WolfPack soccer women have skill to spare
The voice of James Earl Jones and the TRU WolfPack women’s soccer team are similar in depth — baritone deep, then turn the bass up.
“I’ve told them from the beginning, ‘You have to practise hard or you won’t play,’” WolfPack head coach Tom McManus said.
“Because of our depth alone we are better than last year.”
If the Pack are better this season than last — they’re pretty darn good.
TRU posted five wins, one loss and five ties in regular-season play before winning the Pacific Western Athletic Association playoffs and finishing fourth at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) championship.
Players, most of them friends, will be in direct competition each week for a place on the pitch when points are on the line.
McManus said there is a danger of competition breeding contempt, but animosity does not seem to be a problem with his current charges.
“The girls so far are getting along great, even though they’re out there fighting for jobs,” he said.
Laura Smylie and Sarah Gomes, both from Prince George, have been playing soccer with each other since they were about 12.
The Duchess Park secondary graduates are friends, but they are also among the players pitted against each other in the struggle for playing time.
“Our team is super close, so it’s always going against friends,” Smylie said.
“You kind of just have to put your friendship aside.
“Nothing gets carried off the field.”
The WolfPack opened the 2012 campaign with a pair of wins at Hillside Stadium on the weekend.
TRU beat Douglas College 4-0 on Saturday, Sept. 8, and Kwantlen Polytechnic 4-1 on Sunday, Sept. 9.
The CCAA’s weekly poll has the Pack ranked fourth in the nation.
Bronwyn Crawford, Courtney Daly, Marlie Rittinger, Blair MacKay, Chloe McAuley, Kelsey Martin (2) and Alanna Bekkering scored for the defending PWAA champions in support of goalkeeper Emily Edmundson.
Rittinger, a WolfPack rookie from Ashcroft, is going to make earning game time tough on TRU’s veteran strikers.
“Marlie Rittinger in my estimation is one of the best players in the Interior,” McManus said.
“She has experience and she can lead the team even as a rookie.”
But, who does she unseat?
In addition to the weekend’s goal scorers, Amanda Barrett, Taylor Miller, Katie Sparrow and Jaydene Radu know how to find the old onion bag, and Daly, a rookie, was brought in to do the same.
“It’s going to be extremely tough to choose,” McManus said, noting it’s a good problem to have.
Next up for TRU are matches with the Quest Kermodes in Squamish on Saturday, Sept. 15, and Langara College in Vancouver on Sunday, Sept. 16.
Last season’s accomplishments, McManus said, are in the rearview mirror, and he asked his team — in typical bench-boss fashion — to take things one game at a time.
“Congratulations, but that is history,” he said.
“If we come in with big heads, everyone is going to kick our backsides.
“We have to prove every time out what we can do.”