Angels 10 Renegades 1
There was a time Wednesday when it appeared the Red Deer Renegades wouldn’t be able to field a team.
In fact they started the game with only eight players.
They did manage to finally fill out their lineup, but it didn’t help on the field as they dropped a 10-1 decision to the Edmonton Angels, the No. 2 ranked team in the Alberta Women’s Major Soccer League.
“It’s tough (to be that short), but I was impressed at how well we did early,” said Renegades 16-year-old rookie outside midfielder Melissa McLellan. “We did a pretty good job of keeping possession.”
Still it was tough to compete against the Angels, who ran their record to 9-1-1 and have now outscored the opposition 32-10.
“It was a long 90 minutes,” added McLellan, who played U16 last season. “They had subs the whole game and were pretty fast.”
McLellan is one of the few younger players to play full time with the Renegades this season and she finds it a challenge to get used to the league.
“It’s a lot different than the youth leagues as the intensity is a lot higher as is the speed of the game,” she said.
Veteran Allison Walsh stresses the team needs more players like McLellan.
“Our issue has been for several years that we’re not getting the players out. The older players are getting jobs, boyfriends and husbands and it’s tougher to commit. We need the younger girls out.
“But there comes the big issue in that the city has two minor soccer organizations in the Renegades and United and there’s a political explosion,” said Walsh.
“The parents are butting heads, which isn’t fair to the girls. When parents are being children it makes it hard for teams in the higher leagues. We need the girls from both programs to come and work together and not worry about where they played.”
Walsh, who plays a number of positions, has been with the program for close to six years and knows it’s tough to stay with teams like the Angels, when they can’t get a full roster out to practice.
“We don’t get the numbers and so we can’t work on a lot of what we should be working on,” she said. “As well we seem to constantly have different players out for games, which means we don’t know each other and the communication isn’t there. Teams like the Angels have been together for years and they know exactly where they want the ball and where they’ll be on each play.
“For us we’re scrambling just to field a team. Tonight a couple of the players from the (Red Deer) women’s league were gracious enough to come out and help.”
But despite the 0-11 season, McLellan is willing to keep working.
“You just have to forget about it and move on . . . go to practice and work to improve your skills, so this won’t keep happening,” she stressed.
Walsh agrees, but added as the years go by it does get tougher to keep mentally sharp.
“It’s tough at times when you put all the time in and don’t see the results. Still I love the sport and we do have a good core of girls who keep pushing. We just need a little more support.”
l Captain Amber Regnier scored the Red Deer goal in the 76th minute, which made the score 7-1 at the time . . . The Renegades have three games remaining as they visit the Calgary Jaguars Aug. 14, Lethbridge Aug. 15 and host the Edmonton Northwest United Aug. 18.