For the second time in their history, the SAIT Trojans are hosting the men’s national soccer championship.
The last time the school hosted, in 1989, they finished sixth and have high hopes of doing better in 2021.
As for would-be Cinderellas to keep an eye out for this time around, one candidate might be the George Brown Huskies, which is making its first appearance in the championship.
The team finished its season in Ontario with a thoroughly mediocre record, but in the Ontario playoffs, it upset two of the top 10 teams in the country, Fanshaw and Seneca. They eventually lost to Humber College in the final, but gained a spot in the national championships as a wildcard entry.
“It’s been a pretty surreal experience to be honest,” said Huskies captain Steve Knezevic.”I don’t think at the beginning of the year after the rocky start we had I don’t think anyone expected us to be here.”
“But you know,” he added, “things kind of came together at the right time throughout the year and just kind of went off that momentum we picked up at the beginning of the playoffs, and here we are, just kind of going with the flow.”
George Brown Huskies captain Steve Knezevic on October 9, 2021
Those sentiments were echoed by assistant coach Richard Kirwan, who said the Huskies needed to keep cool about playing in a national championship.
“In the end, it’s just a soccer field with lines,” Kirwan said. “They’ve done this before… so that’s really what we’re trying to emphasize, is (the idea that) you guys have worked so hard to get here, so let’s just make sure we show up on the day and give our best efforts and after that we’ll see what happens.”
That said, the team knows it’s a huge underdog at the nationals – and say that they’re OK with that.
“We’ve embraced the underdog role 100 per cent,” said Knezevic. “But at the end of the day, we made it here, so we’re here to win. We’re not here just to have a good time. We’re here to win a medal, right, so that’s kind of the expectation.”
“Hopefully the underdog is biting on some gold medals at the end,” added Kirwan.
SAIT opens the championships Wednesday at 3 p.m. when they take on St. Thomas. George Brown’s first game is against the Douglas Royals.
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