The CCAA kicks off
Eight teams will fight for the national championship title.
By River Kero
The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association kicks off the men’s soccer championship this week with eight teams from across the country – all hoping the recent atmospheric rivers, high winds and an unseasonable forecast of snow flurries remain at bay.
The national championship kicks off from Nov. 9-12 in Langley, B.C., with defending champion Humber College of Toronto the top favourite.
Undefeated this season with 56 goals, the Hawks have won four of the last six national championships.
Host Langara College, consistently among the top-ranked teams in the CCAA all season, are another favourite, despite losing the PACWEST final to the Vancouver Island University Mariners.
Falcons coach Marc Rizzardo is hoping for good weather for the games and is confident in his team’s abilities.
“I’m looking for my players to play their best soccer of the season,” he said. “Teams will be very competitive. My players are looking forward to the challenge and I’m expecting us to do well.”
But the competition is still open, thanks to the tournament format which has what is called a “backdoor bronze,” according to Brandon Stone, manager of marketing and sponsorship for the league.
This means that even if a team loses its first match, they still have a chance at a medal later on. After the first day, it’s still anyone’s game.
“I don’t know if I want to make predictions on the teams,” said Stone. “You never know. That’s the reason we play the games … anybody could come out on top.”
The games will take place at the Langley Events Centre, starting Nov. 9 at 10 a.m. with
Holland Hurricanes and the Vancouver Island University Mariners kicking off the play. Next up will be Seneca Sting vs. the Nomades de Montmorency.
In the afternoon, the Hawks will face off against Les Rouges de Saint-Boniface, and at 5:30 p.m. the Falcons will play the Trojans from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.
The energy is high this year, as the teams can participate in social activities that were previously closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“CCAA student athletes will be able to live the full national championships experience this season,” said CEO of the league Sandra Murray-MacDonell in an email to the Voice. “Those that have never been to the west coast will have an opportunity to take in some sights and hospitality during their down time.”
While Stone said one of the things they liked about hosting in British Columbia is that it’s usually “wet rather than snowing.” The CCAA has dealt with snow before, even ploughing the field mid-competition.