Spartans set for season’s start

Trinity Western Spartans’ Jason Wiens (#25) and Taylor Johnson (#17) battle amidst members of the Thompson Rivers WolfPack during pre-season play.  - TWU Athletic Department
Trinity Western Spartans’ Jason Wiens (#25) and Taylor Johnson (#17) battle amidst members of the Thompson Rivers WolfPack during pre-season play.
— image credit: TWU Athletic Department

While their pre-season showed promise, head coach Pat Rohla is not sure what to make of the upcoming Canada West men’s soccer regular season.

After all, a few years ago, the NFL’s Detroit Lions went perfect in the pre-season (4-0) only to go 0-16 in the games that really counted.

“It is going to be a little bit like stick your hand in and see what you pull out,” Rohla offered.

“I think we have some good pieces, it is whether or not we stay healthy. (But we are) excited about the season.”

The Spartans were nearly perfect in the pre-season, going 4-0-1 and outscoring their foes 9-3.

Among their opponents were some American colleges and universities.

“We played a lot of bodies, but we picked up a few injuries as a result,” Rohla said.

“But that is all part of it.”

“(Staying healthy) will be key for most teams but for us in particular, that is going to be a big piece of it.”

Trinity Western begins their Canada West season with a pair of home tilts this weekend at Rogers Park on the TWU campus. On Friday it is the Lethbridge Pronghorns coming to Langley and on Saturday it is the Calgary Dinos. Both games begin at 7 p.m.

The Spartans have undergone some roster turnover from the 2011 squad which went 8-4-2 and advanced to the Canada West final four. Nine players graduated from that team.

“Some of it is just belief that they can play; last year they went out and proved it,” Rohla said.

“We were one (penalty kick) away from going to nationals and anytime you go to nationals from Canada West, you are going to do well.”

The Spartans are unranked heading into the season.

The midfield — consisting of Mitchell Rohla, Jordan Whitehead, Brayden Gant and newcomer Cam Parkes — should be the team’s “bread and butter” the coach said.

A couple of the other rookies to watch include a pair of defenders in Kalem Scott and Taylor Johnson.

The team also returns leading scorer Spencer Schmidt, who paced the Spartan attack with seven goals in 2011/12.

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