By: Steven Smeall

Algonquin’s men’s soccer team, led by head coach Jimmy Zito, hope to improve on last season. They were knocked out of the provincials in the quarterfinals.

Following an Ontario Colleges Athletic Association quarter final exit last season, the men’s varsity soccer team will be looking to improve for next season.

Despite the early exit at provincials, the Thunder had a regular season record of 5-0-3, placing them in first place among the eastern conference.

The Thunder were also crowned the best defensive team in the east conference due to having the fewest goals against in last season.

Head coach Jimmy Zito will be returning to the team and understands that they always needs to aim for success.

“Our ultimate goal every year is to win the province and go on to win the national championship,” said Zito.

Along with the team’s success, three individual awards were given to the Thunder. The Thunder’s goaltender, Marco Brundia, was awarded with the East Division Top Goaltender award. Brundia and one of his teammates, Isaac Johnson, were named OCAA All-Stars.

The Thunder has always been a strong team. In the past six seasons, only once has Algonquin finished the season with more than one loss. The team also managed to be first in the east conference apart from one season in the past six years.

“The whole goal of the program is to win everything and that’s a very high standard we set for ourselves,” said Zito.

In the 2009-2010 season, the Thunder were able to go all the way to a OCAA gold medal victory.

“There’s a big target on our back because we have done so well in the past, and we have to rise up to the challenges every time we play,” said Zito.

“It’s nice to have undefeated seasons, but by no means is that the goal. I’ll definitely take a two loss season and a provincial championship and possibly a berth at nationals to win everything.”

The season will start near the end August, and will go into the middle of October, giving next year’s students plenty of opportunity to get out and enjoy the games.

Students looking to get a spot on the team will have their chance to try out.

“Open tryouts begin towards the middle of August. Last year we did two days, fitness in the mornings and having our training slot at night time,” said Zito.

Not even the players from last year’s team are guaranteed a position on the team.

“The best man is going to get the job. That’s always how it has worked here – it’s a very competitive environment,” said Zito.

Based on the past seasons for the Thunder men’s soccer team, the pressure will be on to perform to the same standard for the upcoming year.