Wesmen take it to the next level

Soccer teams excited to be added to CIS for the upcoming season

The Wesmen men’s and women’s soccer teams were recently voted into the Canada West faction of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) league. Kelly Morton

After years of waiting to be admitted to the highest level of university soccer, the Wesmen men’s and women’s soccer teams were voted into the Canada West faction of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) league.

Doran Reid, athletic director of the university, said this is an opportunity for the Wesmen teams to prove themselves by competing with teams across Canada.

“This is the pinnacle, this is the highest level that a student athlete can compete at,” said Reid.

For the past two years, the Wesmen have played in the lower-level Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) league, but, according to Reid, they always intended to play at a higher level.

Competing at CIS level will offer players more performance visibility, as well as offer an opportunity for Winnipeg to make a name for itself.

“Part of the reason we’re doing this is for bringing notoriety and publicity to our campus and the inner city and the whole city of Winnipeg,” Reid said.

Last year, the Wesmen met with frustration when their bid to be included in the CIS was overturned by one vote.

“Speculation for me is it wasn’t good for those schools in terms of cost and scheduling, us moving in so quickly,” said Reid.

The vote to include the Wesmen in the CIS roster was to take place in May, but it was bumped up to February in a move that Reid views as a show of support for the Wesmen.

For us, it means working 10 times harder than we have been.

Serafina Trunzo, Wesmen women’s soccer

“They knew it was going to be favourable, everyone made the consensus that this was going to happen so let’s get it done in February,” he said.

Competing at a higher level is not without its expenses. The projected travel budget for the 2012 season has been increased from $5,000 to $40,000, Reid said.

“There’s absolutely more travel costs. Instead of going to Red River College, we’re going to Victoria, B.C.,” he said.

Travel costs will be covered by fundraising, sponsorships and the university, Reid noted. The amount the university will be contributing is not currently available, as it depends on the amount that can be secured from other sources, he said.

Serafina Trunzo, who plays on the women’s team, said performing at the CIS level will help her and other players’ chances of continuing their soccer careers.

According to Trunzo, the under-23 Canada coaching officials are more likely to choose players from the CIS level for their Olympic teams.

“For us, it means working 10 times harder than we have been. The university should feel proud to finally get more teams in CIS,” Trunzo said.

For the women’s team, fundraising has never been an issue, said Trunzo.

Tyson Farago, from the men’s soccer team, found out only last week the Wesmen had officially been accepted into the CIS.

“It’s certainly an achievement,” he said. “There’s a lot of difference between MCAC to CIS. I think the guys are really excited, really trying to work hard and upgrade their game and put more effort into it.”

Published in Volume 66, Number 20 of The Uniter (February 22, 2012)

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