Pronghorns women’s soccer team returns to the pitch under new head coach

Click to play video: 'Pronghorns women’s soccer team kicks off camp under new head coach'
Pronghorns women’s soccer team kicks off camp under new head coach
WATCH ABOVE: After a lost year due to COVID-19, the Canada West season is just around the corner for student athletes at the University of Lethbridge. As Danica Ferris explains, soccer will kick off conference action, with the women’s team trying to find its identity under a new coach at training camp. – Aug 11, 2021

After meeting virtually for a number of months, the new head coach of the Pronghorns women’s soccer program says he had to do some learning on the fly when training camp began this week.

“For me to put names to faces, I’ll be honest with you, yesterday was a bit of a struggle after all that,” Macky Singh laughed.

Singh was hired by the University of Lethbridge in March, replacing longtime Pronghorns coaches Ilsa Wong and Jack Reddy, who were relieved of their duties last fall after a breach of COVID-19 sport cohort protocol.

The new bench boss said in a conference like Canada West, a change in leadership combined with a year off from competition could leave the ‘Horns surprising some familiar foes.

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“I’ve watched all the games from 2018 and 2019, and the coaches from the other teams are still the same, so I kind of have a fair idea of how the games are going to be,” he said.

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“(But) the coaches do not know how I coach, so we have a bit of an advantage on that side, and we’re going to use that to our advantage for sure.”

Singh inherits a young roster with a double dose of rookies as well as a mix of veteran players.

Drew Dortman had to wait an extra year for her rookie season after signing with the Pronghorns in Grade 12 in 2019. Dortman said prepping for normal competition with the group almost feels too good to be true.

“It’s really exciting to kind of look forward to having games to play,” Dortman said. “And travelling a little bit, which we totally missed out on last year.”

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For the older players on the roster, so far training camp has been all about learning to play within Singh’s system and shaking off some of the rust.

“Girls have definitely exceeded my expectations,” said Ellie Kabayama. “I thought we were going to come in and be super scrappy — touches all over the place — but it’s evident that girls worked hard over the summer.”

Kabayama said all of the players have been missing having competition in their lives over the last year and a half. Fellow veteran Peyton Hiebert said with girls itching to compete, it won’t be difficult to keep the hard work rolling.

“Just being able to prep for a season that I think we all really needed, it’s been definitely a challenging year, both motivationally and just mentally,” Hiebert said.

The Pronghorns will play a handful of exhibition games before kicking off the Canada West season at Mount Royal University on Sept. 11.

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