The Manitoba Major Soccer League division playoffs start next week, and after a successful season, Niverville Force SC coach says they are really proud of how far they’ve come.
Andry Giesbrecht says, though they did not end up in first place in Division 2, they have been promoted to Division 1.
“We started the season with three losses in a row, and to come back from that, we won 10, tied two and lost only one after those three games, so we really picked it up after that and it was a successful year, that's for sure.”
Giesbrecht says, they stuck to the same principles, “The guys really just believed in what we were doing, and we scored a lot more goals than last year, so I think that that kind of helped the comeback, for sure.”
He says, moving into the first division is a huge honour, and it's very exciting, but his eyes are on the highest division in the MMSL, the Premier Division.
“The Premier, has ten teams which are the top ten teams in Manitoba and we're going to be right underneath that now. So, you know, basically we're going to be in the top 20 teams in Manitoba. Competing in the first division has some really good teams. It's going to be a whole different challenge, a lot of better players, better teams, and more serious teams. But every year we've gotten better and better, and we challenge ourselves and see where we can take it from here.”
Giesbrecht says they hope to keep as many current core team as possible,
“We want to build around that. We're not going to change the whole team just because we moved up. We've built a good culture. So we're looking for, you know, maybe if a handful of guys to come join and add to that, but the majority of them are going to stay.”
With their eyes focused on Division One, Giesbrecht says he hopes to continue to improve on what they’ve already started. He’s happy with the commitment from each of the players and staff. To stay in top condition, their team will once again be part of the Indoor Soccer League in Winnipeg this winter.
"This year we're going to be playing in the First Division in indoor soccer, so that's going to hopefully help prepare us for that level, that pace of play and see who's going to be able to rise their game, and who's going to be able to stay on for the summer. And then as soon as springtime comes around, we're going to increase practice times because we want to be ready and prepared.”
For now, Giesbrecht says they are preparing for the division finals.
“We're waiting to find out who our opponents will be. So, it's either going to be BoniVital, who finished third, or Colo Colo, who finished 6th, and we're going to be playing the winner of that game on Monday, October 2 in Winnipeg. And should we win that game, then the finals are going to be on Friday, October 6, either against Winnipeg SC or the winner of, Galacticos and Ukraine.”
He notes they are really excited, and “We hope for a good game, and you know, the playoffs are always challenging as the season winds down, and we'll see what happens.”
Giesbrecht says, that though the playoffs don’t really have a lot of impact on the next season,
“Of course, we want to win every game we play. We want to win the playoffs and prove that we are the best team this year, even though we finished second. And we hope to just, you know, make a point and hopefully we can do that.”
He takes a moment to thank the sponsors of the 2023 season, as well as their fan base.
“It really meant a lot, to have the fans come out for a small town, we thank them. It's been a privilege to compete against all the really good organizations that we’ve played against this year.”
“I also want to thank the players for their commitment, and then the staff as well, for helping get this great club going and keep it running smoothly. And we just want to make everybody proud, and we hope we can do that in the first division as well.”
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