Learning to win

The women’s soccer team has struggled the last few seasons.

Although the men’s soccer team has enjoyed its fair share of success recently, the same cannot be said of the women’s team, who have just one win in each of their last two seasons.

However, while first year coach Annie Hamel admits that they are probably not a championship team, she believes that they can be competitive and put up some wins.

“I mean, if you’re talking about winning a national championship — no, we’re not there yet,” stated Hamel, who worked the last five years as an assistant coach at St. Leo University in Florida. “I think that we can, even this year, create trouble and surprise teams in the GNAC.”

Furthermore, she added that the focus this year is not on winning championships, but on building and growing a championship winning team: “This year, I’m not worried about winning a national championship or anything like that. I’m worried about having the best success that we can with the team that we have, and build game-in and game-out on our successes and look forward to what the future holds. We’ve just got to be patient.”

Hamel also revealed that she intends to play a more defensive system this year, although ideally only this season. “This year we’re going to be in a bit more of a defensive shape, so we’re playing a 4-5-1,” she says, referring to a strategy that focuses on preventing scoring, rather than scoring goals, often resulting in draws. “But I don’t want to play that any longer than this year.”

The Clan adhered to this strategy well in its first two exhibition matches, achieving a score of 0-0 against Quest University and Douglas College. Coach Hamel was proud of the team’s defensive performance on August 21 and 24.

  “I was really pleased with the way we handled things. I mean we got clean sheets so defensively, it worked. Our focus, which was defence, worked because we didn’t allow any goals.”

She also stated that although the team’s focus is on defence that does not mean the team will neglect its offence. Hamel mentioned that the team was working on its attacking shapes and patterns in preparation for its last exhibition game.

Despite their issues now, Hamel believes that her team will be a contender, drawing a comparison to the men’s team, explaining, “If our men’s program is capable of being that successful and we share the same resources, I don’t see why we can’t be that successful.”

This year probably won’t be a winning season for the women’s soccer team, however, it should showcase a team learning to win, and perhaps a future contender.

The Clan play their first home game against the Hawaii Hilo Vulcans on Sunday, September 7 at 5 p.m.