entire program has the utmost confidence in their decision.“There were definitely some tough points during the season and the performance was not at the caliber that we expect from the team,” said Ryan. “But there’s a really talented team we’ve put together and we’ve already made some really exciting signings for next season.”
“There is always pressure on Greg, but he has been very vocal about his commitment to the program,” continued Ryan.
The team often showed flashes of success throughout games, being able to dominate the flow of the game and control the ball against some of the best teams in the league. The main issue that needs to be addressed in the eyes of Sutton is the teams consistency as they lost many games that they could have at least turned into a draw and Sutton is looking at the team’s leadership core to step up.
“We’ve got a young team and and we need to define a good leadership core to help these guys grow and gel as a team,” said Sutton. “We struggled with our defence and our goalkeeping this year and that’s something that definitely needs to be addressed [as well].”
With the winter season coming in the new year for the men and women, both teams are looking to bolster their roster and work on many of the issues that hurt them throughout the season. The recruitment process can be a vital aspect but developing the talent currently on the squads and developing familiarity seems to be a more crucial task for Sutton to undertake.