SAIT Trojans’ recent national men’s soccer championship loss has left the team looking toward next season.
For men’s soccer head coach Grant Stevens, that’s the mindset he has, after the team finished 0-3 in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Championships in Fort McMurray, Alta.
Although the team ended the tournament winless and in eighth place in the tourney field, Stevens was impressed with how they performed against other top college soccer teams in the nation.
“The quality of soccer at this level was well done,” Stevens said.
“For the rookies it was a good experience to prepare for next year.”
The Trojans headed into the tournament after earning a silver medal in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Provincial Championships when they lost the league final to the Keyano College Huskies.
The Huskies were the host team for nationals, resulting in the Trojans earning a spot in the tournament just by reaching the finals of provincials.
As with any coach, Stevens headed into the tournament looking for a strong result and a possible gold medal. But he understood that the competition would push the team to its limits.
“Our goal was to win gold, but its extremely difficult,” Stevens said.
The Trojans opened up the CCAA National Championships with a 3-0 loss to the Humber College Hawks, which then was followed by a 1-1 draw, and a loss on penalty kicks, 5-3, to Dynamiques de Sainte Foy, Que.
They where then sent home after a tightly contested 2-1 loss against the Douglas Royals.
As the soccer season officially closes, the offseason approaches.
The Trojans will focus on tweaking plays in the playbook to find more success for next season.
With so many players on the team this year leaving due to graduation, Stevens views the challenge as more as an opportunity to reload with new recruits.
“I see it as a clean slate for me next year,” Stevens said.
“Hopefully this year’s rookies come back next year to help the new recruits.”
Stevens would like to be right back to the national championships for next year, but for now, he’s focused on ensuring the team doesn’t look past the regular season ACAC games.
“It’ll be important to focus on every single game,” Stevens said.
For us, it’s perfect practice makes perfect. – Grant Stevens
“One game at a time, one practice at a time.”
Stevens is looking for his returning players to keep in playing shape and to stay healthy during the offseason, in order to be ready for practices, which he believes, are key to a team’s success.
“The old saying practice makes perfect is true,” Stevens said.
“For us, it’s perfect practice makes perfect.”