By Josh Martin, Sports Editor
This past week, I had the opportunity to meet and interview some of the finest athletes on the Royals men’s soccer team. Right back and team captain, Dylan Myers, goaltender Dillan Fogliato, and midfielder Andrew Foster.
They kicked off their season this past weekend with an Okanagan road trip to Kamloops and Kelowna, against the TRU WolfPack and the UBCO Heat. And you can bet that they have fire in their eyes this year after a disappointing season where they were disqualified from the league after the ineligibility of a player on the team. That won’t happen again this year.
“We trust the school in their off the field stuff. We’re just worried about on the field,” said Myers.
The Royals will be hosting the CCAA Men’s Soccer National Championship on November 7–10 at Town Centre Park in Coquitlam, BC, and since they’re hosting the event, they have an automatic bye into the tournament, regardless of how well they do in the PACWEST Provincials.
“Well, I think we’re more prepared to actually focus on the good. I think we’re ready for Nationals and Provincials,” said Foster.
“We’re hoping to peak come Nationals, we’re not trying to peak before. The whole season we tend to peak a little early, but this year we’ll be hoping to peak around Provincial, National time.
“We got a lot of new guys but not necessarily freshmen, guys that have been playing at SFU, Capilano; Sahil [Sandhu] who was over in Europe. We got a young team but an experienced team when it comes to college soccer,” said Myers.
“We got a lot going forward. Sahil, Gagan [Josan], just the attacking forwards and midfielders are going to provide a lot of scoring but I’d have to say probably our backline might be our strongest suit. You know Myers, Devlin [Periera], and Devin [Phelan]… we have a lot of depth in the backline as well coming off the bench,” said Fogliato.
When asked about their team’s biggest weakness, Myers responded with, “just chemistry with the team. Just getting a lot of new guys out. Definitely playing more competitive games together.
“We got our first two road trips in the first two weeks basically, so that definitely helps. Because we stay in a hotel, we travel on the bus and what not. That’s generally when guys seem to get more involved as well as finally seeing each other in school and what not. That’s basically where most of the bonding comes from. For the next two months we’re basically seeing each other every day so over time it will definitely grow.”
Hopefully it won’t be an issue come September 22 when the Royals host their first home game of the season in Coquitlam against Quest at 3 p.m. in front of their own crowd.
This upcoming weekend, the Royals will be travelling to Capilano and Vancouver Island to face off against their biggest rivals, according to Fogliato, with the Capilano Blues and the VIU Mariners.
“Games you get out for are games like [Capilano] and Langara, because you know there’s so much history between the two schools. But I think the one that I look forward to the most would probably be VIU. Going to the Island they get a lot of fans out there, it’s a lot of fun. They’re pretty hostile but you know if you can’t get out for those kind of games then I guess you can’t really get up for any kind.”
The Royals will be facing the Blues at 2 p.m. on Saturday and then be making their way through the Gulf Islands for a 2 p.m. battle on Sunday against the Mariners.
As for the team itself, it’s evident that the pieces are coming together this year. And one of the reasons why is because of the strong leadership from Myers.
When asked how he leads his team, Myers said, “Basically on and off the field. Going to class, road trips, making sure everyone’s acting appropriately. Basically representing the school as well as setting a good example on and off the field. Especially at games as well because you never know who’s in the stands watching; kids, parents, what not. And, yeah … making sure the team acts the way it’s supposed to.”
“Dylan’s our captain and he’s been on our team for quite a few years now. He’s been all-star, he scores the goals when we need them, and he saves the ball when we need it…. you know he’s there.
“[He] can lead [our] team throughout pre-season and other years and he’s always done that so we’re happy to have him as a captain,” said Fogliato.
Myers also wanted to credit, “the coaching [staff] as a whole. Shane Ramsey, who does a lot of behind the scenes of getting guys into the school. The two assistant coaches, who don’t necessarily get a lot of credit, Robby [Toor] and Casey [Wilson], who do a lot at practice and in general … they’re always overlooked … but definitely the players appreciate it and a lot of people who have been surrounded with the soccer club for years now understand the work and effort they put into the team as well.”
The Douglas College men’s soccer team tied the TRU Wolfpack this past Saturday in their season opener in Kamloops to a final score of 2–2. They then went on to defeat the UBCO Heat in Kelowna on Sunday—after trailing by two goals—by a final score of 4–2.
The women’s soccer team dropped their first game of the season against the Wolfpack, 4–0, as well as their second game of the road trip against the Heat, 3–0.
The men’s soccer team faces off against Capilano on Saturday at 2 p.m. and then make their way to Vancouver Island to meet up with the VIU Mariners for a 2 p.m. match.
The women’s team will be playing Capilano at 12 p.m. on Saturday and then be playing the Mariners on Sunday at 12 p.m.