As this province and the rest of Canada continues to embrace soccer and its development, the MCAC is ready to embrace a big addition to its soccer competition this athletic year: the Red River Rebels.
Certainly the biggest addition to the MCAC in 2011-12, Red River College enters the fray of both men’s and women’s soccer, which makes for five teams in the men’s draw and four in women’s.
Ryan Ratushniak, the athletic director for Red River College, couldn’t be more excited to join this year’s exciting soccer season.
“If it were up to me, we would’ve been here four years ago,” says Ratushniak. “We could only go as far as our funding would take us though so getting that approval is great.”
Bringing together two soccer teams in a short timespan has been a challenge for the college, but in the last few months two ambitious coaches in Doug Lawrie and Paul Thompson have put together rosters that are ready to go. Lawrie will coach the women, Thompson the men.
“I don’t have any competitive expectations for this year,” says Ratushniak. “A lot of people point to our student numbers and say that based on that we have a lot of athletes to draw from.”
“That’s not necessarily true. We still have to recruit and find the right players. Our soccer program might be good off the bat, but it will certainly improve as we go toward the future.”
Also helping Red River’s efforts in beginning a soccer program are the excellent fields located at the Notre Dame Campus. Athletic personnel at the college are very complementary of the facilities and the MCAC will spotlight them with the soccer Final 4 on October 22nd and 23rd, which have both men and women competing at the Notre Dame Campus.
Stephanie Forsyth, president of Red River College, hopes to make soccer facilities a focus of funding in the years ahead, adding artificial turf and lights to the existing soccer fields as well as a plan to build a soccer complex similar to the ones found at the University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba.
“The new complex would definitely be a huge boost for the community of Winnipeg and Manitoba. A lot of the programming that happens in our facilities are community driven and I think it would be great for Red River to get more facilities like the ones we have,” says Ratushniak.
Red River College opens their soccer season on Sunday, September 11th, as they host Providence University College at their Notre Dame fields. The women kick off at 2 p.m. and the men at 4 p.m.
MCAC fans can vote on their September soccer Match-up of the Month right here on MCACathletics.ca. The winning match-up will be featured with video highlights and post-game radio coverage. Voting is open until September 9th.
You can listen to the full interview with Ryan Ratushniak on Wednesday, Sept. 12 on VarCity Sports. VCS airs Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4:30 p.m. on 92.9 KICK-FM.