Red Deer Renegades head coach Ado Sarcevic has a good feeling about the Alberta Women’s Major League season.
Not that he expects to dominate the league, but with a veteran lineup and the addition of several new faces, he believes the team will take a step in the right direction.
“I’m happy with what I see,” he said. “I’ve been with the team for two or three years and overall we’re better than we have been. We have more depth, where we can play without one of our starters and not suffer.”
Last season Paula Dadensky was one of the few strikers who consistently contributed on offence. This year with the addition of Sydney Daines from the Renegades U18 team, Sarcevic believes they’ve strengthened their attack significantly.
“We have more offensive players, which will make a difference. We won’t have to rely on just one or two players to do all the scoring.”
He also feels the team will be deep in the middle and on defence, led by Amber Regnier and Adi Moyer, both RDC players.
Regnier, who was an Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference all-star last season, returns to the team after missing a year.
“She certainly adds depth to the defence,” said Sarcevic.
Dadensky was also an ACAC all-star last season up front as was Kayla Keenan in the midfield. Both played with the RDC Queens, who finished third in the ACAC.
“We have a strong nucleus of players from the college and we’ve come to an agreement with RDC to support each other,” added Sarcevic. “It’s a perfect situation for us. We’re part of the Renegades program and we want the U18 players to move up to us and also to RDC.
“Hopefully this will bring us more success, but like everything it’s one step at a time.”
Overall the Renegades, who were called Red Deer City Football Club last year, have 12 present and former RDC players, including keeper Lauren Good, who is now with the University of Calgary Dinos.
Claire Wallace, Shannon Middlemiss, Tara Berger, Terra Salmon, Teagan Donald, Cori van der Voort and Kristi Lem are also from RDC.
Sarcevic has five players from the U18 program, including Daines. Others are Kaitlin D’Arcy, Laryssa Ubels, Kayla Blacquiere and Natassia Wright. Jenni Annicchiarco and Vanessa Nelson played with the senior women’s program in Red Deer.
Sarcevic, who works with Red Deer City Soccer, likes the fact the MLS team is with the Renegades.
“I believe it’s an advantage to be part of the Renegades,” he said. “It allows the players to relax a bit and just concentrate on practices and games. We have great sponsors and we’re looking for individuals to look after off-field things the players used to have to worry about.”
The club will be selling season passes and will have a special “party” on June 1. The Renegades open their season Saturday in Edmonton against Victoria. They were originally to open at home June1 against Edmonton Northwest United. However, that game has been moved to June 12 while the Renegades open at home June 8 against Lethbridge. All their games are at Great Chief Park.
Sarcevic would have liked a little easier team to face in their opener, considering Victoria are one of the best programs in the country.
“We’re also going to be missing five players, so we have to call up some U18 kids to fill out the roster, but it’s the way it is. Maybe they’ll take us for granted.”
The Renegades did play exhibition games against the Renegades U18 girls and U16 boys.
“We got a chance to work on some things, such as our possession game,” said Sarcevic. “We want to control the ball more rather than kicking it long and chasing after it. We did a good job of that in those two games and we scored as well.”
Paul Morigerau and Carla Giannioudis are assistant coaches and Sanela Sarcevic manager.