Women’s Soccer Preview: Returning Players Key to Stingers Season

Head Coach Jorge Sanchez Points to Veteran Players to Help Guide Team

The Stingers’ veteran players will be vital in leading the team this fall. Photo Alexander Perez
Head Coach Jorge Sanchez outlined Mélisane Lafrenaye, Chama Sedki and Laura Lamontagne to lead by example. Photo Alexander Perez
Stingers will hope to climb up the standings this season. Photo Alexander Perez

The Concordia Stingers women’s soccer team will have plenty to prove this season, and head Coach Jorge Sanchez will look to veteran players to help guide the team.

There was a lot of optimism surrounding the Stingers going into the 2016 season, but the overall campaign saw no improvements for the team. As they did in 2015, women’s soccer finished sixth in the The Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec final standings, winning just two of their 14 games.

Sanchez has said he’s looking for his team to display a more counter-attacking style on the pitch. He said the team will be set up to defend well, get the ball quickly, and move up the field.

“[I just want to make] sure that we’re fundamentally sound, tactically, that we understand the concepts [and] that we’re sharp,” he said. “If [the players] think properly, if they make good decisions, the rest will follow.”

The Stingers scored only 14 goals while allowing 35 just a season ago, and they hope their new approach will lead to a more potent offense and more rigid defense. With the team working hard during preseason, Sanchez hopes to see that translate on the field.

During the offseason, Sanchez said that the core of the team is relatively the same as last season’s. With only a few new recruits and veteran players returning, Sanchez highlighted the importance of leadership within the team.

“I have a group, I like to spread it out, I mean yes there’s the armband that people wear in games but different people have different responsibilities,” said Sanchez. “I believe in a group of 20-plus players, you need four or five to take a bit of a role.”

After former Stinger Alyssa Ruscio departed at the end of last season, the question of captaincy has hung over the offseason. Sanchez, however, admitted the role of captain will be a collective effort, rather than an individual one.

Come the start of the season, Sanchez outlined three players to lead the team. Forward Mélisane Lafrenaye, and midfielders Chama Sedki and Laura Lamontagne have been tasked by their coach to lead by example.

“Jorge is good at telling us what he expects of us. It really tells us that we have the weight of the team on us,” said Lamontagne. “We’re really gonna try and push everybody and bring everybody together to have that end result we all want.”

Among the new recruits, rookie defender Claudia Asselin—who was recruited by Sanchez from John Abbott College—is excited by the prospect of playing alongside players such as Lamontagne.

“[Lamontagne] is really confident and she knows where to play on the field and she’s a really good teammate,” said Asselin. “She can be a really good captain too, so I’m really excited to play with her.”

Lamontagne and the Stingers are eager to get the season started. The former RSEQ rookie of the year took her new role in stride as she looks to guide and mentor some of the new recruits throughout the season.

“We really need to drive together,” said Lamontagne. “I think it’s gonna work well because we all know each other, know how we play and know what to do.”

The Stingers will be put to the test Thursday night at Concordia Stadium as they come up against Université du Québec à Montréal Citadins.