As popular hip-hop/rap artist Drake likes to put it, “Started from the bottom now we're here”.
And while the context may be different, the idea's the same for Neepawa's women's soccer team; the "Storm" who continued to see improvement in their team this season over the last.
“We had some girls that had to quit, or that had to take a year off, so we started the season with a bunch of new girls this year and had a really strong start,” manager Susan Kohinski explained of her team. “We finished in the middle of the pack, and we kept getting better; I'm really proud of the girls this year.”
The team finished its 2013 season with a 3-9-2 record in the 12-team Westman Women's Soccer League. One of the highlights of the season was topping nearby friendly rivals the Minnedosa Lakers, a perennially strong team Neepawa has seldom beat in the past.
Overall, Kohinski believes her team's consistency was its major strength for the year. In previous years the team has suffered numerous blowouts, but this season Neepawa lost only two games by more than two goals.
“I thought we were very competitive, every game, and we were always very close to earning a win almost every game we played,” Kohinski explained. “I think the key was that we played better as a team this year, working together all over the field.”
That strong play has left the manager excited about how her team will look next season. With a young roster, the team expects to have most of its girls returning to action in 2014.
A few core players who took this summer off due to maternity leaves are also expected back, and NACI's high school team has a talented crop of youth players coming up who will be turning 16 this year – the eligibility age for the WWSL – that the team hopes to attract for summer action.
Kohinski hopes that mix of experience, skill and youthful energy will make it tough for other teams to 'weather the Storm' come 2014.
“I'm very excited, I think we should have a very good team,” Kohinski concluded.