The 2016 Manitoba Summer Games take place in Steinbach this summer from August 7-13. Athletes and teams from across the province have been training extensively in preparation, some have been preparing since last summer, even practicing indoors through the winter. Leading up to the games CKDM will keep you in the know.
Today we look at boys soccer.
The Parkland Region boys soccer team is one of those groups which has been preparing for these games since the previous summer. The roster will be finalized on June 15th and the team has few practices left before deadline day. As a final test the team will play in a tournament in Selkirk on May 28th. After that head coach Owen Parsons of Swan Valley should have a good idea of which of the 21 boys on the tryout roster will earn one of the 16 available spots heading into the games in August.
"We told the players all along we're looking for the three A's," says Parsons. "Attitude, availability, and ability."
"Ability is obviously the best and most important one. But in my mind ability and availability are the big ones. If you're the best kid on the team but you never show up that's not good enough."
No official announcements have been made yet but Parsons says there are about 9 players who have definitively made the 16 man roster.
In terms of how the Parkland Region is expected to perform in the Games among the other 6 divisions, Parsons says they're competitive with and do well when playing neighbouring divisions, but can struggle with other divisions in the province they don't get to see as frequently.
"Our region is small, we're very competitive with the Norman Region and the Interlake Region, but the ones down South like the Westman and Eastman, they're pretty strong," admitted Parsons. "They've got really good programs down there and we'll give it our best shot. We'll struggle to beat any of those teams but I think we can compete with them."
In order to be more competitive with the stronger divisions Parsons says the Parkland region needs to do more playing, saying that there are a greater number of leagues and tournaments available to some of the other regions. Recently Soccer Manitoba began hosting regional festivals, it's an opportunity for smaller regions, such as the Parkland, to get some more playing experience against tougher opponents.
"It's hard for us to be in a league because of how far away we are and travel, but we can do tournaments," says Parsons. He added that the team played in one of these tournaments in Carman last fall. Of the three games they played, the Parkland had one victory.
They played in another of these regional tournaments in April, which was indoors. "We didn't win any, but we were competitive, we were right with the other teams. It's helping our team lots," explained Parsons.
CKDM will keep you up to date on all Parklands activity leading up to the Games.