The Red Deer College Kings saw a need to bolster their offence after a fifth place finish in the competitive Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Men’s Soccer South Division last season and Kings Head Coach Wade Groenewegen feels some key returning student-athletes along with speedy new recruits will help address that issue.
“We definitely added to our forward ranks this year,” says Groenewegen. “We brought in guys who are as good as anyone we had up front last year. The guys that we retained all improved. We are definitely better moving forward.”
Antonio Suhalj, a Bachelor of Commerce student from Croatia, returns up front for the Kings this season. He will be joined by first-year student-athletes, Colin Purnell from Calgary, and Gabriel Fleury de Queiroz of Brazil.
Theoren Gill, a third-year from Red Deer, feels the need for more offence was addressed with the new student-athletes along with the growth of the returning Kings.
“The new players bring a lot of pace. They are strong on the ball and move it quickly, which is what we look to do,” says Gill. “From last year, we learned about the importance of having composure in front of the net.
“We played well but had difficulty sticking it in the net. We have to score to win games and I see that as a focus this year which began in the off-season.”
Midfielders Theoren Gill, Hugo Janssen, William Arcinegas Salazar, Timmo van Klaveren and Kyle Bett are all returning to the RDC Kings and will be joined by first-year Matheus Alves.
A young Kings defence will consist of newcomers Osvaldo Aguilar, Andre Araujo Queiroz, Tyler Peters and Brandon Fedoruk. Keeghan Tingley, a Media Studies and Professional Communications student from Trail, and Matthew Elphick, a Bachelor of Science student from Calgary, are back as experienced defenders.
Despite a young defence, Groenewegen sees promise. “We have a few players returning on the back end so we are revamping and looking at what we got there,” says Groenewegen. “But in exhibition, the players performed extremely well and in several cases they played beyond our early expectations.”
Second-year goalkeeper from Lacombe, Jacob Hamilton, also returns to the Kings lineup this season.
Groenewegen expects the returning Kings to take another step forward in their development this season.
“We’ve been saying we’re the young team for a few years, and we still will be in many aspects, but we have veteran players who we expect to show their experience and leadership when they play,” says Groenewegen.
The new student-athletes were brought in to complement the returning Kings.
“We have a core group that works and plays well with a certain style, and we added guys who fit into that system,” says Groenewegen. “When the Kings play their style of game, there’s a lot of synergy and they mesh well.”
Bachelor of Education student, Theoren Gill, likes the cohesiveness of the team this season.
“We have a good core returning who knows how to play the way that we want to play,” says Gill. “With the rookies we’ve added this year, we feel like we can really mesh and maintain our team identify moving forward.”
In five exhibition games, the RDC Kings earned a 2-1-2 record. The Red Deer College Kings defeated The King’s University Eagles 1-0, tied the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings 0-0, drew even with the Keyano College Huskies 2-2 and were edged 4-3 by the Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves.
The regular season will begin on Saturday, September 8 at 2:00 p.m. against the Ambrose University Lions at RDC.
For more information on Kings Soccer, the student-athletes, and recaps, please visit: rdcathletics.ca.
-Submitted by RDC Athletics