Excitement is in the air as the start of the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team training camp approaches.
After learning they will host next season’s (2017/18) CIS Nationals, the WolfPack begin preparing for this season.
Head coach John Antulov is expecting about 40 recruits and veterans to be at Hillside Stadium on Tuesday night (Aug. 2).
With the Canada West season kicking off two weeks earlier, Antulov and his returning players are looking forward to getting underway. TRU finished with a 3-6-3 record in the Pacific Division last year: their second in CIS.
Antulov has six committed recruits already and says he could have more by the end of next week.
“We are trying to finalize things. There have been a couple of players who have contacted us that are interesting. We look forward to taking a look at them.”
The coach said the first week will be used as an evaluation for not only prospects but veterans as well, including Williams Lake’s Ryan Glanville, who finished tied for third in Canada West goal scoring last season in his first year with the team with eight goals.
The coach is hoping that fans understand that the core of players coming back this season are mainly second and third year guys the potential is strong but their inexperience could still be a downfall.
“If you take Colton (Walker, fourth year, Sicamous) and Ryan (Glanville, second year, Williams Lake) out — a lot of them are young. We can’t expect miracles but hopefully they exceed expectations. If they meet expectations—Finlay (McPhie, 3rd year, Vernon), Adam Swanson (second year, North Vancouver) had fantastic years in 2015. If they can keep that level and progress it bodes well. I think we have some good young players coming in. But again, they are first year guys. There will be growing pains.”
Glanville became the first WolfPack soccer player to be named a Canada West all-star when he was named to the second team last season. Antulov expects both he and Mitchell Popadynetz (third year, Nelson) will garner a lot of attention from the opposition.
TRU opens its Canada West season on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Hillside when they meet up with the defending league champs: the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. Kick off will be 1 p.m.