New blood key to women’s soccer

With nine players from last year not returning for the upcoming season, it would be no shock if Ammar Awad were worried. Factor in that two players may not even play a single game because of injury and you have the makings of a pretty miserable season.
But Awad, head coach of the Concordia Stingers women’s soccer team, believes that he has the players to not only make the QSSF playoffs, but to create a stir while there.
“My goal is to make the playoffs,” said Awad, entering his second full season as head coach. “After that, we’ll take it from there. Look at last year, when we took McGill to extra time (in the QSSF semi-final at Molson Stadium) before losing 1-0. We can surprise some teams.”
However, making the playoffs may be tough, as players not returning for another season include last year’s captain, midfielder Jo-Anne Belair, forwards Laura Lalonde, Karen Downing and Malika Oberoi, and goalkeeper Michelle Sutcliffe.
The biggest blow will be losing Belair, who will take her team-leading six goals along with her. Another huge loss will be losing Lalonde, who was third on the club with three goals. Those two alone made up almost 40 per cent of Concordia’s offence.
The bad news doesn’t end there for the Stingers, as midfielder/defender Geneva Geurin (two goals last season) and defender Caroline Oliver have succumbed to injury, and neither appears healthy enough to play at all this season. Geurin is nursing a hamstring injury, while Oliver has a bad ankle.
Awad will be counting heavily on forward and new captain Catherine De Abreu to lead the club. Her four goals were second on the team last season but the pressure will be on her to better that total.
The one fear Awad does have, like any coach, is injuries.
“We have more games this year (Universit


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