Wolves searching for consistency
The wait to play for the St. Catharines Club Roma Wolves was worth it for Michael Fernandez.
The 22-year-old Thorold resident was looking forward to playing for the Wolves last season but a painful knee injury kept him off the pitch.
“It all happened so fast, the return of soccer after COVID and I had the Brock season coming up end of August,” Fernandez said. “I decided to take care of myself and get fit and come back out the next year.”
Fernandez admitted it was difficult to sit on the sidelines as the Wolves put together an exciting first season in League1 Ontario Men’s Premier Division play.
“I’d come out to the games and see the atmosphere and guys putting in the work and doing so well and playing at the highest level, that’s all the kids in Niagara want to do,” he said. “I knew I would be out here eventually.”
Now fully healthy, Fernandez joined the Wolves this season and is loving the experience.
“It’s been unreal,” the Denis Morris graduate said. “The kids have been very welcoming. We’ve had ups and down along the season. We’re a young team and it’s been good. I’ve enjoyed the coach and the staff. I like the commitment as well. We have 20 guys at practice.”
Fernandez has been able to bring both experience and a calming demeanour to the midfield.
“As one of the older guys — on some teams I’d be one of the younger guys — I have years of OUA (Ontario University Athletics) experience so just bring a calm head,” Fernandez said of his role. “Sometimes we get a bit flustered and we need some experience to calm the guys down.”
Wolves director of soccer operations Carmine Provenzano appreciates what Fernandez brings to the pitch.
“He’s a good talent. He’s somebody that can help us, mostly in the midfield,” he said. “Strong kid, distributes the ball very well. Has great feet and is talented.
“We’re lucky enough to have him here.”
Fernandez is heading into his fifth season at Brock where he plans to complete his MBA (Master of Business Administration).
He feels his time with the Badgers has prepared him well for playing at Roma.
“The OUA helped me become the player I am today and compete at this level,” he said. “It’s the next step.
“That’s the best part about it and being from Niagara and representing Niagara.”
The Wolves dropped a 2-0 decision to Guelph Friday night at Roma to fall to 3-7-2 overall.
Provenzano said the Wolves are looking for consistency.
“Wednesday night (6-1 loss at Hamilton) wasn’t the team we’ve seen the last few weeks when we won a couple of games. We took the night off and paid for it,” he said. “It’s not preparation. I don’t know what happens when they get to the field. Our team is young so we have to play hard every game or else the results aren’t going to be there. We’re not going to get away with it. It’s difficult for us to take a night off.”
The Wolves are home to the Simcoe County Rovers Friday, July 1 as part of a doubleheader with the women’s team who play the Rovers at 5 p.m.
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