The Trinity Western Spartans have talent, experience and an infusion of youth on their roster.
All that remains to be seen is if the team is willing to put in the work in order to be successful.
“I think the question will be are we willing to commit to hard work and willing to commit to discipline,” said Spartans women’s soccer coach Graham Roxburgh.
“Probably just putting our heads down and working really hard.”
The Spartans won back-to-back national championships in 2008 and 2009, but fell in the Canada West semifinals in 2010.
The bulk of the roster remains from that first championship squad meaning there is potential to return to nationals.
“But potential is only there if you work hard,” cautions Roxburgh.
“I can’t predict we will win anything, but we certainly have the ability to be competitive with everybody.”
Sarah-Kim Bergeron (forward) and Vanessa Kovacs (midfielder) highlight a strong freshman group.
Bergeron is very creative and will add to the team’s offence while Kovacs is very experienced, having played for both Canada’s U17 and U20 programs.
Four members of the Spartans — Daniela Gerig, Nikki Wright, Melissa Mobilio and Natalie Boyd — all gained valuable experience this summer when they played for Canada at the FISU Games in China.
Daniela Gerig and Alicia Tesan, who led the team with seven goals apiece, are both back.
Nikki Wright and Melissa Mobilio will also be counted on to lead the team offensively.
Another key returnee should be Alicia Tesan, who shared the team lead with Gerig with seven goals in 2010.
Trinity Western opens the season on Saturday (5 p.m.) at Spartan Field against archrival UBC. The Spartans are ranked fifth in Canada to start the season, one spot ahead of UBC.