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Revamped Women’s Soccer Team Set to Strike
Friday, September 7, 2012
By Eliot Dix James
Soccer season has arrived with an extra kick this year — especially for fans and players of women’s soccer, like myself.
We were teased with the women’s Olympic qualifying matches in Vancouver, exalted by the bronze medal win at this summer’s Olympics, and now eagerly wait to host the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
At Douglas College we have another reason to be excited. As if caught in this wave of events, our women’s Royals team is poised to capture what could be their best season ever — thanks to a new face for the team and a smart playing style.
Fourteen recruits have injected fresh energy onto the bench.
“It’s been refreshing to see the talent that’s come in and the attitude they’ve brought to… competing at this level and wanting to put a winning product on the field,” said coach Ciaran McMahon.
New players were carefully selected not only for their technical skill but their ability to adapt to the team’s style and personality. Returning players have quickly brought the rookies up to speed in pre-season training.
“This year is the best I’ve felt about our team coming into the new season. I’m excited. Everyone’s excited,” said Mia Rushton, a team captain and centre-mid going into her fourth year.
The Royals now have the right mix to execute the “possession with a purpose” style of play McMahon has pushed for the last two seasons.
“Our playing style needs a lot of communication to make it work, otherwise it could really fall apart and hurt us,” said Miranda Quinn, a team captain and centre-back entering her fifth season. “But we have players who are smart enough to figure it out.”
It sounds like the Royals are taking their game to the next level. With the average ability of new players constantly increasing, it’s going to take a smart game to win.
Good soccer is like chess. Like pieces on a board, players use their expertise and positions, together, to advance the play. There is no dumping the ball in the corners or forcing the game.
A key ingredient in this strategic style seems to be the team’s new-found camaraderie on and off the field.
Now they will have to explode out of the gate to capture an anticipated Provincial Cup berth. With 14 games in an intense seven weeks, there isn’t much room for error.
Whatever the outcome, the Royals are helping to raise the bar for women’s soccer in Canada with their smart play. And just as Christine Sinclair has inspired girls across the country, vets like Rushton and Quinn are instilling a soccer ideal in younger talent.
It will be exciting to see what happens when the team takes to the pitch for their first match at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops on September 8.