With 14 rookies and a roster of 26--plus some injured senior players--the Dinos men's soccer team's prospects don't look so good.
"It's going to be a challenging year," admitted Head Coach Andy Gibbs.
The team appears to be blessed yearly by the fountain of youth, having battled with a rookie-laden roster last year as well. Because the University of Calgary hosted the Canada West finals last year, the men were guaranteed a berth in the playoffs, and concentrated on development during the season.
This allowed them to pull off an amazing upset; knocking out the top-ranked Trinity Western University Spartans in the semi-finals. They then lost to the University of Victoria Vikes in an exciting, hard-fought final game by only one goal. The Vikes went on to win the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Men's Soccer Championship.
Without the guaranteed playoff berth, Gibbs says the team will still work on development and try to make playoffs in this rookie season.
One of the new rookies, Ryan "Don't Call Me Dense" Holbrook, agrees that their goal should be a playoff berth at least.
David "Dicky" Bird--another baby face--went on to boast that anything less than a national title is unacceptable.
He recanted one minute later.
The aftermath of the pre-season has left Gibbs more happy than not. He sees potential in the new rookies and has started nicknaming them (before I could).
"After every game our confidence grew," rookie Craig "Yet To Be Nicknamed" Robertson said of the pre-season. "Every game we kept improving. We started to get more comfortable with each other."
Competition is always tough in Canada West. TWU and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds are both very strong and hardly lost any veterans, according to Gibbs. UVic and the University of Alberta, however, lost a lot of players and should also be rookie-infested.
This could get interesting.
The Dinos go on the road for their season opener against the U of A Sept. 16. They continue the journey, taking on the University of Saskatchewan Sept. 18.