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Saskatchewan Huskies men’s soccer looking for big things from their first years

The Saskatchewan Huskies men’s soccer team hosted the MacEwan Griffins on Sept. 28 in Canada West action. Tyler Schroeder / Global News

It was recently announced that Canada West Conference play would be cancelled this season, meaning many of the Saskatchewan Huskies teams are simply preparing for 2021.

“I think the guys have done really good; I commend them for what is not an easy window in their development in their careers,” Huskies men’s soccer head coach Bryce Chapman said. “But they have done quite well in coming to train on a daily basis and really buying into the longer-term vision, which is hard to sell on a 20-year-old sometimes.”

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This edition of the Huskies has nine first-year players on its roster, but one stands out from the rest. Goalkeeper Ole Heath is a recruit from a little farther north than most. He grew up in Whitehorse, Yukon, and is now the tallest member of the team at six foot seven inches.

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“I lived for the majority of my life in the Yukon, very isolated, in the middle of the country,” Heath said. “Not too much city life. But when I was about 13 years old I moved to Vancouver, and I did some soccer there. I contacted these coaches and I was really impressed with their dedication to the keepers, the two coaches. And just the head coach’s Bryce’s philosophy, it was very modern.”

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“He looks at you in the eye,” Huskies assistant coach Kent Kowalski said. “He acts professional and respectful, he’s taking absolutely everything in and tries to implement it. He is an excellent teammate. I think he enjoys working with the other goalkeepers we have. We are fortunate, he has a ton of potential and is a joy to work with.”

And a blessing in disguise may be the fact that the pressures that a first-year student athlete faces are less.

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“He has adapted well,” Chapman said. “I think this year is going to be a big benefit for him because there is no pressure for him to make the starting 11 or the travelling 18. He can just worry about developing as a goalkeeper with our staff and continue getting settled as a student.”