With the start of the 2023-2024 college sports season only months away, Portage College has been actively scouting new talent for its soccer and hockey rosters while keeping several key veteran student-players.
Practices and training camps for both men’s and women’s Voyageur soccer teams begin later in July, while men’s hockey players begin their on-ice camps in August.
Last year’s sporting season was challenging for the Voyageurs hockey and soccer programs, with only a handful of wins for each of the teams in their respective Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) leagues. Recruiting and promotion for all other Portage teams — curling, futsal and golf — is also highlighted as the new school year draws near.
Jim Knight, the athletics director for Portage College, says the focus of the coming year is for every team to improve which means improving the quality of athletes. He says the skills of in-coming player-athletes looks impressive.
“The strategy for recruitment of each team was to recruit better players by position than we had last year,” Knight explained. “I am comfortable that the quality of our athletes coming in are an improvement and each team will be better this season.”
The roster for the Portage futsal teams has growing in recent months. Coming off a season that saw success and growth for the unique style of indoor soccer, Knight said there are seven returning players with 17 new recruits already committed.
College officials will know later this month if the 2023-24 futsal season will include a North Regional Futsal event or the ACAC Futsal Championship hosted by Portage.
Local to international players
Recruiting is a year-round process, with some international student recruitment for the coming year beginning shortly after last year’s school year began. This year’s team rosters with include players from Lakeland community as well as from every province of Canada, and as far away as The Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, and Brazil.
As the weeks roll along to the next school and college-sports season, there are some spots left on the hockey and soccer teams, and an active recruitment drive remains to fill the golf and curling rosters.
Not only could new athletes have an impact in Voyageur team standings, but also in Portage classrooms and around the communities where student-athletes learn, Knight added. He said the recruiting of student athletes is also a way to continue and grow community volunteerism and high academic results.