Wolves add to the pack
It has been an off season of expansion for the Club Roma Wolves organization.
The Wolves have expanded and now have three teams in both the men’s and women’s division of League1 Ontario.
The men’s lineup will have a team in the Premier League as well as squads in the U21 (reserve) and U19 division.
The women’s Premier League team returns for a second season and will be joined by an open age (reserve) team and U19 squad.
“The plan was always in place to create those teams and this year we felt it was the right time,” Roma director of soccer operations Carmine Provenzano said. “We had a good group of (men’s) 19s coming up and trying to find a place to play for them at a high level, it was a no-brainer.”
Provenzano said the introduction of the U19 squads at both levels is essential.
“It’s almost a must. It’s like having a minor league hockey team, like an AHL team,” he said. “The women’s premier came on last year and needed a reserve team. That had to happen. It was a natural. It was always the plan.”
According to Provenzano, being able to train players in their own system will be beneficial.
“At the U19 level, we want them in the system early and understanding the philosophy of the system and that comes from the Premier team down,” Provenzano said. “Our U19 boys are a really talented group. Getting them involved in the process early on and understanding League 1 and the level of play.”
To fill six teams, the organization began winter pre-trials to help the selection process over the course of tryouts, which recently concluded.
With about 200 total players trying out, Provenzano admitted it was a daunting challenge to select the final rosters.
“Most of the teams still have some extra people, borderline players still in camp,” he said. “Those rosters will be finalized this week. It can be difficult so you keep them as long as you can until you have to make a decision and see if they can rise to the top. That’s what you’re looking for.”
Each team is permitted to carry 25 players.
“Some are eligible to play down (a level). It would be a great place for them to play to get some minutes,” Provenzano said.
He is eager to see how the teams perform at the League 1 level.
“I think some of the teams have some talent. Some might struggle but we’ll see how it goes. We’re at an elite level in the province so it’s hard to tell where will fall, but at the same time, you need those players in the system.”
The men’s premier team begin the regular season on the road Saturday, April 15 versus Alliance United FC. Their home opener is Sunday, April 23 versus London FC. The game will be played at Kiwanis Field at 7 p.m.
The women’s premier team begins regular season play Friday, April 21 at NDC Ontario. Their home opener is Saturday, May 6 versus Blue Devils FC at Kiwanis Field at 8 p.m.
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