‘We can’t wait for Sunday to come’: Simcoe County Rovers FC takes field for inaugural season

'I think when they get there on-site, It'll be pretty entertaining, and really exciting for everyone'

Simcoe County Rovers FC men’s and women’s clubs will be kicking off their inaugural seasons this coming Sunday, and their respective coaches say they are ready to get things going.

Audra Sherman, technical director for the women’s program, and Jason Beckford, head coach for the men’s side, say it’ll take some time to get a sense of not just their teams, but the league as well.

“Just seeing kind of the calibre of play between these different teams,” said Sherman. “And just seeing, for us being the first year, how we compete.” 

“We’re all excited to be part of this new entity called Simcoe Rovers,” said Beckford. “We want to give something for the area to cheer about.” 

The technical director for the women’s club says that the feel-out portion will dictate how the coaching staff wants to continue maneuvering the team. She said the goal is to win and be a top competitor, but the process to get there can be related to an experiment. 

Sherman says part of the formula to cultivate a winning culture is having a clear identity within the staff, and “hungry” players.  

“We’re here to grow and develop year-by-year, but we are looking to always progress the game and elevate the game,” said Sherman. “That’s kind of put in from the start. Right when we started interviewing players and going through our scouting, that’s what we were talking about from day one.” 

When asked what Sherman thinks the team’s strengths and weaknesses are, the head coach said she still needs time to evaluate, but likes what she’s seen so far. 

“Defensively, there’s some good structure, and offensively we’ll see the creativity as players really start to know each other, and know how to move off each other,” said Sherman.  

“We just had a preseason game with our reserve team and even just in that one game, we saw as the minutes were going by, the creativity…between the players in the final third was really nice and really creative…we have some really talented players.” 

Beckford says he doesn’t like making predictions about the season, but says his club just wants to be competitive and show they belong in League1 Ontario. 

“I’m a big believer it’s about performance,” said Beckford. “Just making people understand that there’s a process, making sure you perform properly. It’s in the roles and responsibilities, understanding what they are not only on the field, but off the field as well.  

“In possession and out of possession, and be as organized as possible. Once we can get those things sorted out, then we’re giving the players an opportunity to go and express themselves in the right way.” 

As far as looking into the future and what they are most looking forward to about the season, Beckford and Sherman say they are interested in seeing how their respective rosters mesh. 

“We’re a young group in terms of just coming together,” said Beckford. “I’m excited about the prospects of going and pitching our wits against teams that have been well established at this level for a long time. 

“I always look forward to that process in terms of growth of the group, that coming together. I’m starting to see it a little bit now, the camaraderie, that’s exciting to me…if we can get those things right – process, performance – results look after themselves.” 

The women’s and men’s clubs kick off their inaugural seasons against Blue Devils FC this Sunday, April 24, and both coaches believe it will be an exciting moment, and both acknowledged there will likely be some healthy nerves.  

“I think there’s always some nervousness,” said Sherman. “If we weren’t a little bit nervous, I’d be worried. I think when they get there on-site, It’ll be pretty entertaining, and really exciting for everyone.” 

“It’s about controlling those butterflies as best as possible, so you can go out there and express yourself in the best possible way,” said Beckford. “We’re excited about the prospects, and we can’t wait for Sunday to come.” 

The women’s game starts at 2 p.m., while the men’s is at 5 p.m., both will be held at J.C. Massie Field at Georgian College.

Feature image via League 1 Ontario website