Women’s and men’s Lions soccer teams ready for action

Heading into the 2018-19 season, the women’s and men’s York Lions soccer teams aim to position themselves for impressive Ontario University Athletics (OUA) standings. They will kick off the season on Friday night under the lights vs. Western.

2018 women’s soccer season preview

This is a big year for the York Lions women’s soccer team, as the squad looks to prove itself in the OUA standings.

The Lions had an up and down 2017 season, where they went winless in the first six games of the year before rallying to go unbeaten in the last five games of the year and qualify for a spot in the OUA playoffs. Lions head coach Carmine Isacco hopes his team will avoid a slow start this season and has focused his messaging on being mentally prepared to start the year.

“We’ve been trying to emphasize that our mentality and character has to stay strong no matter what the situation is during the game,” said Isacco. “Our will to win and compete has to be consistent and we can’t settle for mediocrity. Success is something we build towards every day and it starts through our preparations in the off-season and in training camp.”

Isacco believes this message is well-received by a team that fought hard last season despite long odds to make the playoffs and thinks the group’s character and resiliency will be one of their strengths again this year.

The Lions lineup features a mix of talented upper-year players and a stellar group of sophomores who acquitted themselves well in their rookie seasons.

Armed with a solid mental game and an improving roster, the Lions have all the tools necessary to make some noise in the OUA this season and earn a return trip to the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.

2018 men’s soccer season preview

Coming off an OUA title and fifth-place finish at the U SPORTS championships in 2017, the York University Lions men’s soccer team will try to remain at the top of the OUA standings and compete yet again for a national title in the 2018 season.

The Lions have been on one of the most dominant runs in U SPORTS soccer history over the past decade, winning four national titles and five OUA championships since 2007. Such a sustained run of success leads to high expectations each year for the team, and the 2018 version of this soccer powerhouse is no different. Head coach Isacco recognizes the high expectations his team faces but prefers to focus on the process involved with becoming a winning team rather than the end result.

“In terms of our expectations for this season, we just want this group of players to develop into a strong unit that works together and plays well technically and tactically,” he said when asked what his expectations are this year. “We have some players who will be stepping into larger roles this year, and we just want them to learn to be responsible and learn what it takes to win. We’re hoping the younger guys can step in and mature quickly and I’m confident they will be able keep up the standard we’ve set in the last few years.”

Despite losing some key players from their roster, the Lions are still loaded with talent in every spot on the field. The recruiting pipeline has once again produced some high-end talent for the Lions, giving Isacco a new crop of players who will push the veterans for playing time and will be relied on heavily early in the season while some returning players work their way back from injuries.

The Lions’ record under Isacco has been nothing short of spectacular. Since taking over in 2007, the Lions have won 11 OUA West Division titles, made 10 trips to the OUA final four and eight appearances at the national championships, and hung a total of nine banners. With a stellar mix of returning veterans and fresh new faces on the roster, the 2018 Lions have the pieces in place to add some more hardware to their trophy case and extend their run of dominance this season and beyond.