All eyes are on the women's soccer program at Douglas College this season, as the Royals are set to host the upcoming 2018 CCAA National Championships. The Royals had a dominant season in PACWEST, as players from Douglas topped the individual charts in both scoring and goalkeeping. The Royals lost just three matches all season in conference play, and entered the provincial championships as the #1 seed, eventually coming out on top as PACWEST champions for the second year running.
At nationals, a heartbreaking semifinal loss to top-ranked Élans de Garneau ended hopes of capturing the gold, but with this year's tournament taking place at Douglas, the pressure is on to improve on last year's fifth-place finish.
Head coach Chris Laxton said after last year's tournament that the experience will prove invaluable for the Royals' young core - rookies were an extremely important part of last year's season, and they can only get better as they enter their second year with championship experience under their belts. Laxton reiterated this in a recent interview, saying that once the team learned they would be hosting the 2018 nationals, they endeavored to get as much experience as possible at the 2017 tournament for their new players.
The importance of staying healthy and fresh throughout the season is a primary focus for Laxton's side this year. Ideally, the Royals will be as close as possible to 100% fitness for the national championship, a grueling affair with a jam-packed schedule. Having a deep squad with talent and skill all the way down the roster will certainly help keep the squad fresh both leading up to and during the national tournament in November.
With the crop of new recruits joining the Royals this year, Laxton believes the team has unrivalled depth within the conference, stating that he has essentially two full squads capable of being competitive within PACWEST. The players joining the Royals for the 2018 season are more than capable of fighting for spots in the starting XI, and Laxton will have a wealth of talent available to him when picking his starting lineups every week.
The Royals' quest for national glory on home turf begins this Saturday when they host the Langara Falcons, with kickoff scheduled for 1 PM.