The Mount Royal University (MRU) Cougars women’s soccer team will be bolstered this fall by the arrival of two players from Chestermere.
Eighteen-year-old Sharnae Sedres and 17-year-old Monet Alonso-Cruz signed letters of intent to represent the Cougars this season, and will report to the team’s training camp in early August.
“I have no words – I’m just so excited to make new friends and a new family,” said Sedres, who graduated from Chestermere High School this year. “I can’t wait for preseason to start. I’m most looking forward to getting to know new people and having new people to talk to – the relationship aspect of it.”
MRU head coach Tino Fusco said he feels Sedres, who primarily plays as a right back, will add to the team’s possession-focused style of play.
“She’s very technical – she’s gifted on the ball and has a good right foot,” he said. “She has good delivery, good service and makes quality passes.”
Playing for the Cougars will present Sedres with the possibility of playing against her older sister, Shalaine, who is entering her fourth year as a member of the University of Calgary Dinos.
Sedres said she’s excited about the prospect of being opposite her sister in the “derby” match between the Cougars and the Dinos – affectionately referred to as the Crowchild Classic. This year’s rendition will be Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. at the University of Calgary.
“It would be really cool to play against my sister, now that we’re both in university,” she said. “It’s going to be fun supporting our own teams and having a bit of a rivalry between each other.”
The other arrival from Chestermere, Alonso-Cruz, is equally excited to begin her post-secondary soccer career.
Alonso-Cruz, who currently plays in the premier division of the Calgary Women’s Soccer Association, said she’s a player who always puts the team first.
“I feel I will add to the positive mindset of the team and working together as one,” she said. “I’ll add that sense of teamwork and supporting each other.”
Fusco said Alonso-Cruz’s aggressiveness will be a boon to the team’s back line.
“[Alonso-Cruz] is a little more of a grittier player, in the sense that she’ll get in there and work and press to win the ball back,” he said, adding her versatility means she can play in multiple defensive positions.
The Cougars enjoyed a record-setting year in 2018; the team ended the season with its highest-ever points total since joining USPORTS in 2012, and the squad’s 6-6-2 record qualified it for the Canada West playoffs.
Despite the great regular season, MRU fell at the first hurdle of the post-season, losing in a penalty shootout to the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades.
With only two players graduating last year – Claire Thorimbert and Erin Holt – Fusco said the team is primed for another successful campaign, and the two first-year players from Chestermere have a decent chance of fighting for spots in his starting 11.
“Our philosophy at Mount Royal is that your year or program doesn’t justify your playing time,” he said. “It’s about how you develop as a player when you come in.
“These two players can definitely push our current players. We’ll see what happens in preseason – that’s the deciding factor for us in where they’ll fit in – but there will definitely be opportunities for them.”
The Cougars’ 2019 schedule will begin with a road trip to Edmonton Sept. 7 and 8 to face the MacEwan University Griffins and the University of Alberta Golden Pandas. The team’s home schedule will kick off Sept. 14, with a battle against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.