After a sizzling summer of birds, bees and beers, the TRU men and women’s soccer teams are back in full swing. The 2018 season earned the men’s team bronze in Canada West. They will be shooting to change that colour of medal this fall. Meanwhile, the women’s team will be fighting to crack playoffs with their new coach Marc Pennington. If you’re not excited, you should be. Here’s what you can expect from your TRU soccer teams.
For the men’s team, the past two years earned the boys back-to-back bronze medals in the Canada West playoffs. Although these results are great for the program, added success brings added expectations.
“The past two years have been great; we are coming into this season ranked number seven in the country,” Captain Jan Piretas beamed with enthusiasm, “I think our bronze is well deserved, however, we don’t need another bronze medal. We want gold. I want that ring on my finger.”
Coach John Antulov had a busy summer signing 14 new players from each corner in Europe such as England, Serbia, Austria, and Romania. “The boys we signed really are fantastic players and definitely add to the core of the team,” reports Antulov.
“First we have to make playoffs. After that, anything can happen,” Antulov said when asked to predict the season.
At the other end of the field stands the women’s team who merely missed playoffs last year in the final game of the season, as they tied 1-1 to MacEwann University. It was their third season in a row missing playoffs.
These disappointing results were discouraging enough for the former coach Kelly Shantz to be sacked.
Shantz was replaced by Marc Pennington, former assistant coach of the University of British Columbia who also played a professional career in England.
Pennington comments, “There are definitely some talented players here, and some good recruits coming in,” Pennington comments.
“My experience in this division will allow me to change the tactical approach of the team to be more competitive, ultimately looking for a spot in the playoffs,” Pennington said, “It’s going to take time, but with a shift of team identity and tactical preparation, there is no reason we can’t be a more competitive team in the Canada West Pacific Division.”
Marisa Mendonca, a product of the highly prestigious Penticton Pinnacles soccer club is heading into her fifth and final year at TRU.
“I think we will surprise teams this year. We are a new group with a lot of energy, and we are ready to compete. As a fifth-year student, making playoffs this year is a personal goal of mine,” Mendonca said when asked to comment on the upcoming season.
“There is most definitely a little pressure. This being my last season, I really want good results for the program and to leave an impact on the team,” Mendonca commented when asked about the pressure she faces for results this year.
Catch both teams play Friday, Sept. 13 at Hillside Stadium. The women will kick off at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men at 7:30 p.m. TRU wolfpack will be hosting their “Puppies and Pints” event with a section designated to bring your dog and enjoy a beer.