By Tommy Osborne, September 20 2016 —
Following a promising season last year, the University of Calgary Dinos men’s soccer team is poised to contend for the conference championship again. Despite an early playoff exit last year, this season’s squad doesn’t lack confidence.
Led by captain Dominick Zator and 2015 second team CIS All-Canadian Dominic Russo, the Dinos started the season with an incredible three-game winning streak, and are currently going strong with a win-to-loss ratio of 4–2. Head coach Brendan O’Connell credits the success of the team to the excellent roster.
“We have a good group of players, and we’re coming off of a successful season last year. The confidence is still riding high,” O’Connell said. “We’ve strengthened that with some good young rookies and some of the best kids in the city, if not the province.”
Among those rookies, Bori Falaye — with three goals and assists this season — and Ty Werbecki — with one goal and one assist — have stood out so far.
Falaye, a former player for Calgary Southwest United, was recruited by O’Connell due to his firepower up front, tremendous athleticism and playmaking abilities. Falaye credited his success to his work ethic.
“I just gotta thank God for giving me this ability,” Falaye said. “I guess I work really hard too, practice hard in training and I just try to put my best foot forward.”
The Dinos feature a balance of superb veterans and promising rookies, which leaves a lot of hope for winning the Canada West this season.
O’Connell believes the talent and depth of the Dinos squad is so great that they could field a second team and still be successful.
“I think, to be honest, that we could field another team, and be in the top four or five,” he said.
The Dinos hope to ride a formula of experienced veterans and promising rookies to the playoffs.
“We’re going to go into every game with 100 per cent effort, and if we play anything like I know these boys can play, then we should be there,” O’Connell said.
Russo encourages fans to come watch the team, as they feed off of support from the student body.
“I’m sure people would enjoy watching [our games],” Russo said.
This upcoming weekend, the Dinos will take on the University of Northern British Columbia on Saturday Sept. 24 at 2:15 p.m at the West Varsity Soccer Pitch. Entry is free for those with a valid student ID.
The match against UNBC will be the first portion of back-to-back weekend games at the U of C. Sunday’s game against the University of Victoria Vikes will also take place on the West Varsity Soccer Pitch at 2:15 p.m.