CCAA championship contender: Seneca Sting
After losing in the OCAA final Seneca earned the wild card spot in this years championship
By Andrea Dante
Seneca College is a young and talented team that has imposed its style of play against almost every team in their conference — until they met Humber College in the final.
Both teams qualified for the Canadian College Athletic Association men’s soccer championship this month, but Humber will arrive in B.C. with bragging rights.
The Sting will be the unpredictable variable at the nationals: too inexperienced to be the favourite, too good to be a mere underdog.
The team’s inspiration
“We have a technical team,” said Seneca’s head coach Patrice Gheisar. “We are a high-possession team who likes to play really attractive soccer.”
Gheisar said his team is inspired by FC Barcelona, the Spanish team that has won the UEFA Champions League twice in the last 10 years.
He wants a team like Barcelona that makes a lot of passes and is always aggressive in regaining control of the ball. Because of his offensive approach, Seneca has one of the most prolific attacks in the OCAA.
“It’s not just one particular player that’s scoring all the goals,” said Shannon Wright, who has been working as the coordinator for Seneca’s men’s soccer team for more than 20 years. “It’s kind of been spread out which is really nice and we also have a very strong defensive line.”
Wright thinks the main change from last year is the team’s depth, which allows them to have strong substitutes ready to replace injured players or players in precarious physical condition.
Given a second chance
Seneca qualified for the wild card spot in the CCAA championship after losing 4-0 in the OCAA final.
“We have a really young team, so we need to continue to gain experience,” Gheisar said. “The biggest struggle has been to continue to be very good every day.”
Still, Gheisar has complete confidence in his players.
According to Gheisar, three players stand out: Alex Lewis, a talented striker who scored a decisive penalty in the OCAA quarterfinals; Francisco Thomas Cerros, a midfielder with excellent dribbling and game vision; and the left back, Atif Ali.
Players and coaches are excited to be given a second chance and be able to compete in the CCAA championship.
“I am looking forward to being able to play against the best in this country,” Seneca defenceman Dilman Grewal said.
Seneca opens the tournament playing against the Montmorency Nomades on Nov 9.