Half veteran, half rookie, all good

In any sport, a team laden with new talent and fresh faces can be seen in two ways: inexperienced or energized. This year’s Dinos men’s soccer squad falls into the second category.

With a roster boasting as many rookies as returning players (14), not to mention eight players who played their rookie campaigns last year, it is clear a foundation is being laid for the future. Despite their youth however, many are optimistic and confident about the young squad, chief amongst them is their Head Coach, Andy Gibbs.

"Our rookies should have a lot of confidence in themselves," explains the veteran manager, entering his seventeenth year at the Dinos’ helm. "They have a lot of talent, all they’re lacking is experience–and they will soon have a lot of that."

Leadership on a team where only six of 28 players have more than a year under their belt is key, but Gibbs is confident it won’t be a problem.

"We’ve got some great veterans on this team, some great leaders," he says. "And in the event they aren’t able to shoulder the whole load, there are a lot of young guys with the character to step up."

A difficulty this year, as it has been in year’s past, is an unforgiving schedule. Since Trinity Western University joined the Canada West ranks two years ago, all prairie-based teams have had three-game West Coast road trips built into their schedules, while the coast teams hosting them only play a pair of games over the same period.

One saving grace is a lengthy mid-season homestand. Starting and ending the season on the road benefits a young squad like the Dinos as it allows them the opportunity to build momentum and confidence over the matches on their home pitch.

"The long homestand is very beneficial to us, especially with rookies adjusting to academic schedules and academic life," explains Gibbs, a coach who takes great pride in the academic achievements of all the players in his program.

Regardless of how much experience the Dinos may have on the pitch, the amount they have behind the bench should ensure this season is a success.

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