WolfPack women will go on the longest road trip in CIS this season
Whether by plane, train or automobile the TRU women’s soccer team will be spending almost all of September travelling across Western Canada. A regular season schedule that started Friday, Sept. 4 will see the women play six games away from Kamloops before finally playing their home opener on Saturday, Sept. 26.
The longest-lasting road trip in Canada West soccer this year includes stops in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Prince George, Abbotsford and Langley for a grand total of around 6,700 km travelled, and includes six of the team’s 14 games played, before a ball even hits the turf for regular season action at Hillside Stadium.
TRU athletic director Ken Olynyk said that weather concerns were the primary reasons for the strange schedule.
“It’s because of weather, it wasn’t that way to start originally but we switched with Winnipeg and played them earlier because of weather, which is kind of ironic because we went there and there was a thunderstorm and we played indoors.”
With TRU originally slated to play both the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba at the end of October, the two teams from the prairies feared that a possible heavy snowfall could render their fields unplayable, so they contacted Olynyk about moving the games up the schedule.
This wasn’t the only re-scheduling to take place. The University of Alberta and the University of Northern British Columbia also reached out to Olynyk to ask if TRU’s late season visits to their respective campuses could be moved up the schedule to avoid possible snow-related cancellations.
Head coach of the WolfPack Tom McManus spoke about how hard the September travel could be on his team.
“It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be very tough because they don’t get the chance to feel the comfort of being at home and sleeping in their own bed and things like that. The big thing for crowds is getting people interested in it, so they get the hunger to see more, that’s one of the biggest problems as well, we want good crowds here this year to supports us and be able to help out,” he said.
But McManus was also able to find a silver lining in the tough schedule.
“From the bonding part, I think it’s going to be good because they’re going to be together and they have to work for each other.”
Perseverance will be necessary over the course of the WolfPack’s first six games as playing on the road brings with it a multitude of problems: hostile crowds, gruelling bus rides and time spent away from both the classroom and home will all conspire against TRU. If the WolfPack wants to remain in the playoff hunt when they play their first game in front of a home crowd then the team will have to find a way to come together and grind out some results in a difficult situation.