By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – Preparations never stop as head coach Bruce Wilson is set to take the University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team to Florida for their annual spring tour Feb. 2-13. Throughout the week and a half the Vikes will play three exhibition games against NCAA competition Florida Gulf Coast, Florida International and Florida Atlantic, while also getting in several training sessions.
“This is like a bonus trip as it fulfills the second half training, while it is also a test of Canadian CIS talent against NCAA talent,” said Wilson who has been taking his squad to Florida for over a decade. “These schools are happy to play us as we give them an extra game in the off-season and they know we usually bring a pretty competitive side.”
Wilson will be bringing his top line up including fifth years Cam Hundal, Craig Gorman and Dominic Colantonio, while fourth-year keeper Noah Pawlowski will control the back line. With three graduating athletes there will also be time to see the next wave of Vikes and what they have to offer with the Fall 2016 season coming around the corner.
“This is an opportunity for us to let some of our younger players get an idea of what those schools and that level of competition is like,” added Wilson.
Among the youngsters who will get a shot are first year full back Evan Stefanek, second-year defender Mackenzie Rigg, first-year central midfielder Xavier Araujo and rookie striker Jyotish Khanna.
“This will be really good for Jyotish to get 10 straight days of training in after tearing his ACL over a year ago,” said Wilson of the Victoria native who will get part-time striker duties alongside second year Michael Baart. “He’s worked really, really hard so it will be good to see him in action.”
The Vikes will get the opportunity to also train at the top-notch Florida Atlantic University facilities, which includes four soccer pitches. The team leaves on Feb. 2 and will have their first game on Feb. 7 at Florida Gulf Coast (10:00 a.m. PST), and will then play Florida International on Feb. 10 (11:30 a.m. PST) and Florida Atlantic on Feb. 12 (1:00 p.m. PST).