By Logan Clow, Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune
Sunday, March 9, 2014 4:24:24 MDT PM
GPRC Wolves wing Tyler Noppibul makes a pass during a training session at the County of Grande Prairie Sportsplex on Wednesday February 26. Both the men’s and women’s teams have been training since January in advance of the 2014 season. Logan Clow/Daily Herald-Tribune
Soccer never stops for the GPRC Wolves men’s and women’s soccer teams.
The squads concluded their season in October but since early January, they have held winter training sessions to stay in shape for the college soccer season in August.
“It’s (winter training) something we just started this year, it’s a new facet of the GPRC soccer program. We wanted to do a continuation of our soccer program into the second semester and it seems like the best thing we could come up with,” said Chris Spaidal, coach for both teams.
“They look pretty sharp for the most part. It definitely was a sluggish start at the beginning January, but they’re definitely starting to gain their speed and their momentum back up again,” he said. “I think they’re buying into it quite a bit because it gives them a little bit more structure and keeps them more focused on tasks and reminds them that they are student athletes.”
He says sessions are similar to a regular practice day and at the conclusion of practice, they play an inter-squad game to try and stay in game shape.
Spaidal notes that certain plays and systems have been mimicked and replicated for the small practice space.
Four local girls - Kennedy Hall (Grande Prairie Composite High School, attacking midfielder), Mirelle Martens (St. Joe’s, midfield/right back), Jessica Winterford (St. Joe’s, midfield) and Taylor Watson (St. Joe’s, left back) – have committed to the GPRC Wolves women’s team for the 2014-2015 season and have been involved in the winter training.
“We found this year with our rookies, that no matter how many times you tell them, it’s a different level and you need to get ahead of the game as much as we could,” said Spaidal, noting they’ll be steps ahead of other league rookies because of the early training.
“All four look to have an immediate impact on the program, they’re all of quality backgrounds. I would be surprised if all four didn’t start in some sort of capacity at some time next year, even on day one. I think all of them would have been good enough to start this past season.”
Spaidal says Hall is one of the most technically-gifted rookies with a large offensive upside and is a fierce competitor.
On the men’s side, he says the squad has been a pleasant surprise.
Spaidal has recruited Sean Douglas (St. Joe’s, striker), David Rojas (attacking midfielder), Nathan Barendregt, (GP Comp, fullback/wing) and Manix Tshimanga (St. Joe’s, fullback), who have also been practicing with the Wolves.
“The incoming crop for the men is better than I thought it was going to be. They’re going to be very competitive next year right from day one,” noted Spaidal.
He says Douglas is the most skilled of the men’s recruits.
“He’s (Douglas) definitely an valued addition and he’s an uncanny ability to find space and get quality on the ball to put goals in for us. Goal scoring has been a little bit of a lack for us in the past couple years and we look to have Sean come in and remedy that,” noted Spaidal.
Local high school football fans will be familiar with Tshimanga, who was instrumental in helping lead the St. Joe’s Celtics to the 2013-2014 Mighty Peace Football League’s championship, the Peace Bowl.
“I thought there would be an awful steep learning curve for him to play soccer at this level, but he’s already shown, based on his athletic abilities and his ability to adapt to situations in the game, that he’s going to come in and really make an impact,” added Spaidal.
He says recruiting for both squads is far from over and is currently looking at several out-of-town players that he hopes to recruit within the next month.
However, he expects that the next stage in recruitment will be tough because of the MacEwan Griffins moving to CIS for the upcoming season in basketball, volleyball, soccer and cross-country. Spaidal expects the Griffins will intensify their recruitment and try and deepen their talent pool.
Both GPRC Wolves teams will train separately at the County Sportsplex until April.
Women’s Soccer Land 4 Local Star Recruits
GPRC Women’s Soccer is proud to announce the commitment of the following 4 local recruits for the upcoming 2014-15 season:
Kennedy Hall, attacking midfielder- “Kennedy is a tremendously talented player technically. She will step in from day one and provide an immediate boost offensively to our squad and looks to only improve with gained experience and confidence at the college level. Such a diverse offense weapon who can be effective in many ways”.
Mirelle Martens, midfield/right back- “Mirelle comes to our program as one of the most decorated current High School athletes in the area. She is such a talented all around, multi-sport athlete who is just a consummate teammate. We have been very pleased with what we have seen from her thus far in training”.
Jessica Winterford, midfield- “Jess has such an amazing work ethic and engine on her that you often don’t notice how much quality she possesses on the ball. She’s such a well-rounded player with very few weaknesses in her game. We won’t have any fears in utilizing her in pressure situations from day one and expect her to be a solid contributor to the squad immediately”.
Taylor Watson, left back- “Taylor is one of the more underrated players in terms of value when it comes to this group. Her natural speed and deceptive competitive streak allows her to be able to compete at the highest level without hesitation. Having Taylor come into the Program installs a tremendous amount of confidence in the coaches with regards to filling the needs a very important position on the field”.
*descriptions and quotes are provided by GPRC Women’s Soccer Head Coach Chris Spaidal.
Soccer never stops for Spaidal