After finishing the 2017-18 season in the basement of the ACAA standings, with a record of 1-9-2, there is nowhere to go but up for the Tommies'
men’s soccer team.
With eight new faces donning the Tommies’ green and gold this year, there will certainly be a freshness to the 2018-19 team.
“Each rookie will need to contribute if we are going to be successful this year,” head coach John-Ryan Morrison said of his new recruits. “James Russell has been particularly impressive, and I think he could be the missing piece to help us get back into the playoffs.”
Morrison was referring to Russell’s ability the fill the net, which Morrison also admitted has been an issue with the team so far this preseason. Russell, however, has had a solid preseason. The Rothesay, NB native scored the lone goal in the Tommies’ preseason finale against the Mount Allison University Mounties.
“Challenges that have come from the past two weeks of training camp have centred around us getting off to a positive start to the game and finishing the opportunities that are created for us,” said Morrison. “We fix that and I see us getting back into the ACAA final like we did three years ago.”
Despite last year’s low standing the team was strong in their own end. Led by centre back John Hunter, who is entering his 3rd year of eligibility, and last season was named to the ACAA First Team All-Conference team.
Helping the case for being even better defensively this season will be a few fresh faces on the back end, including wing back Nunzio Marceca and a pair of keepers, Riley MacLeod and George Tzimas.
“George and Riley have come in to battle for the starting job,” said Morrison, “and both will help provide us stability in net, which has been lacking since I took over the program.”
Fourth year veteran Eric Prior is excited to have the new batch of recruits come out and feed off the energy and intensity that everyone is bringing to the pitch.
“We have started our preseason with two-a-days,” said Prior, a co-captain on this year’s team. “It has the guys in the right mentality to fight for your spot and get fit, because the season is a grind. We’ve got a lot of depth this year, which has been lacking in the past. Not so much in the sense of numbers, but the quality of play. We know that the guy coming into the game will have the knowledge and confidence to step in and play well.”
The Tommies get their season underway on Saturday, September 8th when they travel to Halifax to take on the University of King’s College Blue Devils. First home action for the Tommies will be Sunday, September 16th when they host UNBSJ Seawolves at 2:00 pm. Soccer and and All-season passes are available at the J.B. O'Keefe Fitness Centre. For more information visit https://www.gotommies.ca/fan-zone/tickets.