By Simon Bennett
After last season’s abysmal 0-12 league record, the Ryerson women’s soccer team was in need of a change. Head coach Lavernne Hudson left at the end of last season and has been replaced with a former Newmarket Rep soccer coach Jon Sanderson.
Sander arrives at Ryerson with hopes of helping the women’s soccer team to rebuild their squad, and win a game. The new coach is optimistic because of the young players that have signed up for the team. The Rams opened with eight rookies in the 5-0 season opening loss to Ottawa last Sunday.
“The mix of the veterans we still have along with the rookies will help the young players mature and grow as the years go on,” he said. The team opens with eight rookies.
Sanderson has coached both male and female teams, but he leans towards coaching the women full time. He says he finds them more eager to learn, and he knows they have more to prove in a sport dominated by men.
“It’s a growing sport in Canada [for women] and they want to be put on the map.”
There will also be a new, but vaguely familiar face in the RAC this fall as well.
Nigel Gleeson returns to coach the men’s squash team after a three-year absence. During his last sting as coach, Gleeson was able to build the team into a province-wide contender.
He hopes a tough physical program will help return this year’s squad to contention.
“We were not known to have the best ability, but we were known to have the best fitness,” he said. “That’s our goal this year.”
Over his professional career, the native of Ireland has played in England, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, New Zealand and North American. He still travels the world to play, having just returned from a tournament in Ireland.
The team’s first tournament is Oct. 23 at the University of Toronto.
The Rams have one more new addition to the athletic department in the form of new swim coach Victor Delac.
Delac has gained the bulk of his coaching experience from training club swimmers around the GTA.
Though he has never been formally introduced to the veteran swimmers until recently, Delac said he was already familiar with the team through stories of since-graduated blind swimmer Marie-Claire Ross.
Last year, at the Ontario University Athletics swimming championships, Ross broke four world records in her visually impaired class. She also finished fifth in the 50-metre fly at the nation swim championships.
“It was quite an inspiration to see a disabled swimmer go as far as she did. She was also an exceptional role model for the girls (16-17 year-olds),” he said.
Delac was hired after the popular head coach Alison Lee decided to retire to spend more time with her family.
Delac says the team has a “wide spectrum” of swimmers. He says their talent levels range from recreational to former club levels competition.
The men’s and women’s swim season begins Oct. 16 with a relay meet at Guelph University.