Need your footy fix but can’t wait until the school year to start to watch men and women’s soccer here at Brock? Well you’re in luck because Brock Men’s Soccer is only days away as they kick off their regular season.
Last year, the men’s soccer team had a rough year as they finished their regular season with a 4-9-3 record, placing them seventh overall in the West division.
But this year the team hopes for a different outcome as they have a lot of new cleats running across alumni field. One person in particular who is bringing in a lot of attention is the team’s new head coach.
Taking over for former head coach Bill Millar, who coached the team for 31 seasons, is Lucio Ianiero. Ianiero will now take over the head coach position in hopes to make Millar proud and bring the Badgers a successful season.
The former Badger himself who was named OUS All-Star in 1992 has played for the Hamilton Steelers in the Original Canadian Soccer League, in which he was the twelfth best scorer in the league as he racked up nine goals.
Ianiero also played two seasons in the American Professional Soccer League for the Toronto Blizzard in 1993 and the Toronto Rockets in 1994, while in 1995, Ianiero was also a long-time member of the St. Catharines Wolves until he announced his retirement from the game in 2006.
But Ianiero is also familiar with the game outside of Canada. Internationally, Ianiero participated in the 1985 FIFA World Youth Championship and the inaugural 1989 Futsal World Cup in the Netherlands. In August 1986, Ianiero showed his true athleticism during his senior debut for Canada when playing against Singapore for the Merlion Cup match. Within that game, Ianiero went on to earn 17 caps, scoring two goals. His final international game was in April 1992 against China.
As a coach, Ianiero was named Canadian Professional Soccer League Coach of the Year for the 2000 season, as head coach of the St. Catharines Wolves. In 2001 he helped lead the Wolves to the league title. He was the team’s player-coach from 2000 to 2006. He coached with the St. Catharines Jets Girls Soccer Club for 13 seasons and coach’s one of the provinces top 1999 girl’s teams with the Niagara Regional Soccer Program.
From GoBadger.ca, Assistant Athletic Director Chris Critelli commented on the recent hiring of Ianiero saying, “we are so pleased to have Lucio on board as head coach of the Brock men’s soccer team. It is always wonderful to have one of our alumni return to be a part of the program, and to have someone with such a wealth of knowledge and background in the game is fantastic. I know our student athletes and Brock Athletics will benefit with Lucio at the helm.”
Despite new coaching staff and several new players added to the roster, the men’s team isn’t completely starting from scratch as they have some veteran players on the roster who will be a big contribution to the team this season. Returning fourth year players are Badger’s goalie, Matthew Zaikos who finished last season with a total of 110 saves, 1.94 goals against average, and a 0.786 save percentage. Midfielder Omar Hamadi played a total of eight games last season and scored three goals on 11 shots. Yan Ilic will also be returning after playing nine games last season. Ilic scored a goal on nine shots last season. Lastly, George Gill will be playing his final season as a Badger. Gill played ten games last season scoring a goal on five shots.
Last season the Badgers only scored 11 goals, which was third last in the OUA.
The first game of the season opens August 27 at 3:15 p.m. as the Badgers travel to Windsor to play the Lancers.
The Badgers will begin the season with four of their first five games on the road. After Windsor the Badgers travel to Western, and then will host Waterloo on September 3, for Brock’s home opener. Then the teams will travel to Laurier and Guelph.
Brock’s Homecoming weekend is set for the weekend of Sept. 16-18, meaning the Badgers Soccer team will play host to Algoma at 3:15 p.m. on the Saturday.
The Badgers will play a 16 game schedule with nine home games and seven road games. Their longest home stretch will be four games from October 1-15, as this will be a stretch of seven games at Brock in an eight game span. They won’t play more than two consecutive road games all season.