What a difference a year can make. Just ask Red Deer College Queens soccer head coach David Colley.
Last season he had a team which was comprised of three players into their fifth year of college soccer, a handful of third-year players mixed in with some first and second-year athletes.
The Queens were a force most of the season, going to the ACAC playoffs and coming away with a bronze medal.
The 2013 edition which hits the pitch is quite a bit different.
“We’ve got them from all over. We’ve got them from high school soccer, we’ve got players from Ponoka, we’ve got players from Chestermere, we’ve got players from Eckville,” he said.
The biggest difference might be in the fact the girls have not played together as a team for very long and with a very short pre-season Colley says this team’s second-year players were put under some pressure right from the get-go.
“They were the only ones who remember the shape of the team from last year.”
Colley says looking forward he hopes to get most of these players back in an RDC uniform next season and the transition won’t be nearly as difficult is it will be this season to get things on order.
One veteran he’s counting on will be goaltender Jessie Stewart, a third-year player and he feels there will be lots of additional pressure on her to keep order on the field during games.
“She’s got a year above the other vets (second years) she’s working with. But not just that, she knows the chances are going to come a little more frequently especially in the early stages of the season than they did last season,” he said.
Colley says sometimes you’ll see his tender half way up the field playing sweeper in order to get to any free ball if her inexperienced front is beaten.
“That’s the maturity a year on top of the second year brings and the fact she’s been trained by some very good people.”
With a very young team under his watch Colley still believes a realistic goal is to make the ACAC playoff round and he strongly believes these girls can do it.