The last three years have been tough on the RDC Kings soccer team.
The team has only one tie in their last 30 Alberta Colleges Men’s Soccer League regular season games, and that came in the 2006 season.
But Kings head coach Steve Fullarton believes he can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Fullarton spent every extra minute he had since the end of last season — his first as head coach — rebuilding the program.
“It took some time to get my foot in the door, but I believe we’re putting things into place and I feel good about the season,” he said. “I believe we have some quality players. No disrespect to last year’s guys, but we have a number of guys who have major league experience and can play at the ACAC level. Hopefully we can see the results on the field.”
Fullarton has only four players returning from last year in midfielders Connor Keddey and Tanner Newfield, defender Cory Schlosser and forward Jason Stangler.
Three former members of the Kings — Scott MacLeod, Craig Fullarton and Chris Davies — are also back. MacLeod will play on defence while Fullarton works on defence and in the middle and Davies can be used up front or in the midfield.
“It’s not a lot of experience, but a good base,” said Steve Fullarton. “The guys also give us a physical presence.”
Fullarton has 11 new faces on the roster, including talented striker Keegan Sheehan, who has major league experience, and keeper Brad Hughes, who helped Alberta win silver at the Canada Summer Games.
“Keegan will certainly add to our offence and his quickness is an asset,” said Fullarton. “As for Brad he gives us one of the top young keepers in the province and is a perfect replacement for Bryan (Klaus).”
Rob Swainson will backup Hughes.
One of the other impressive newcomers is left side midfielder Tor Seitinger of Edmonton, who had professional tryouts in Austria and England.
Defender Garrett Gramlich and forward Josh McIntyre are from Red Deer while left side Greg Reddekopp comes from Sylvan Lake and twins Curtis and Phil Playfair, both of whom play midfield, are from Olds. Other new faces are defender Louis Porterfield of Salmon Arm, B.C., and defender Preston Roberts of Saskatoon.
“I like what I see from our new guys,” said Fullarton. “We do have more new faces than veterans, but the guys coming in have experience at a high level and most of them played at least at the provincial level.”
The Kings open their ACAC schedule Sunday at 2 p.m. at RDC against the Medicine Hat Rattlers.
The Kings will go into the season following a solid preseason that saw them beat the MacEwan Griffins 2-1 and lose 3-0 and 6-2 to the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.
“It was good experience for us and we proved we’ll have more offence than last year,” said Fullarton.
• Doug Holloway will return as assistant coach.