By Tagwa Moyo
The Ryerson men’s soccer team will try to leave the past behind them.
After a having their season end in penalty kicks last year, the Ryerson men’s team is ready to improve upon their mistakes, and continue building and growing as a successful soccer program in the CIS.
The Rams may have lost key veteran players like keeper Christian Maraldo and defender Josh Kohn, but the team was very busy over the offseason making sure all gaps were filled with fresh talent.
While the Rams didn’t manage to land Messi, they did acquire talent and add to their attacking line, midfield, defence and goalkeeping by recruiting six players from around the GTA as well as cross-country talent from Halifax. With such an active offseason, players understand just how important it is to bring their best to the field each game.
“It’s a very competitive lineup, a lot of guys right now can start,” said fourth year midfielder Luka Lee. “Some guys who are used to playing a lot of minutes may need to take on other roles and it’s about being okay with that.”
Replacing Maraldo in net — who in his time with the Rams, was one of their biggest personalities — are Ahilan Praveen, Alex Christie, Brandon Galea-Andrews and offseason signee Ali Ghazanfari. The pre-season exhibition games for the team will serve as an audition for the potential goalies, allowing the coaching staff to designate their starting keeper.
With such a talented roster midfielder Marko Miketic knows the importance of consistency within the teams play. “It’s about performing at the highest level day in and day out throughout the season.”
So far the men’s team have been well tested on their competitiveness as well as consistency. This pre-season the Rams have played the McMaster Marauders as well as Université du Québec å Montréal, both teams being top three ranked teams in the country. In both matches the Rams have tied, showing that they can compete and remain consistent against high-level opponents.
Coach Fillip Prostran believes that having highly competitive games like these early is what the team needs to be ready for the season and for the playoffs. “Our philosophy in pre-season is always to play the best quality teams,” Prostran said. “I don’t want to have any false expectations, beating up on teams that are not at the level that we are.”
With two games already behind them, the men’s team continues to build chemistry and become stronger and stronger each day. The team has lost some key pieces, but has tried to fit them in with new ones and is ready to take on yet another competitive season.
The men’s team will be tested once again Aug. 23 when they play York in a pre-season friendly. The first game of the regular season and the start of their journey toward the CIS finals is Aug. 29 when they take on crosstown rivals, U of T.