KELOWNA, BC – With the start of the conference season under two weeks away head coach Dante Zanatta and his UBC Okanagan Heat men’s soccer team have finished their road preseason schedule on Sunday with a cancelled contest against UNBC.
The match against the Timberwolves was supposed to wrap up a three-match set held in Kamloops but all of Sunday’s matches were called at Hillside Stadium due to the poor air quality.
In spite of the change in plans coach Zanatta, preparing for eighth season at the helm all with lead assistant Tom Flanagan, explains that his team has had a good preseason to this point and that they will make due with the surprising day off.
“It is what it is. It will change our preseason a little bit and we will make due with it but the boys still got in a few games,” explained Zanatta. Overall, the coaching staff is happy with the team’s action so far saying it has been a good preseason to this point.
Zanatta thought the team’s first action last weekend versus Whatcom was positive as he rolled through all of his players and this weekend in Kamloops he was pleased as they once again go to play everybody.
Results so far…
The Heat have played several scrimmages and in the exhibition matches so far they are without a win, dropping decisions at Whatcom College (0-2, Aug 4), at Thompson Rivers (1-2, Aug 10), and versus Langara also in Kamloops (0-3, Aug 11).
Zanatta was not worried about the results saying it was more important to play all of his players as they fight for a spot on the starting 11 or a spot on the roster.
“We are not concerned with the results but more with the process. Good opposition. Good competitive games. The players did well with the first year players getting their feet wet against the better opposition and the increase in the pace of the game. It was a good weekend.”
Zanatta on the newcomers…
“A couple of the newcomers have done well these past two weekends and we can see that they are going to be very good players for us. But it is a steep learning curve, they are having flashes, but to do that consistently over 90 minutes is a bit of a task for them. That is what preseason is about and what we, as coaches, have to teach.”
Zanatta on the veterans…
“The veterans have been very good with some stepping into leadership roles; it is a good core with a good vibe in the group and [the entire team is] getting along very well. You can see it is just a matter of continuing that growth over the next two weeks and fine-tuning some things get ready for Trinity Western and the opening of the league.”
To close out the preseason the Heat will train all week in Kelowna on the Nonis Turf before playing a match versus Thompson Rivers, this time at UBC Okanagan, the scheduled match is on Saturday (Aug. 18) for a 3 p.m. start.
The preseason will close with a match on Sunday (Aug. 19) at 2 p.m. versus a Kelowna Men’s League All-Star team.
The following weekend the Canada West soccer season will start in earnest with a pair of home dates.
Saturday (Aug. 25) the Heat will host the Trinity Western Spartans and on Sunday (Aug. 26) the weekend will close with a match against the UFV Cascades. Both matches scheduled for 3 p.m. starts at the Nonis Turf Field on the UBC Okanagan campus.