The start of the soccer season is right around the corner, and the Sooke Pumas women’s div-1 team are hoping they can add a few more committed players to make a strong push all the way to the playoffs.
Last season the team started “very strong,” said captain Lindsay Jenkins.
“(We had) a 10-game win streak—we were doing really well, then we lost a few players near the end.”
She said the team struggled the latter half of the season, finishing near the mid-bottom of the rankings after starting at the top.
“There were a couple injuries, a couple girls went travelling.”
Recruitment traditionally hasn’t been a problem. Keeping people, for various reasons like those above, has. Some have also moved on to other clubs, like former “backbone of the team” Tracy Forsberg. Jenkins said Forsberg was a star player who is going on to play for the over 30s Victoria Castaways.
But not everyone has jumped ship. Prolific goal-scorer Brogan Boyer, who averaged 20 to 30 goals over the last two seasons, is returning. With over 13 years of soccer experience, Boyer said in an email that the core group has changed quite a bit.
“Our biggest challenge this season is developing a young, new team,” said Boyer.
That’s why the forward slash mid-fielder slash striker Jenkins said the lineup is almost full, but they’re still looking for some polished talent over the next couple of weeks before the season officially begins.
“We have some new girls that are really into it, they’re fit, and they love soccer. We’re just missing the experience.”
Besides staffing issues, the other major concern is the playing surface, she said.
“Sooke is the only div-1 team in the league that doesn’t have a turf field, so we have a lot of our games cancelled.”
On days where rain is plentiful, not a rare occurrence in the fall and winter months, the fields flood. If it gets too cold, the ground freezes solid. As a result, the Pumas end up playing an inordinate amount of away games, or games at a substitution venue on a later date that has messed with their rhythm.
“For the first half of the season I don’t think we lost a single game at home.”
Over the last two years there have been talks with the district of setting up an artificial environment, as well as “lots and lots of fundraising” for the expensive project. They are still a ways away, but Jenkins is wishful it will be a reality within the next five years.
Tryouts and practices are underway at Fred Milne Park on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.for the next two weeks. During the 20-game regular season, home matches will be played at Fred Milne on Saturday nights at 6 p.m., noon on Sunday for away. Any questions can be emailed to Jenkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.