It has been another successful outdoor soccer season for the Red Deer City Soccer Association and the Red Deer Renegades competitive youth soccer teams.
With the 2016 outdoor soccer season in the rear view mirror, the Renegades are taking stock of a spring that included several standout stories.
“We’ve had quite a good season. As far as the outdoor season’s concerned, we brought on a couple of new players and it’s been going quite well,” said Shane Samson, head coach of the Renegades U12 Boy’s Tier I team, who were one of the standouts in the local competitive soccer program.
The young squad finished in the middle of the pack in their 13-team league, which was a big deal for a team who was competing at a Tier I level despite only having competed in Tier III during the indoor season last year.
“My hope for the kids when we made the decision to take them up to this group was that we could be competitive in about 70 per cent of our soccer matches. I didn’t have a whole bunch of high expectations when it came to win-loss. But the kids really worked hard,” said Samson of his team, who finished the season in seventh in their league.
Samson said his squad really brought a work ethic to the outdoor season this year, which paid off in the standings.
“We trained three times a week, we attended six different tournaments as well as all our league play and the kids stepped up and performed far better than anticipated. We were competitive in 100 per cent of our games and the kids performed very, very well for the entire season.”
It’s that kind of work ethic, Samson said, that is at the centre of the development program that the RDCSA and Red Deer Renegades have in place.
“I think as coaches we offer the players opportunities and the athletes, it’s up to them if they want to take us up on the opportunities. I think that this group is finding the success that they find because the majority of them are willing to take us up on those opportunities.”
The vast improvement of the team as a whole is a promising sign of things to come for the young players, who, for the most part, will be able to stay together as a team heading into the new U13 age category for the indoor soccer season this year.
“The aspiration is to keep as many of the players together as we possibly can and we’re always on the look-out for new acquisitions to the team.
“There is room for a few more players. So moving forward the aspiration is to continue to work hard, train hard, and be competitive. And always looking to achieve a new standard for ourselves,” Samson said, adding that the team is also focused on individual development.
“We still are very much focused in on the developmental of the individual athlete. Yes we are trying to coordinate the individuals into a team setting, but the primary focus is still on the development of the individual technical skills of the players for sure.”
On the other side of the development scale, the Renegades U14 Girl’s Tier II team are gearing up to head to provincials this weekend.
“In my best case scenario I’m hoping we get a medal. They really seem to pull together in tournaments for some reason, which is great to see in some aspects. But I think realistically if the kids walk away knowing that the girls put out 100 per cent effort knowing that they did the best they could, that will make them happy and that will make me happy as a coach,” said Head Coach Moira Duley of her team, who have won medals in every tournament they entered this season.
“There’s always room for improvement but I think overall it’s been pretty successful for them.”
Of course, as the outdoor soccer season draws to a close, the focus now shifts to preparing for the fast-approaching indoor season.
“We have tryouts coming up at the end of the month. We also have some additional training that will be free of charge coming up towards the end of the month, which will be before tryouts,” said Samson, adding that the Renegades are always looking for new players.
Indoor soccer registration began on Aug. 1st with tryouts for the 2016-17 season set to begin on Aug. 29th. Anyone interested can check out the Red Deer City Soccer Association’s web site at www.rdcsa.com.