The Red Deer Renegades hung with the defending provincial champion Edmonton Northwest United for a half on Saturday, but ran out of gas down the stretch in a 5-1 loss at Edgar Field.
Edmonton held a 2-0 advantage after 45 minutes of Alberta Major Soccer League play and from there, Renegades assistant coach Ado Sarcevic said depth and inexperience hurt his squad.
“Definitely lots of potential. Our youth is pretty good, we just don’t have enough experience. We managed to score, came down to 2-1,” Sarcevic said. “Then unfortunately couldn’t keep up. We showed some good qualities and keep working and hoping it will come.”
Saturday was just the second game of the season for the Renegades, with their first game a 1-0 loss to Calgary Foothills WFC. Sarcevic said his team needs to keep improving and get quicker if they hope to compete as the season goes on.
“It’s good for the players to see how that team plays. The main thing in all this is quickness of play,” he said. “That’s what our girls are lacking at this moment. We do have technique, we do have skilled players.”
It’s a particularly young team for the Renegades this season, with five players who are between 16 and 17. That’s where the veteran leadership of captain Amber Reigner comes in. Reigner has played 12 seasons in the AMSL and also mixed in a few years at Grande Prairie Regional College as well as RDC. She hopes that will help the young squad this season.
“We have a lot of new players who have never played AMSL before. There’s a few of us that have been here for a long time,” she said.
“For the other girls, it’s nice to have those early games to have that perspective, this is the goal and this is where we need to be at the end of the year so we have something to push towards.”
The push will come in the final weeks of the season, where the Renegades will likely be challenged, with the potential to be relegated.
“We are going to be challenged this year. So if you finish last in the north then we’ll have to play a challenge game,” Reigner explained. “If we lose that we’ll be relegated so we won’t have this team any more. Ultimately, we can take some points off some Calgary teams, which would be great. If we can finish top six it would be great.”
The next home game for the Renegades will be June 10 when they host Lethbridge FC at 2 p.m.