MCAC Men’s Soccer  – 2022 Season Preview

The Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) men’s soccer championship will see all five teams battle for the trophy and become the MCAC’s second representative at Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men’s Soccer Nationals hosted by Langara College from Nov. 9-12, 2022 in Langley, BC.

Embarking on another action packed season, the Brandon University (BU) Bobcats will seek to defend their MCAC championship won in 2021 and looks for a three-peat performance. The competition expects to be fierce from other men’s soccer teams on the pitch looking to hoist the conference title during the upcoming 2022 year.

Assiniboine Community College Cougars (ACC)

Head coach: Chris McLachlan, 2nd year as head coach

Keys for the team from head coach perspective: 

Key Additions: Theo Manias (Striker), Paulo Pinto (Midfield), Hesmeider Realas (Midfield), Roberto Alonzo (Defence), Christian Buck (Defence), Gerardo Alas Donado (Goaltender)

Key Returnee: Nick Eu (Midfield), Greg Eu (Defence/Midfield)

Key Losses: Jafet Sandoval (Midfield), Kevin Cruz (Midfield), David Castellanos (Defence)

Record and MCAC championship history: 

2021 MCAC regular season record and placing: 0-0-12; 5th place in regular season; did not qualify for MCAC playoffs

Last MCAC championship: none

Total MCAC championships: none

Season Preview with head coach comments: 

What games does the coach look forward to most. “First game (against BU); always excited to get back onto the field and see how we stack up against MCAC competition.”

  • What games does the coach feel will be a challenge and/or circled on the calendar.  “Oct 1-2 against Providence; first back-to-back, especially on our own field.”
  • What does the coach expect from the League this year (i.e. competition, teams to watch for, etc.).  “As always the level of competition will be high, and we are excited to see where our team fits into this mix. It will be interesting to see how Brandon University comes out after winning the league last year with some changes to their line-up.”
  • What are the challenges they expect with the season.  Trying to stay healthy is always a challenge (playing 12 games in a short time frame can be tough on the players).”
  • What are the team goals, expectations for the upcoming season /looking forward to.  “Getting into the playoffs.”
  • Please name a key performer for this upcoming year and why  “Paulo Pinto – very experienced high-level player from Brazil, hoping will help a young team, Gerardo Alas Donado – impressed by his athletic ability in net, and his vocal leadership from the back. He has produced many timely saves already in pre-season play.”
  • Who is your team captains this year  Theo Manias (Striker), Roberto Alonzo (Defence)
  • A comment/quote from team captain  “I will do my best to help the team this season to get us into a position to make the playoffs; I really want us to be successful this year, and I feel like we can do that.” – Theo Manias

“I think we have a good team to compete with this year. There is a lot of work still needed to be put in to accomplish our goal of winning the league, but with effort and focus it can be done.” – Roberto Alonzo

  • Final comment/quote from the head coach. We have been really excited with the new players we have been able to add to our roster in the off season. We have already seen a lot of progress in our pre-season, both on and off the field, and we are looking forward to seeing how we stack up to this year’s MCAC competition.”

Brandon University Bobcats (BU)

Head coach: Glen McNabb, 3rd year as head coach

Keys for the team from head coach perspective:

Key Additions: Victor Lamb (Midfield), Matheus Ruffini (Forward)

Key Returnee: Juan Camilo Rodriguez (Midfield)

Key Losses: Diego Rodriguez (Midfield)

Number of total team members to start the season: 20

Record and MCAC championship history: 

2021 MCAC regular season record and placing: 9-1-2; 2nd place in regular season; MCAC Champions (2-1 win over USB in semis; 4-0 win over CMU in Championship Final)

Last MCAC championship: 2021

Total MCAC championships: 2 (2021, 2019)

Season Preview: 

Coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history hasn’t stopped the Brandon Bobcats from preparing for another hard-fought campaign.

After earning the first league championship at home and booking the program’s first appearance at CCAA Nationals, the team will have a slightly younger line-up than year’s past, but if last year’s group of rookie and sophomore players have a repeat of last year the program should be in good hands.

Losing MCAC  All-Star goal keeper Ryder Anthony for the season due to injury means the team will have to play solid defensively to earn another league title and book a return trip to the national tournament.

This year’s player to watch is coming off an outstanding rookie season but is hungry to prove he is only just beginning. Juan Camilo Rodriguez led the league in scoring but was not named a league all-star following last year’s campaign. Seeing older brother Diego named league MVP and both lifting the league championship trophy together has the younger brother motivated to further his name this season.

The younger Rodriguez scored timely and critical goals last season and will be leaned on to shoulder even more of the load this season. His passion for the game, much like his older brother, is unmistakable. Camilo’s hungry to make his own name and when he sees the accomplishments of his brother, he doesn’t have to look far to find motivation to leave his own mark on the program.

Rodriguez and the Bobcats open the season at home on September 10 against St. Boniface

Canadian Mennonite University Blazers (CMU)

Head coach: Anderson Pereira, 4th year as head coach

Keys for the team from head coach perspective: 

Key Additions: Noah Schindel (Centre Back)

Key Returnee: Matheus Aquino (Winger) and Micheal Ladell (Midfielder)

Key Losses: Daniel McIntyre (Centre Back), Will Anderson ((Midfielder)

Number of total team members to start the season: 20

Record and MCAC championship history: 

2021 MCAC regular season record and placing: 4-1-7; 4th place in regular season; MCAC Finalists (1-0 win over PUC in semis; 4-0 loss to BU in Championship Final)

Last MCAC championship: 2018

Total MCAC championships: 1 (2018)

Season Preview with head coach comments: 

What games does the coach look forward to most. All of them will be important this season.”

  • What games does the coach feel will be a challenge and/or circled on the calendar.  Playoffs for sure.”

What does the coach expect from the League this year (i.e. competition, teams to watch for, etc.).  All the teams have been building and getting better each year so we expect a very high level and good competition.”

What are the challenges they expect with the season.  Season is short and with lots of games so making sure everyone stay healthy and ready to play so many games in two months is always challenging.”

  • What are the team goals, expectations for the upcoming season /looking forward to.  We are always looking first to make it to the playoffs and then preparing to fight for the title as usual.

Please name a key performer for this upcoming year and why  Matheus Aquino (Winger) had a very good first season for us but unfortunately he got hurt midway through the season last year, this year we hope he can stay healthy and show his full potential.”

  • Who is your team captains this year  We are still considering a few options.
  • Final comment/quote from the head coach. We have been really excited with the new players we have been able to add to We are looking forward to do our best for another season. Our team has been challenging for the championship every season and we want to make sure this season is no different. We are all focus and with the same goal in mind.

Providence University College Pilots (PUC)

Head coach: Mo Cato, 1st year as head coach

Keys for the team from head coach perspective: :

Key Additions: Alen Milas-Ibrahimovic (Forward), Tom Loewen (Forward), Wyatt Neufeld (Midfield )

Key Returnee: Giovanni Benitez (Forward), Garreth Rayner (Midfield), Sean Kirkpatrick (Defender)

Number of total team members to start the season: 19

Record and MCAC championship history: 

2021 MCAC regular season record and placing: 9-2-1; 1st place in regular season; MCAC semi-finalist (1-0 loss to CMU in semis)

Last MCAC championship: 2013

Total MCAC championships: 4 (2013, 2012, 2009, 2008)

Season Preview with head coach comments: 

  • What games does the coach look forward to most.  “I’m looking forward to playing every game. Every game is important. No one game has any more significance.”
  • What games does the coach feel will be a challenge and/or circled on the calendar.  “I anticipate every game to be a challenge and so I do not have any one game circled on my calendar.”
  • What does the coach expect from the League this year (i.e. competition, teams to watch for, etc.).  “Not sure. First year with the team.”
  • What are the challenges they expect with the season.  A tough schedule with challenging games. Playing a team 3 times in one season is not ideal. Conference should take another look at this.”
  • What are the team goals, expectations for the upcoming season /looking forward to.  “We expect to compete for a conference championship.”
  • Please name a key performer for this upcoming year and why  “Our two captains are returning players so I expect and demand a lot from them. Giovanni Benitez will play a key role in our forward line and is expected to be involved in most of our attacking plays. Sean Kirkpatrick will be the anchor on defence. I expect him to show a lot of leadership on and off the field.”
  • Who is your team captains this year  Giovanni Benitez (Forward), Sean Kirkpatrick (Defender)
  • A comment/quote from returning players  “The team this year is already showing signs of good things to come. Working hard and having a good mentality will help us reach our goals this year” Giovanni (Gio) Benitez
  • “I’m super excited for this year, the potential I see with this group is limitless. We have solid returners and solid freshmen. I will expect big things from us by the time the end of October comes around.” Sean Kirkpatrick
  • Final comment/quote from the head coach.  Our team is young comprised of more first year players than returning players. However, I believe we have the experience of our returning players and the talent of our new players to make a serious run for a conference championship.”

Université de Saint-Boniface Les Rouges (USB)

Head coach: Seifeddine Dhaoui

Keys for the team from head coach perspective: :

Key Additions: Mohamed Osnou Yobouet (Midfielder)

Key Returnee: Ibrahim Bezzahou (Striker)

Key Losses: Phil St Cyr (Midfielder), Mohamed Bezzahou (Striker)

Number of total team members to start the season: 22

Record and MCAC championship history: 

2021 MCAC regular season record and placing: 6-0-6; 3rd place in regular season; MCAC semi-finalist (2-1 loss to BU in semis)

Last MCAC championship: 2017

Total MCAC championships: 4 (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014)

Season Preview with head coach comments: 

  • What games does the coach look forward to most.  “Every game is important. But I am looking forward to play in the final this year.”
  • What games does the coach feel will be a challenge and/or circled on the calendar.  “The first game will be challenging as we play BU which is very good team but I am also missing key players for this game”
  • What does the coach expect from the League this year (i.e. competition, teams to watch for, etc.).  “Expect the league to play the semi-final and final in a turf field not in BU, because one it is on their favour, they know the field more than the rest of the teams and the field is super small, I am pretty sure, the field doesn’t respect the regular size for a soccer field.”
  • What are the challenges they expect with the season.  A tough schedule with challenging games.”
  • What are the team goals, expectations for the upcoming season /looking forward to.  “We expect to compete for a conference championship.”
  • Please name a key performer for this upcoming year and why “Ibrahim Bezzahou the captain of the team and very good player and leader in the team and Mohamed Osnou, our new recruitment which will add a lot of value to the team in the midfielder.”
  • Who is your team captains this year Ibrahim Bezzahou
  • Final comment/quote from the head coach.  “I am happy with the commitment and the attitude the players are having so far. They really want to go to national which will make my job easy because they have that hunger, I need them to have. Our team has a good mix of young players and veterans that will hopefully be competitive enough and get to the final and then it will always come up to which team wants it more. I am not sure how bad the other teams want it, but my team wants it really bad.”