Cambrian Golden Shield soccer master coach Giuseppe Politi is not one to rest on his laurels.
The latest in a string of record-breaking seasons has just barely been put to bed, and the ultra-passionate soccer devotee has turned his attention to the fall of 2017.
And he does so armed with the knowledge of some key factors that played into the massive turnaround in the fortunes of Cambrian soccer since he first took over the program in 2010, including the additional scholarship opportunities that were available to players.
“The scholarship program was critical in terms of attracting certain players to commit to Cambrian. It eases the financial burden for those student athletes.” Not all that far removed from his own playing days, a point in time that would see the gifted striker pursue his on the field dreams in Florida, Politi knows that the impact of a scholarship can run deeper than simply the dollars and cents.
“There is that psychological buy-in, in which the program is willing to invest in the student-athlete, and that in turn gets them more fully invested in the project, and our vision of what we want to do,” said Politi.
In the course of a relatively short span, the Golden Shield soccer teams have gone from earning a post-season berth for the first time ever, to perennial contenders. “The last three years, if you objectively look at the results, you can see that the investments have paid off,” said Politi.
“We’ve made the playoffs each year, we’ve achieved some sort of record-setting results, whether it’s medals, or consecutive playoff appearances, or consecutive home playoff appearances.” Fair to say they have likely surpassed even the most optimistic of projections on the potential impact of scholarship monies for athletes who take to the pitch for Cambrian College.
“It’s so much better than it was in 2010, when I first started. That is because the players, especially from out of town, are coming from clubs that have bought into LTPD (Long Term Player Development), and following the coach education guidelines, and have year-round facilities where they are developing all of these players,” he continued. “Eventually, these players need a place to play.”
“Should we be delighted with what we’ve done?,” Politi added. “Yes – given the resources and the player pool and the population of our school. But once you taste success, you want to replicate that on a yearly basis, and then take it one step further. It would be extremely disheartening now to have a season where we don’t make the playoffs.”
My, how far they have come.
In addition to the team success achieved this year, individual honours were plentiful. Here is a brief outline:
Tiffany Johnson: All-Time Leading OCAA goal scorer – 62 goals; single season record – 28 goals; CCAA All-Canadian; OCAA All-Star
Sarah Cholewinsky: OCAA Rookie of the Year; OCAA All-Star