—By Dylan Matthias
The Tigers men’s soccer team has finally announced its recruiting class for thr 2010 season. It’s a defense-heavy group which will likely see more time in 2011 and 2012 than 2010, but head coach Pat Nearing has fulfilled his main recruiting goals: a left back and a striker.
Defenders Zach Bauld and Kieran Hooey should challenge for starting spots next year. Bauld played on the extremely successful Suburban FC Men’s NSSL team this summer, a team which only conceded 13 goals in league play. Hooey played for Glebe Collegiate Institute and is a left back, a position Dal sorely need depth in.
Nearing also added former Ottawa Fury U-17 player Tyler Lewars up front to help replace Michel Daoust. Lewars has 10 goals this year in the USL Super Y-League. Lewars’ brother Ryan plays at Cape Breton, meaning the weekend of September 18th should be a good game to watch at Wickwire.
Also added to the Tigers are Zack Fisher, JP Rodriques, and Brian Kironde.
The additions give the Tigers two big check marks on their two big needs: a left back and a striker. Jordan Mannix struggled at left-back last year, but an extra year of experience and pressure from Hooey for his spot should give the Tigers a competent left side.
Lewars and Afani will likely be the go-to tandem up front, unless Julian Perrotta returns to 2008 form. Afani has the ability to create space for his partner with his speed, a trait Daoust capitalized on last year. If Afani can find early chemistry with Lewars, there’s no reason Dal won’t be just as potent offensively this year as they were last year.
Most of Dal’s best players are returning and the Tigers will have no problem competing in every game.
Overall recruiting grade: A-. Nothing truly special, but nailed the team’s two biggest needs–all expectations are met, and the team has most of what it needs already.
–Dylan Matthias is the incoming sports editor at the Dalhousie Gazette. He runs Dal Soccer Live on the side to provide more in-depth coverage of AUS and ACAA soccer. He has been a Toronto FC fan since Danny Dichio scored the team’s first ever goal. It showed him the magic of soccer.