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Wolves Soccer The Best is Yet to Come

by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips

09/18/2013...Grande Prairie, Alberta - With a record of three wins and one tie for 10 points, with six games remaining in the regular season, the Grande Prairie Wolves men’s soccer team have already surpassed the team records of six of their previous nine campaigns in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.

In reality, it should be seven seasons as in 2006 the Wolves won three games by forfeit.

From those humble beginnings the Wolves have, with patience, climbed the ladder to a recent national ranking of No. 3 in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association.

Someone who has been there from day one, is former player and current head coach Chris Spaidal (left), who for the first two years of Wolves soccer, starting in 2004, was assistant coach for the women’s program before trading in the whistle to wear the sweater of the men’s team from 2006-2007 only to return to the coaching ranks in 2008.

“We had a lot of lean years to begin with,” said Spaidal of the fact that it took, aside from forfeits, four years and 33 games to record their first victory, a 2-1 decision against Kings Eagles Sept 29, 2007. “It has taken a lot of effort from a number of individuals over the years. It has been a long patient process.

“I remember when I played, to be honest, we were terrible. I remember a lot of long trips and lean games where we had some questions as players.

“But we had constant support from up above (administrators) and for myself. You had to keep the belief that this was the right thing and we had to have the players and everyone else buy into the program and believe that this was the right thing and not give up or lose hope.

“If they do not buy into the culture things will not change. Now we have raised the level for the student/athletes coming in to be part of that,” said Spaidal, who has coached the men’s program for six years and gone double-duty coaching the Wolves women's program, currently ranked No. 5 in the CCAA, for the last four seasons.

“Success breeds success but right now I am not too sure if they are playing to their full potential yet. We have to look to the next game in front of us each time. The rankings are nice to see but we do not want to get too far ahead of ourselves.”

With a new soccer pitch - Pomeroy Field – gone are the days when only “girlfriends, close friends and family members," were the only fans in attendance as according to Spaidal more than 400 fans took in a recent home game.

Once again reminded of the early years of the Wolves and present-day success, Spaidal concluded,  “It’s being turbulent…I am not going to lie. A lot of hours and work not only by myself but from others. The best is yet to come.”

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