When the UBCO Heat beat two undefeated teams to start the men’s soccer season, it was a progressive sign for the club.
Heat coach Dante Zanatta said that the maturity that this year’s team has shown throughout the first few weeks has been a big part of their success, registering a 4-1-1 record to start the season.
Last weekend, the Heat played to a 1-1 draw against UFV Cascades and shut out Trinity Western Spartans 1-0.
“Numerous things have contributed to the early success,” said Zanatta.
“The veterans have come back in better shape and the rookies (look good). We have a deep group this year, there’s competition each day for positions but it’s important for the players to not get ahead of themselves.”
“All the good work we’ve done won’t mean anything if we don’t (continue it).”
One of their biggest wins of the year came on Sept. 1 against the No. 5 ranked UBC Thunderbirds, a 2-0 victory.
The Heat stuck to their game-plan against the T-Birds, which is something Zanatta is stressing that needs to be consistent in every future game.
“We’ll have to stick to our principles to develop the players so they make better decisions and be confident. It’s up to the (leaders) to keep everyone on track on game-day,” said Zanatta.
“UBC is a good team and you have to respect the opposition and we knew we couldn’t let them stretch the field.”
“We defended well that game, were well organized and countered. That day, it worked perfectly.”
The Heat played their first four games of the season before university classes had even started.
Now that classes are back in session and the Heat players have to balance their soccer and classroom schedules throughout the season, Zanatta has used every training opportunity to make sure the team remains on the same page in preparing and playing each game.
“We’ve shown that we can score and if we can finish, (we can win). We’re significantly better with our finishing this year. Players have a better understanding of the formation and our play is allowing players to get in better position to score.”
The Heat return to their home pitch Friday against MacEwan University.
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