The sun is out (most of the time) and the spring sports are returning to action at Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS).
CHSS girls’ soccer coach Kyla Ragan, back for her fourth year at the helm, spoke about the prospects of the coming season and how try-outs are going.
“There’s 28 individuals coming out to this practice (April 5) and it’s a mandatory practice. There are quite a few girls that played last year, and a lot of them are from the Rep team that practices with [coach] Gordon Armstrong, so they’ve got a lot of talent,” she said.
“I think we’ve got a good shot … I don’t think there was much of a team before [three years ago]. Last year, we had Charlotte Kobza and Tanveen Sandhu, but it doesn’t look like they’re playing this year. They were our captains last year so I was hoping they’d play, but it looks like we’ve got [Grade 12 players] Katerina Samaras and Brittany Waite that are going to be leaders this year.”
The 28 players is a drastic improvement over the 10 – 12 athletes who were available to Ragan by the end of the year last year. The large pool of athletes is a good problem to have, especially in a northern communities as teams closer to Vancouver have a much larger pool to select from. Many of the athletes are quite experienced as well.
“There’s quite a few [Grade] 9s and 10s training with us. Most of the Grade 10s that are out are select players.”
While the coach hasn’t had too much time with the players so far, there are encouraging signs that they should perform well.
“It’s hard to tell now [how our team stacks up in the region] just because I haven’t seen them play together. Team dynamics is a huge part of it. Knowing each other and knowing how to play with each other is important. So we’ll start to see that next week … Hopefully we’ll be able to use some of that [select experience] and then its just a matter of incorporating the other girls who haven’t gotten that chance to play at this level.”
An added bonus is that the girls will host the region’s first play day this Saturday.
“It is nice that way [to start the year at home], we get to figure it all out,” said Ragan.
“We could play two teams, but there’s no other teams in the region that have junior teams so it’s kind of hard to make an A/B team. We’ll have to pick 15 girls to go to games with us [on road trips]. [Having those numbers is good because] we can see what they’ll actually play like [in scrimmages].”
The numbers bode well for small town developmental soccer leagues, if you are getting a large number of players coming out based off a smaller population demographic.
The team looks to build on a solid season from last year, with hopefully more emphasis on shape and defending, after giving up many goals at zones last year.
– With files from Kevin Campbell