Date Posted: August 29, 2011
Print Edition: August 25, 2011
The UFV Cascades men’s soccer team started and ended last season with a win against Lethbridge University. Despite competitive games and close scores throughout the season, UFV didn’t make it out of the Western Conference and into playoffs. They finished second in the April 2011 Keg Classic held in Victoria, falling to UBC in the championship game. Head Coach Alan Errington is entering his eighth season of coaching the UFV men’s soccer varsity team. He has coached all levels of the sport, including working with the Vancouver Whitecaps as well as being a staff coach with Canada’s World Cup team that played in the 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico. The Cascade met with Coach Errington to discuss the coming season.
What can the team learn from last season?
That’s in the past! I never look back!…I think in all honesty, the thing that excites me about this year…[is] when new players come in, the way I coach and the way we play, everybody has to buy into the system and the way we play…When you get new players who come from elsewhere and they don’t know it, it takes a bit to adapt and adjust to how we play. But, on this team all the players have had last year or the past few years [with the Cascades] and have all adjusted to that already. The problem is the rookies and the new players who come in. Nine of them have come from the Abbotsford U18 Team, which I coach and we won the Provincials and the Nationals in October…So they fit right in. So they’re not like rookies, they’re like seasoned players. And last night we won 1- nil against Langara, and in the second half there were eight of them on the fieldÉRather than recruiting, we develop players from Abbotsford.
What does a successful season look like this year?
Successful has to be making the playoffs…Every year there seems to be just a little bit more quality and hopefully one year we are going to take off. Hopefully it’s this year.
So, your specific team goal is to make the playoffs?
Absolutely. It’s always the same; make the playoffs and then you just go from there and if you get on a roll and you’re full of confidence, then you can win it. There’s not much difference in the players we’ve got and everywhere else, other than…they’ve got better facilities, they’ve got more money and they can attract, sometimes, better quality players as well. I mean, UBC got a lot of players from the Whitecaps that had been released.
Does UFV offer scholarships as incentive?
We get a certain amount of money which I divide to the players and assist them with their tuition. One of the good things about our team, our university, is for a semester of three courses it’s about $1,500 bucks, and at Trinity or UBC you’re looking at about ten or twelve grand. Sometimes they offer scholarships of about $6000 so you’re dying to sign, and then you’ve got to pay another $4000. And then we offer them $1000 and they’ve got to pay $500…Then again there is still the stigma of UBC and UVIC and the ‘big’ schools and how it’s a “better” degree there. It’s the same degree [at UFV].
Are there any new recruits you are particularly excited about?
There is a unique situation this year…I’ve got three brothers playing on this team; Trevor O’Neil, the captain, and Colton and Connor O’Neil, the twins, who played for the U18s last year…We call them the ‘Triple-O’s…We’re going to try to get Whitespot to sponsor us!
How can students at UFV support the team?
Get out and come follow us…It’s good soccer and it really is entertaining. It’s physical…there’s a lot of passing. It’s a great game to watch…The more people that are there, it makes a better atmosphere.