Roma Wolves rally in season finale
The St. Catharines Club Roma Wolves completed their League1 Ontario Men’s Premier Division season Friday night in dramatic fashion, rallying from a two-goal deficit to tie Waterloo United 2-2.
Third-place Waterloo United went into the game with a 2-0-4 record for 10 points while the fourth-place Wolves were 3-3 for nine points.
Michael Solomon scored both goals for the Roma Wolves to finish with a team-leading five on the season.
“We are obviously not happy because we would have loved a win but we are first year at Roma and we will take it,” Solomon said.
The 20-year-old Niagara Falls native and his teammates were confident from the start of the season that they could be competitive as as expansion squad in the league.
“From the get go with coach Davide (Massafra), coach Federico Turrizian and coach Carm (director of operations Carmine Provenzano), we all believed in the process and we tried our best,” Solomon said. “We always have next year and it is a great year to build on. We are happy overall.”
The Brock University soccer team member expects most of the roster to return next season.
“One hundred per cent. This is just the beginning and we are not finished yet. We are a young team and it’s onward and upwards.”
Solomon felt the biggest thing that the team learned in its first season was discipline.
“We learned what we can and can’t do in game situations.”
The Saint Paul alumnus and his teammates also learned not to continually fall behind teams early in games.
“That is definitely a lesson for us,” Solomon said. “Honestly, I think it is a little bit of immaturity. We are a young team and a lot of guys haven’t been in university seasons and they haven’t been in that situation multiple times but we will learn and we will get better.”
He loved the chance to play high-calibre soccer close to home.
“Around here we don’t get too many chances and this is a dream come true. To play in front of our family and fans is great and I love it.”
Provenzano was mostly happy with how the first season went for the Roma Wolves.
“We let some games get away from us and we thought we could have won this league,” he said.
The squad was done in by its aforementioned penchant for falling behind early.
“That is an ongoing question that I get from you guys,” Provenzano said. “We always start off slow and I don’t know what it is. Maybe we are nervous playing in front of fans but we are always down before we know it, usually in the first 20 minutes. Tonight it was the same story.”
He liked the progress the team made as the season went along.
“We came together as a team quickly which is hard to do and we are really happy with what we see right now. We are already looking forward to next year.”
The lessons learned this season will help moving forward.
“There were some growing pains and we need to work defensively a little bit. In a shortened season, it is very difficult to incorporate everything.”
The team played its first game July 31 but in non-pandemic times the season would normally begin at the end of April.
The Roma Wolves were also a success off the field with solid and appreciative crowds for all the home games.
“We had some real good crowds here and I think it is the place to be,” Provenzano said. “We are known around the league now and referees are talking to me before games saying that we have a great atmosphere. That is a good thing for a first-year team.”