Kings Soccer 2017-2018 Preview

Returning RDC Kings, such as Bachelor of Education student Theoren Gill (12), will be looked at to provide leadership to the young soccer team in 2017-2018. Photo - Tony Hansen
Returning RDC Kings, such as Bachelor of Education student Theoren Gill (12), will be looked at to provide leadership to the young soccer team in 2017-2018. Photo - Tony Hansen

2016-2017 Review

Regular season: 3-6-1          

The RDC Kings placed 4th in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Men's Soccer South Division and missed the playoffs.

2016-2017 RDC Athletics Awards Night

Coach's Award – Tanner Steenbergen

Most Improved Player – Timmo van Klaveren

Rookie of the Year – Theoren Gill

Most Valuable Player – Mark Ibbotson

 

2017-2018

Head Coach, Wade Groenewegen van der Weiden, returns to the Kings.

"Ideally, we should be chasing the playoffs," says Groenewegen. "There's a backbone and a mentality that we established last year, and has carried forward this season. That is a large part as to why the young guys are doing so well."

Assistant Coaches - Steve Kelly, Mahziar Peyrow, Elton Clemens

Returning Players

Goalkeeper - Talon Grenier (Open Studies/Olds)

Defence – Nathan Bergeson (Bachelor of Arts in History/Red Deer), Tanner Steenbergen (Electrical Engineering Technology/Alhambra), Nonso Oenewukwe (Bachelor of Science in Nursing/Enugu, Enugu State)

MidfieldersTheoren Gill (Bachelor of Education – Elementary/Red Deer), Timmo van Klaveren (Kinesiology & Sport Studies/Hinton), Antonio Suhalj (Bachelor of Commerce/Pozega, Croatia), Jeremy Gopal (Business Administration – Financial Services/Red Deer), Yenner Teah (Kinesiology & Sport Studies- General/Calgary)

Forwards - Bryce Vleeming (Bachelor of Commerce/Blackfalds)

New Players

Goalkeepers - Joao Victor Bizerra Cavalcante (Academic Upgrading/Fortaleza, Brazil), Jacob Hamilton (Open Studies/Lacombe)

Defence - Keeghan Tingley (Media Studies and Professional Communications/Trail), Koltan Childs (Open Studies/Red Deer), Mohammed Abdi (Open Studies/Edmonton), Eduardo da Costa (Academic Upgrading/Fortaleza, Brazil)

Midfielders - Kyle Bett (Open Studies/Calgary), William Arcinegas (Bachelor of Kinesiology/Bucaramanga, Columbia), Hugo Janssen (Open Studies/Lacombe), Matthew Elphick (Bachelor of Science/Calgary), Nelson McPherson-Krueger (Open Studies/Saskatoon)

Forwards - Lee Wagar (Open Studies/Red Deer), Shaun Funk (Open Studies/Athabasca)

"The young guys bring energy and enthusiasm that you hope all of the rookies bring. Rookie Koltan Childs, has come in at a high level, and he's going to be taking on a key role right away as a first-year player. Two players we recruited late, Kyle Bett and Matthew Elphick, have stepped in and really challenged for spots on the roster right from the start," says Groenewegen. "The young guys are pushing the older players. Everyone here is really competent. The rookies are coming into key roles and are ready to execute. Hugo Janssen is another player who is really making strides and making an impact. All of the new players are putting themselves into the conversation of earning quality playing time."

Not returning

Mark Ibbotson, Skylar Roth, Bruno Damian, Jerson Paez, Raymond Fox, Tim Mitchell, Anthony Duque, Masoum Zaher, Dagim Bekele, Brandon Lenarduzzi, Frank von Oostrom, Fernando Morales, Ben Anderson

Several players are not returning, and recently graduated Mark Ibbotson will be a significant departure. Ibbotson was not only talented but displayed strong work habits and was named the team's MVP at last season's RDC Athletics Awards Night. The collective efforts of the returnees and rookies will look to fill the hole left by Ibbotson's absence. "What we see this year and the mentality have a lot to do with Mark," says Groenewegen. "Our leadership this year is coming from Theoren Gill, Talon Grenier and Timmo van Klaveren. The way that these guys see things is in large part due to Mark last year."

In two non-conference games, the RDC Kings defeated the University of Alberta (Augustana) Vikings 2-1 in Camrose and 4-1 in Red Deer. In the home victory, Hamilton and Bizerra shared time in goal and collectively stopped 6-of-7 shots. Returning Bachelor of Education (Elementary) student-athlete, Theoren Gill opened the scoring in the 38th minute. Newcomers, Koltan Childs, Shaun Funk and Lee Wagar added goals. "I've seen the guys focusing on what we've been doing in training. In the first game, we wanted to see certain things and we did see them, but wanted a little bit more. By the time we got to the second game, we saw more of the players applying their training to a game situation," says Groenewegen. "It continues to progress and the foundation is coming. In fairness, the things that we aren't yet seeing are the hardest things to do. We are seeing attempts but are not quite executing perfectly yet, but it is early." The RDC Kings will play another non-conference game on Monday, September 4 against The King's University Eagles.

The RDC Kings have bought into the team concept early and this season they will strive to improve individually and together. "This group is very much a team: on the same page, very coachable, work hard and are a treat to work with honestly," said Groenewegen. "We have overall team speed, fitness, a good level of generosity to use each other on the pitch and a willingness to dig into the tactics and get intellectually better."

The regular season will begin on Saturday, September 9 at 4:00 pm against the Kodiaks in Lethbridge. NAIT will host the 2017-2018 ACAC Men's Soccer Championship October 27 to 29, 2017 at Emerald Hills Sports Pavilion in Sherwood Park.