The ACAC Championships are here this weekend and trusty writer Curtis J. Phillips was able to speak with Matt McNaughton of Ambrose College.
Courtesy of ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
Lloydminster, Alberta - Of the current five teams participating in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s and women’s futsal conference, in its fifth year of ACAC sanctioned play, Ambrose Lions’ Matt McNaughton believes it would be a perfect fit for all 17 ACAC schools and that “it is exciting for kids that are 18 to men that are 25…a chance for each to share in the sport.”
Student/athletes age 25?
That happens to be the age of McNaughton who along with Lions teammates kickoff at the 2014-2015 ACAC Men’s and Women’s Futsal Provincials in Lloydminster, Alberta and hosted by the Lakeland College Rustlers March 6-8, 2015 with Ambrose, Lakeland, Medicine Hat Rattlers and two-time defending champ Keyano Huskies in men’s competition and defending champion Rattlers, Lions, Rustlers and Huskies on the women’s challenge.
Olds College Broncos were the only college not to qualify after the two regular season tournaments.
McNaughton, who played a few years of Canadian Interuniversity Sport outdoor soccer with the University of Victoria Vikings, originally entered the trades career, “Where you may make a lot of money” out of high school before playing for the Vikes.
He was once again lured back to the world or working for a living before enrolling at Ambrose last year as a student/athlete (Business Administration).
Last year he assisted his team to a fourth place at ACAC futsal provincials and a gold at Alberta Colleges Athletic League futsal provincials were he guestimates that he “played between 24 to 26 futsal games,” while incurring a few injuries along the way including a minor tear in his knee’s medial collateral ligament.
For this weekend’s event though, he said he is,’ Healthy, happy and able” and that his team has “adopted a defence system that is a diamond formation that is verity impregnable.”
On the women’s side the Lions are ready to roar, coming into the championships with a regular season record of 6 wins and two defeats with 31 goals for and 19 goals against.
Captain Caitlyn Blain, now into her third year, has seen steady improvement in the Calgary based squad,
“Over the last three years our chemistry has improved from getting to know each other as most of us had not played indoor soccer (futsal) and we had to become familiar with it,” said Blain. “We have adapted and changed our strategy and are now a lot more confident.”
Becoming familiar was something Blain also had to do moving back from her usual defensive spot to goalie with an injury to the starting goal keeper prior to the start of the futsal season.
“In one of our exhibition games our goalie broke her leg so at the end of November I started training extensively with our goalies. I had been a backup goalie our first year so I kind of volunteered for it because I had the most experience. I was pretty keen going for it and getting in right away.
“I think I would rather play out (defence) but I want the team to win and I would do whatever and play where ever to make sure that happens.”
Of her team’s chances of winning gold this weekend: “We are trying to execute this weekend and bring back the banner to Ambrose.”