The Red Deer College Queens soccer team has the ingredients for a solid run towards Nationals this year and it now boils down to making sure the players are looking at the same recipe for success.
“From the point of view of skill and from the point of view of being able to play one touch good soccer and being able to support each other, I have no doubt we will be the best at that,” said Coach Dave Colley.
He’s been working with the squad since about the second week in August but it’s just not enough time in order to get the entire group used to one system.
“The first couple of weeks, while we’re being hard on them and saying you can’t tie you’ve got to win all these games, they’re also getting used to something they’re not familiar with.”
Colley is leaning on veterans like Kayla Keenan, Allison Walsh and Rimbey’s Amber Regnier, who is very much an emotional leader on and off the field.
She feels there is some very good depth on this year’s squad, even with an even compliment of vets and first-year players.
With this being her last year of college soccer, Regnier says she’s feeling the pressure to reach the pinnacle of her sport and that would be the national championship tournament.
“I’m thinking every year, maybe the next year and then maybe the next year but I have no more next year’s so this is the year I’m hoping that we can really take that next step.”
Colley says the immediate goal is to avoid having to play in a quarter final playoff game and instead put together a solid season and move straight into a semi-final match up.
He made a point of explaining to his charges how important it is to win as much as you can in such a short college season because a tie can put you behind the eight ball as it did last year for the Queens, finishing one point out of being able to host the ACAC final.
“We have two months and every game is vital, if you don’t win your games then you might as well have lost them,” he said following a two all draw with SAIT.
Regnier says she is using last year as a motivational tool for her and her team mates in order to get to the goal of nationals.
“Our skill level is good enough to get us to nationals but it’s just a matter of implementing the system.”
Medicine Hat is the team the Queens need to beat head to head in order to achieve their goal. But Colley quickly adds the Queens can’t rely on that and instead need to do everything for themselves all the time; they can’t rely on other teams to beat the Rattlers.
For that to happen he expects the players to come out hard each game and continue with the same effort the entire way.
It also means grasping the system, understanding what he wants of them and him knowing what the players need from a coaching perspective.
“We need to be singing from the same hymn sheet.”
The Queens currently sport a 2-0-1 record with an important road trip to Medicine Hat and Lethbridge coming up.