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Men’s soccer team prevails with winning work ethic
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
With the CCAA Men’s Soccer National Championship hitting the turf at Douglas College in November, it could be easy for the men’s Royals soccer team to get distracted — or complacent. As host team, they’re guaranteed a birth in a tournament of top Canadian college teams.
But the Royals are no strangers to high-stakes play. They know the road to success is built one game at a time, with a heavy dose of hard work. This has been Coach Joe Ormerod’s philosophy since he first headed up the team over a decade ago.
The Royals have played in the provincials every season since — as well as winning a national championship — and this year is shaping up to be no exception. Past the season’s half-way point, they remain undefeated.
“It’s a very demanding team. The coaching staff expects excellence,” says Team Captain Dylan Myers, entering his fourth year with the Royals.
He describes the three-a-week training sessions as high tempo. “Everything is at game speed, not practice speed,” he says. “Then the game should be almost easier than what we do in training.”
This carrot and stick approach is echoed by Assistant Coach Robby Toor, who has been with the team for eight years as player then coach. “We work hard, we put the work in at practice, and games are the fun part.”
There is a popular notion that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at anything. At the very least, mastering the fundamentals gives you the freedom to be more creative. It seems that the Royals have tapped into this approach, freeing them up to play a game of both skill and enjoyment.
While loving the game, the team’s high standards from practice don’t waver when the whistle blows. “We respect every opponent we play, but we want teams to adjust to our style and not the other way around,” says Toor.
As with many college teams, the Royals’ biggest challenge this season is finding the right chemistry between new and returning players — half of their starting line-up is new. But Myers says they are getting tighter with each game.
The Royals reputation for professional excellence has attracted players who want to grow with a winning team and also develop individual expertise — and there has been top-notch recruiting by Toor and Assistant Coach Casey Wilson.
The rewards of playing with such a team aren’t just winning games, though. Ormerod’s work ethic plays out beyond the pitch.
“Joe and the coaching staff are very disciplined when it comes to school work,” says Myers. “They stress the fact that we’re student athletes. School always comes first.” To back this up, there is a study hall program for players.
Despite a winning formula all around, the team isn’t getting ahead of itself. Myers looks forward to “being able to play the best that we can play, because we haven’t done that yet this season.”
For fans who love their game now, that will be awesome to see.