Young and manly, but leaderless

By Tanya DeLyzer and Amanda VanSteelandt

The University of Calgary men’s soccer team is looking for a few good men. Well, maybe just one. Head Coach Andy Gibbs is choosing a new captain this week and he’s looking for more than just a good player.

“Maradonna’s a good player–but would you follow Maradonna? No, he’s an idiot,” said Gibbs in jest.

Leadership is something the team struggled with. Last year’s soccer season was as patchy and irregular as our new field that is set to host the Canada West Finals. Loaded with rookies, the 2003 team was inconsistent. They struggled with bottom feeder teams like the Lethbridge Pronghorns, but played strong against the big fish.

The 2003 season ended with a 4-8-0 record for our Dinos. Last year was a shock to many young players because university level play was a step up from what they were used to.

“This year I’m coming in more confident than last year,” says Richard Urbanczyk, the starting goalkeeper.

With two thirds of the Dinos in third year or younger and a spot clinched in the Canada West Finals (as the hosting university), Gibbs is looking forward to an experimental and developmental season. The guaranteed place lifts some pressure off the team. Urbanczyk says that it will be advantageous in the case of injuries, with no need to rush recovery.

The big concentration for the team this year, besides finding leadership, is not making mistakes.

According to keeper Brian “Ginger” McDonnell, the Canada West Division is the toughest in the country and mistakes can be deadly against teams like the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. Being a big team with lots of power, UBC rarely makes mistakes and is quick to jump on other teams’ errors.

Many of the teams in Canada West are strong; University of Victoria, University of Alberta, UBC and Trinity Western University are all favourites amongst the Dinos players for the three remaining spots in the finals.

On the bright side, keeper Jon Bryant says “Canada West is a tough division, if you get out you have a good chance of winning [Nationals].”

If the exhibition game the Dinos played against Trinity Western University Wed., Sept. 8 is any indication, the Dinos are going to have a very competitive season.

After a first half shutout, the Dinos lost after giving up two goals late in the game. This was the latest game in an eight game winning streak by TWU.

Regular season play starts this weekend with home games against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Sat., Sept. 18 and the U of A Pandas Sun., Sept. 19 at 2:15 p.m.