St. Thomas back in action for the first time in nearly 22 months but
drop their WOSL Premier men's season opener, 3-0, to Croatia
Monday, July 12th, 2021
ST. THOMAS - After almost two years of silence on the local pitch, the St. Thomas premier men returned to action.
The players happy to be back on the field, didn't get the result they desired, dropping their season opener in the Western Ontario Soccer League, 3-0 to London Croatia, Saturday, at Athletic Park.
"A good wake-up call to what a real game is like and what kind of fitness level you have to be at to compete in Premier," head coach Arjan Veldman, who takes over at the helm from long time coach David Day. "Everybody wanted to play well and everybody adjusted to all the new teammates. For this early we put a good performance out. It's a good start to improve on."
Hari Bajric with two strikes and Sergio Amigon scored for Croatia, with keeper Aaron Huizenga picking up the blank sheet.
"We have a lot of young guys. It's a bit of a transition year," said Veldman. "There's no relegation this year, so it's going to be trying out with different guys and where they fit. If they should be premier or first division and what position they should play. The goal is still to win as many games as possible, but more so get ready for next year when it counts more."
Usually St. Thomas has a team in both the Premier and First divisions. The uncertainty of a season even occurring until recently, shifted the focus to having one team at the elite level.
"A lot of excitement to play, but just tough because it went so quick from not being able to play anything. We had one practice and one exhibition and straight in to a real game," Veldman said. "A hard adjustment. Everybody was excited to play, but a wake-up call to how your conditioning goes out the window when you play zero soccer for so long."
The premier men have a 12 game schedule, with six home games at Athletic Park (Saturdays, 4:30 p.m.). The season ends the week of September 25th.
St. Thomas also has a Masters team, usually in the Middlesex League. For this year only, WOSL has created a division five for those interested masters teams.
In masters action Friday, St. Thomas opened their season edging PCL, 2-1, on two goals from Matt Aristone.
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