On paper the RDC Queens can field a team that will be very competitive in the Alberta Colleges Women’s Soccer League.
“From one through 11 we’re very strong,” said head coach David McCarthy, who coached the Red Deer City in the Alberta Major Soccer League and is in his first season with the Queens.
“If we can stay healthy we’ll be very, very competitive.”
McCarthy has eight returnees from last season with nine new faces.
“One of our strengths is our flexibility,” McCarthy added. “It’s nice to be able to try new things and have the players work in different spots. That will enable us to make changes against whoever we’re playing.”
The Queens should be strong in goal with Lauren Good returning from an outstanding season and newcomer Jesse Stewart pushing her camp.
“Both keepers are battling for the No. 1 spot and I expect to use both fairly evenly,” said McCarthy. “Lauren has a lot of experience and had a good season last year while Jesse is from Red Deer but played both U18 and major league with Victoria in Edmonton. It’s fantastic to have two keepers of that calibre as they make each other that much better.”
Good played six games last season with a 3-1-1 record and a 0.66 goals-against-average.
One of the problems the Queens had last season was finding a quality striker, and scorer, behind Stephanie Tremblay, who had eight goals in 10 games.
Tremblay will return in the midfielder while Rachel Gaudry and Claire Wallace moving in from the major league squad up front.
“Rachel is in her third year at the college, but didn’t play before,” said McCarthy. “She has all the tools to be a top scorer in the league. She has size, solid technique and desire.”
Wallace was also one of the top scorers on Red Deer City.
Veteran Amber Regnier, who also played major league, is team captain and leader on defence.
“We’re very fortunate to have her,” added McCarthy. “She’s a real leader and is we have success defensively it will be because of her.”
“Defence wins championships. I believe we can score it will be matter of how well we defend.”
Returnee Allison Walsh is also on defence along with rookies Kristi Lem, Sarah Paschinski, Nikki McLeod and Melody McKay.
Brianne Boychuk, Sarah Fulmer, Kayla Keenan and Julie Miller-Farmer are back in the midfield and joined by newcomers Melissa Mclellan and Shannon Middlemiss.
Samantha Vockeroth, who played five years with the Queens and was one of the top defenders in the ACAC, and Dave Colley are assistant coaches.
Colley, a long time assistant coach with Jerry Gerling, was interm head coach last year.
“It’s a real bonus to have both of them,” said McCarthy. “Sam was with me during the summer and knows what I want and also knows the league and the players. Dave has a lot of experience at this level and the players know him.”
The Queens open play this weekend on the road — Saturday at 2 p.m. at Medicine Hat and Sunday at noon at Lethbridge.
“A tough start but also I don’t mind being on the road as it gives us a chance to bond as a team,” stressed McCarthy.