By: Dylan Webb
When it comes to the SFU football team and their recent struggles, it’s hard not to think of Shania Twain. Anytime talk of Clan football crops up, as it inevitably does when you spend enough time in the SFU athletics community, Twain’s 2002 hit single ‘Up’ rings in my ears as I consider how challenging it must be to maintain focus, commitment, and positivity on-and-off the field when success has been hard to come by over the past five seasons.
The recent struggles the SFU football team have faced are well-documented and widely known amongst supporters of SFU athletics. While a variety of metrics can demonstrate the struggles the team has faced, the briefest way to summarize these recent woes is to note that the Clan has only won a single football game throughout the last four seasons.
Despite the historic low, the 2019 season offers another opportunity to turn the page and begin building for a more successful future. An extensive recruiting drive conducted by head coach Thomas Ford this off-season resulted in the addition of a whopping 29 student athletes. Highlighting the list of recruits are siblings Gideone Kremler, a two-time BC High School Provincial title champion quarterback and Zairech Kremler, a BC All-Conference defensive back. Also joining the Clan is Justice Kremler, who will suit up as an inside linebacker after playing for the Vancouver Island Raiders last season.
Also of note is the addition of Kristie Elliot, the first female football player at SFU, to the roster as a backup placekicker. Elliot impressed the coaching staff and her new teammates throughout training camp with her solid mechanics and ability to perform under pressure despite her lack of football experience. Keeping tabs on Elliots’ budding NCAA football career will be an interesting story throughout the 2019 season.
Perhaps the most significant addition to this season’s roster is the addition of running back Solomon Hines to the offense. Coach Ford, in conversation with Varsity Letters, expressed his excitement about the Clan’s starting backfield for 2019, which now includes the speedy Hines. “We’ve got Solomon’s speed and an all-purpose guy like Mason Glover, who can catch the ball very well, has very good vision and very good quickness,” Ford told Varsity Letters. The coaching staff believes that an improved offensive line, in conjunction with a potent backfield of Hines, Glover and starting quarterback Justin Seiber, will allow the offense to continue to improve its points per game production.
These additions will supplement a core of key returning players that includes quarterback Justin Seiber, seniors Stephane Tanguay and Tyler Wood, as well as most of the receivers from last season’s roster.
Having now completed training camp, this new-look roster is set to begin its regular season on September 7 at Portland State. This matchup will be an out of conference affair. The Clan’s first GNAC game is coming on September 28 at home as the team will host Azusa State University at Swanguard Stadium. For 2019, the Clan will play all of its home games at Swanguard while construction on the new stadium continues at the Burnaby campus.
The silver lining is that the Clan, free from the weight of high expectations, “can only go up from here.” Like many SFU sports fans, I hope that the Clan can secure at least a couple wins this season. Not only could an improved campaign potentially bring an end to a stretch of more than 40 games without multiple wins for the Clan, it could also free me from the unwelcome intrusion Shania Twain’s catchy yet irritating lyrics make into my head whenever the topic of SFU football arises.