After getting off to a great start in 2017, with three wins, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s soccer team dropped two of their last three games. However, sitting at 4-2, they have positioned themselves well to start the season.
They’re currently second out of the six teams in the Prairie division, which means they will need to finish the regular season in the top four to qualify for the postseason.
Multiple Huskies have had strong starts in terms of personal stats as well. Tyler Redl and Marcello Gonzalez have led the way up front, and they are currently the leading goal scorers on the squad, with two a piece. Goalkeeper Patrick Pranger has been excellent between the pipes, with a 3-1 record and a 0.75 goals against average. The group will continue to rely on production from these three veterans going forward.
In addition, the Huskies have managed to get strong contributions from two first-years. Midfielder Kwame Opoku has certainly made a statement in his rookie season, tallying a goal and an assist in league play to date. Opoku’s goal against Lethbridge was the game winner. He’s a dynamic player, who is able to control a match using his defensive prowess and ability to distribute the ball.
Fellow rookie centre-back Zach Edwards has started all six games in his first season so far and has wasted no time gaining the trust of Head Coach Bryce Chapman. Along with steady play on the back end, Edwards has also been able to contribute offensively, recording a goal versus the Alberta Golden Bears. This local talent, who attended Centennial Collegiate in Saskatoon, will be a cornerstone along the back for the next four years to come with the Huskies.
Edwards, who is currently in his first year in Edwards School of Business, speaks to the calibre of play in the Canada West conference.
“It’s a pretty big step up from high school, playing against bigger, stronger, faster and older guys, but I think I’ve handled it fairly well. The leadership on our team from older guys has been great through helping younger guys like myself make the transition easier and feel more comfortable playing at this level,”
Edwards said, in online correspondence with the Sheaf. Edwards also speaks to the team’s chemistry this season.
“I think our trust in each other as a team has been pretty big from the start. I think we’ve been able to mesh well as a team, and with each game that goes by, we’re able to learn things and become better as a whole unit. With that being said, I think we’re just getting started as a team and can become even better for [the] second half of the season. I’m excited for what’s to come,” Edwards said.
The Huskies will look to continue building upon their successful start when they travel to the West Coast for a two-game road trip starting Sept. 15. The group will take on teams at the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus and at Trinity Western University in what should be two very competitive matches.
Graphic: Jina Bae