The Assiniboine Community College’s futsal program got its man.
Longtime futsal player and coach Diego Rodriguez committed to leading the Cougars in the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference.
Rodriguez spent time as the assistant coach of the Cougars’ cross-town rivals, Brandon University, and helped guide the Bobcats to the final last season.
“I’m very excited to lead the Cougars and help create a winning culture at Assiniboine,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez, who is originally from Colombia, has a wealth of experience in futsal and soccer. He’s helped guide several teams to championships in the province leaning on his time playing as a professional in Colombia in the early 1990s.
“I want to take it step by step to build a lasting program, but at the same time I don’t want to wait too long to be playing for championships,” Rodriquez said. “We’re going to show that Assiniboine can do big things.”
Assiniboine Athletic Director Beth Clark said landing Rodriquez is a boon for the program.
“We’re thrilled to land someone with Diego’s character and resume to coach our futsal and soccer teams,” Clark said. “Obviously he’s achieved a high level of success on the field both in his career as a player and a coach, but we believe his connections in the Westman soccer community will be a huge asset to both programs.”
Rodriguez will be joined in the coaching ranks by Vitaliy Bernatskyy, who played alongside Rodriquez on a travelling senior team from Brandon that captured a silver medal at the Winkler Fall Invitational.
“I hope to help the program any way possible,” said Bernatskyy, who is originally from Ukraine. “And our goal is to win.”
Rodriguez and Bernatskyy expect to bring an aggressive style of play to the Cougars this season, which kicks off with Assiniboine hosting the Brandon University Bobcats on Jan. 11.