Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

2022 Men's Soccer Season Preview

2022 Men's Soccer Season Preview

By Jake Webb 

After a challenging COVID season and finishing the 2021 season three points shy of the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) championship, the men’s soccer team is eager to return to the pitch and attack the opposition. 

Even though the team played some incredible games last year, they were unable to recover from a slow start and had some tough matchups against teams like STFX and Cape Breton to finish the 2021-22 regular season. But, with some critical new additions and some intense training, the team is ready to rectify their past mistakes and go all the way. 

Head coach Alan Jazic takes accountability for the slow start last season, but is confident that with the regiment and chemistry that this year’s squad has, they will be a dominant force on the pitch in his third season as head coach. 

“This off-season recruiting was obviously a big part. We addressed a need to add attack-minded players to our roster to help score some much-needed goals,” says Jazic. “Our training camp was very challenging, but I already see strong relationships and bonds being formed. The team is coming together very nicely.” 

Jazic is prioritizing keeping the players fit and healthy, working with the strength and conditioning coach Brett Armstrong to make sure everyone is in top form. He believes that is the key to developing his team. 

“With 18 of my 27 players in their first or second years of eligibility, one year of development and growth makes a big difference,” says Jazic. “It’s an exciting time for our program.” 

The Tigers lost a number of players to graduation last year including veterans Enrico Rodgriguez, Will Warren, and Emilio Roche. Rodriguez played 40 games in his Dalhousie career, starting in 33 of them. The influence that he and these other players had will be sorely missed, but the new players are showing immense potential on the pitch. 

Jazic believes that striker Luke Berryman and keeper Aiden Rushenas will be the ones to watch this season. 

“Obviously with the season Aiden Rushenas and Luke Berryman had last season, I’m excited to see what they do this year,” says Jazic. “To perform the way they did last season as rookies was very impressive!” 

The now second-year players both received AUS second team all-star honours last year with Berryman leading the Tigers attack with five goals, six points, and 13 shots on net. Rushenas had a 0.827 save percentage, starting in all 12 games he played. 

Another bright spot for the Tigers this year will be first-year striker Jared Ndopedro who recently helped Team New Brunswick to a fourth-place finish at the 2022 Canada Games in Niagara, Ont. 

“What’s special about Jared is that he always puts his teammates first and works extremely hard on both sides of the ball,” says Jazic. “He will bring a lot of energy to our team, that’s for sure! Defenders in this league certainly have a problem on their hands. 

The pre-season began on August 26 with a 2-1 loss to STFX but the team bounced back with a 2-1 win against Acadia. After back-to-back shutouts against St. Thomas and Saint Mary’s, the regular season begins on September 10 against Mount Allison at 7:15pm on Wickwire Field. 

Jazic trusts in his team’s work ethic and gameplay and is confident it is going to pay off on the pitch. 

“Training and competing at a high level each and every day will set us up for a successful season,” he says. 

After their opening game at home against Mount Allison, the team plays two away games facing the University of New Brunswick (UNB) on September 17 and 18, in what are sure to be exciting games. 

In October, the first half of the games are away, but the Tigers return to Halifax on the 16 to face the Moncton Aigles Bleus. The final two games of the season are home games, which will be good to combat the juggernauts that are STFX and Cape Breton. 

The Tigers are definitely facing some obstacles this season, but with Jazic’s focus on training and development, there is a great chance they make it back to the conference championship in November. 

Kickoff on Saturday versus Mount Allison at Wickwire Field goes at 7:15pm.