For the first time in program history, the SRU men’s soccer team will be playing a game out of the country. On Sept. 15 The Rock will travel to Burnaby, British Columbia Canada to play the no. two ranked Simon Frasier University Clan.
Burnaby is about 15 minutes outside of Vancouver, Canada’s third largest city, and is over 2,000 miles away from Slippery Rock, making it the farthest the Green and White will travel for a road game this year by over seven times.
Rock head coach Steve Small said that the opportunity, to play a high-caliber team, was very appealing for him.
“It’s just going to be a great experience and something we don’t do all the time and we’re looking forward to it,” Small said.
Small said that both teams were just looking for a non-conference game to play that weekend and it just so happened to work out both in terms of the scheduling and financially. SRU Athletic Director Paul Lueken said that he thought this would be a good opportunity for the players to experience something new.
“Anytime you can go some place different and experience something new I think that’s good,” Lueken said.
Small emphasized however that this is not going to be just a sightseeing trip for the team. Despite going up against one of the best teams in the nation they are going up there expecting to win.
“We’re not going in there just to show up, we’re going in there to make some noise and hopefully walk out of there with a W,” Small said. “We want to be one of the best teams, not only in the PSAC, but in the region and in the country. You’ve got to play against the big boys to see where you stand and win or lose we’re going to see where we’re at.”
Senior defender Patrick Sullivan echoed Small’s sentiment, saying even if the team loses there will be things to takeaway.
“This is a good game to really see where we’re at, not just for the PSAC, for the whole NCAA,” Sullivan said. “It’s always good to go against the best because even if we go out there and lose 3-0 there’s still going to be positives to takeaway.”
Small said that he thinks it will be fun going into Simon Frasier’s house and trying to upset one of the nation’s top-ranked teams.
“It’s a bit of fun because you’re the enemy coming in,” Small said. “It’s always a bit of fun to go into enemy territory like we would go on the road for a PSAC game. It’s a hostile environment but I think the guys are ready for it.”