On the outside it may have looked like the Redeemer Royals Men’s Indoor Soccer team was the underdog at the 2014 OCAA Indoor Soccer Provincial Championships. Some may have even labeled the Royals as the Cinderella team of the tournament, advancing to the Provincial Championship Final after defeating the top teams in the Province to get there.
However, not a single player on the Men’s Indoor team, players and coaching staff, believed that winning the OCAA Provincial Championship was out of reach and it showed. The Royals did not look like an underdog over the course of the tournament, playing like the top team in the Provincial Championships all weekend and earning themselves the OCAA Championship title and Gold medal on home field at Redeemer University College this weekend.
Head Coach Kyle Grootenboer commented, “We came into the weekend knowing we had a chance. Indoor is a tough game to play and its tough to score, we knew that if we focused on defense the rest would take care of itself”.
Redeemer defeated the Conestoga Condors in the Gold Medal game 2-1 in overtime handing the school its second Indoor Soccer Provincial Championship in 6 years and third in school history.
On Friday, Redeemer defeated the defending OCAA Champion Sheridan Bruins and reigning OCAA Outdoor Soccer National Champion Humber Hawks. On Saturday morning, the Royals outlasted the top ranked Centennial Colts 1-0 in overtime to advance to the Final.
Backed by a contingent of Redeemer Royal supporters, the Men’s Indoor team is bringing the OCAA Championship banner back to Redeemer for another year.
For Grootenboer, a former captain of McMaster’s men’s soccer team, it was different being on the coaching side and not the playing side. In just his first season as Head Coach for the Royals, Grootenboer led the Outdoor team to the playoffs and the Indoor team to a Provincial Championship.
“The win is great for our program”, said Grootenboer. “The group of guys I came into here are great. They work hard, push each other, and are an easy team to Coach. Winning breeds winning and my hope is that this will translate now to the outdoor soccer season.
It was a season that came down to every play and every minute for the Royals. Redeemer qualified for the Championships by way of a tie break. They then advanced to Day 2 of the Championships on the heels of another tie break. The Royals moved on to the Championship final after a late goal in overtime of the semi final and won the Gold Medal on another goal in overtime.
The Royals will now add another Championship banner to the soccer complex to go along with their 2007-2008 Men’s Indoor Soccer Championship.
Redeemer’s Josh Elgeti was named the Championship MVP while Justin Olthof was named a Championship All-Star.