August 2, 2013, LANGLEY, BC (ISN) – The defending Canada West and CIS champion Trinity Western women’s soccer team will launch its 2013 season and its quest for back-to-back titles in Guatemala, where the team will open its training camp Aug. 9-20.
The Spartans, who last year earned their fourth national title in the last 10 years with a penalty kicks win over Queen’s, will officially open its training camp Aug. 9 with an afternoon session in Langley before embarking on their 11-day journey to Guatemala.
“We love to get away during our preseason to focus on team-building and growing a team culture, while also giving ourselves an opportunity to train and play a few games in an unfamiliar environment,” said Spartans coach Graham Roxburgh, who initially made a connection with Guatemala’s national delegation during the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Vancouver. “With the invitation from Guatemala, we thought this would be a great way to kick off our training camp.”
The team will have the opportunity to train at Guatemala’s national training centre in Guatemala City as well as compete in three exhibition contests, including two against Guatemala’s national women’s team and one against a local club side.
Following their first five days in Guatemala City, the Spartans will travel to both Atitlan and Antigua, where they will conclude their training excursion abroad.
Alongside their training sessions, the team will also have the chance to participate in a couple of service projects in Guatemala, in which the Spartans will work in conjunction with Athletes in Action.
While the Spartans indeed enter the 2013 season as the CIS title-holders, in Guatemala, Roxburgh, who has now guided the Spartans women’s soccer program to four national crowns and five conference banners, will have his team focused on this year and this year alone.
“I think we need to make sure we are not complacent,” Roxburgh said. “We realize that last year was special, but it is last season and this is a new year and there are no current champions. Everyone starts from the same starting point.
“This is an important preseason because we are still the same core group, but we also have lost a few influential players. I think more than ever, an opportunity to be together on the road where we can focus more on training than games will really help us come together.”
The Spartans will open camp without a number of key the now-graduated players, including goalkeeper Kristen Funk, defenders Nikki Byrne and Jilian Dietrich and midfielder Tessa Meyer. However, the losses will be mitigated by a strong returning core as well as the return of Sarah-Kim Bergeron (Calgary), who missed all of last year with a knee injury, and Jenna Di Nunzio (North Delta, B.C.), who was forced to the sideline for last year’s Canada West gold medal match and the entire national championship tournament, also due to a knee injury.
Last year the Spartans finished the regular season with an 11-1 record before winning six straight post-season matches en route to capturing both the conference and national championships.
The last time a TWU team opened its training camp outside of North America, it was men’s volleyball team travelling to Russia in 2010. That year, the Spartans went on to win the first of back-to-back CIS national championships.