Women’s Soccer Preview: New Beginnings
10 Players Are Gone, But Can Turnover Work In Their Favour?
The Stingers women’s soccer team saw 10 players graduate from their program at the end of last season, meaning a number of new faces will take over the team. The returning, and remaining, veterans are eyeing the postseason as the team has not made the playoffs since 2006.
Long time head coach Jorge Sanchez returns this year, but some familiar faces will be seen alongside him on the bench as former captain Alex Dragan, who graduated last year returns as an assistant coach. Joining her is another former captain, Erica Geersten, who played with the team from 2004 to 2007.
The change from playing to coaching is an adjustment, but the players turned coaches are embracing the change.
“It’s the first [time] I’ve coached, so for me it’s different experience,” Geersten said. “It’s nice to be able to be like a mentor for the girls.”
“I’m used to coaching younger players who don’t normally know what you’re talking about when you tell them what to do in a drill,” said Dragan. “This is really nice to be able to work with high quality players.”
With an unusual amount of player turnover, playing with the new recruits is an adjustment the coaches and the rest of the team are ready to make.
“We’ve recruited well,” head coach Jorge Sanchez said. “Now it’s how quickly they can stay on the same page with the vets and how quickly they can adapt to their level.”
“We have a pretty good group of captains so they’ll help to integrate all the players together,” Dragan said.
The Stingers named veteran defender Alyssa Ruscio and veteran midfielder Frederique Labelle co-captains this year.
“I want to be the type of captain that [will] lead the team but at the same time I want everyone to take their part in leading the team,” Ruscio said. “I want everyone not to be scared to take charge or to help each other.”
It’s clear the post-season is the goal. The team plans to play a strong possession game to get to their goal.
“I always like to play a possession style,” Sanchez said.
He also said the team can adjust and play different styles when applicable.
The Stingers begin their quest to the post-season at home on September 11,, where they will face their cross-town rivals, the McGill Martlets.
With files from Jonathan Caragay-Cook.