St. Marys Juggernauts will see striker Kene Mills and defender Tyler Orchard retire from the team for the upcoming season and their replacements are a move “back to the past” with Derek Hartman, Angus Moylan and Mike Weersink making a return to the squad after a year away for various reasons.
Juggernauts will miss the physical presence of both players, who added much needed size to the team.
“Mills just opened up so much space for other players as no one person can handle him and teams just know they had to contain Kene, otherwise once he got going he was unstoppable,” commented coach Gord Moylan.
“Tyler offered us the much-needed speed and experience in stopping the opposition’s quick forwards, but he also had the endurance to ramble forward and get deep into the opposition end. His ability to play the whole game and not see a drop in foot speed is an asset that will be difficult to replace.”
The one new face is Stefan MacNeil, an experienced player who has relocated to St. Marys. Early indications, he will add invaluable leadership and improve the team skill level especially in being patient and has the added personal qualities to benefit the team mould.
The return of Hartman, Moylan and Weersink to the Western Ontario Soccer League (WOSL) First Division will offer Juggernauts a skill set that looks promising to elevate the team to the upper half of the division.
“It’s a very competitive league and in a lot of ways we are fortunate to have the players, and with this being our fourth season in the First Division ever year we see an improvement,” said coach John Flanagan.
“So with the plus and minus on players, we are not complacent and are happy with the squad. Spared some injury blows we had last season, we are more than capable of competing with the best in this league.”
This year’s squad
The squad of players confirmed so far, with still one or two tweaks still left, are: Sjoerd DeWitt, Evan Doupe, James Flanagan, Derek Hartman, Korey Graham, Andrew Gravett, Aaron Leyser, Mike Luna, Stefan MacNeil, Sim Manocha, Nick Martin, Angus Moylan, Evin Murray, Kevin Thompson, Stephen Treadway, Neil Van De Walle, Harm Vosters, Mike Weersink and goalie Aaron Wybrow.
Coach Moylan feels “this is the most solid team we have fielded. With keeper Aaron Wybrow returning for his second season, we expect to see our goals-against record improve and will be looking for the backline and midfield to be very strong in supporting him and also chip in the goals required at the other end.”
Goal scoring will be the team’s challenge again this year. With top striker Neil Van De Walle returning, the burden of goals will be through him, however, we will need to see an improved goals-to-game ratio from the team’s other strikers.
Otherwise the opposition will key on Van De Walle, knowing they will stifle our ability to find the back of the net.”
The Spartans, meanwhile, who will again play in the Fourth Division, have a few players who will get frequent playing action most notable is Dominic Pieroni who has grown in ability and Lucas Jeffrey and Jake Dickey.
Others will get their opportunity based on training with the Juggernauts.
“We just need to see the commitment to training with the main squad and use the playing time with the Juggernauts as the reward for the effort,” reported Spartans’ coach Stephen Treadway.
Juggernauts open the season at home this Friday, May 3 against London White Eagles at 8 p.m. Due to undue circumstances with the field and the weather, the WOSL game may be postponed and this decision will be made Friday.
To keep up-to-date if the game is rescheduled and for the team as a whole, just go to the website; www.WOSL.net and then schedules first and then St.Marys; then only the Juggernauts’ schedule will appear.