CCAA Bronze medalists add eight to roster
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
When you look at national championship winning teams, one thing is immediately obvious: They’re always improving the talent on their roster.
While this is mainly because CCAA winning programs will feed into the larger Usports program, there is a lot to say about adding youth to an aging team. Younger players push the veterans to always be at the top of their game, or the younger players may displace them and take their position.
Going into the 2017–18 PACWEST soccer season, the Royals will once again have a lot to prove as they look to build on last year’s success. As is his speciality, head coach Chris Laxton has brought in a large group of eager women looking to test their skills at the next level. Let’s take a look at the recruits joining the Royals this fall:
Sadaf Ataullah Baresh
5’5” Right Back/Winger
Afghanistan Women’s National Team (2016)
Port Moody Secondary, Port Moody
Sadaf Ataullah Baresh is easily the most exciting addition the Royals have made this offseason. As the only member of the Royals to have experience on the international stage—and possibly the only player in the PACWEST to do so—Sadaf brings a level of maturity and skill that may elevate the team to the next level.
Playing in the role of fullback, she boasts the ability and speed to contribute both up and down the field. The sidelines will be a much more dangerous place for the ball with Sadaf on the pitch.
Coquitlam Metro-Ford Soccer Club (CMFSC)
Dr. Charles Best Secondary, Coquitlam
One of the big signings for the Royals this offseason was Amanda Kristiansen. Her ability to play up and down the field, as well as play an offensive role in any position, gives her quite the edge on the field. However, it’s her lethal touch that will make the difference for her and the team. No matter where this girl is, she can put the ball into the net. The Royals have potentially found their consistent striking threat.
Even if Kristiansen doesn’t find herself in the starting 11 right away, she has the ability to come off the bench and make an explosive impact. Expect her to be a role player for the Royals in the coming years.
Mountain United FC
Burnaby North Secondary, Burnaby
I covered Ashley’s commitment announcement earlier in the year. As I said in that article, Bristow comes in to the team to provide depth at a variety of areas on the field. Her versatility will help her pick up easy minutes, while her technical skills and speed will guide her through the season.
Mountain United FC
Burnaby Mountain Secondary, Burnaby
Similarly to Ashley, I covered Martina’s commitment in an earlier article. She brings an array of technical and mental skills, which will really help amplify the Royals’ attacking presence on the field. She will likely come off the bench as a role player, bringing renewed energy and effort in every situation.
Delta Coastal Selects
Johnston Heights Secondary, Surrey
Caitlin Limmayog-Danielson is another player coming into the Royals that has the ability to play in any position. Her versatility will be her key component as she will likely play a depth role for the Royals in the coming season.
Surrey United SC
Queen Elizabeth Secondary, Surrey
Neeraj Braich may not be able to boast about being the tallest player on the pitch, but that won’t matter if you can’t catch her. This quick-footed fullback has the ability to contribute offensively as well as defensively. However, she will likely play a depth role on the team this year due to a surplus of players in the position of fullback, coming off the bench in times of need./
Surrey Pegasus FC
Princess Margaret Secondary, Surrey
Sneha’s commitment to the Royals addresses a key area of focus: the midfield. In the past season, the Royals have lacked a midfield identity, but Sneha will help fix that. A hard-nosed player on the pitch, and an excellent teammate off the pitch, she has a work ethic that is hard to rival during games. She’ll likely improve under the tutelage of Michelle Wessa, who she will be groomed to slot in for once Michelle finishes her time in the PACWEST.
5’6” Center Defender
Surrey Pegasus FC
Tamanawis Secondary, Surrey
The addition of Preet Thandi is an interesting one. The formal captain of the Surrey Pegasus FC 99 team will be a huge boon to the Royals’ backline. It’s likely she’ll make an immediate impact on the lineup. She will more than likely slot into the central defender role beside Sarah Strelau, so that Samantha Kell will move up to the midfield to control the team from there. Preet has the potential to be the defensive rock that the Royals need in the backline, and she could be what gives them that extra edge.