A new season means a fresh start, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
For the Lambton Lions men’s soccer program, the 2019 season presents a new set of opportunities for a program that is itching to get back into the win column. After back-to-back winless seasons in the OCAA, Head Coach Shane Bettridge is looking forward to the new season, and the level of optimism is higher than it’s been in recent years with the program.
“We have a talented group this season,” said Bettridge. “We had one of the highest turnouts at tryouts this season, which made building our roster extremely tough.”
“It was a good problem to have.”
After three days of intense tryouts, the Lions have built their roster for the 2019 campaign. Equipped with their share of veterans plus an influx of new faces and talent, the outlook for the Lions is a positive one as the season gets rolling.
“I’m feeling optimistic about the new season,” said third-year striker Aaran Pollock (Practical Nursing). “I feel that hard work and determination will take us to where we want to be.”
The 2019 season marks the return to the lineup for Pollock after suffering season-ending injuries in consecutive seasons. Last season, Pollock suffered a torn quad in the season opener and missed the rest of the 2018 season. Now healthy, Pollock is ready to lead the Lions as they look to turn things around.
Alex Trotter (Paramedic) has returned to the lineup for his fifth and final year of eligibility with the Lions, giving the team a big boost in terms of both experience and on-field talent. Trotter is one of 11 players on Lambton’s roster this season to have at least one year of post-secondary soccer under their belts.
After posting back-to-back seasons without a win, Pollock and the Lions understand the position they’re in. The Lions will look to use the naysayers as motivation this season as they look to claw their way back into contention in the OCAA, and they will lean on their veterans for guidance as the season starts to unfold.
“I feel like the expectations around us are going to be doubtful,” added Pollock. “There are a lot of good, core guys returning, and I feel that we’ll be able to build a good squad around that.”
“I feel that this year we are really going to turn it around.”
The Lions open their 2019 season on Saturday, September 7th when they welcome the Conestoga Condors to town. Last season, the Condors posted a record of 0-7-3 in the Central Division, finishing with three points.
Kickoff will follow the completion of the women’s game, and is scheduled for 3 p.m.