Andy Gibbs is a formidable entity who, in spite of a large and intimidating presence, is collected and efficient in everything he does. Not surprisingly, the team he coaches is very much the same.
"We're competitive this year," he rumbles, watching the Dinos soccer men during a warmup game of keep-away. "The league is very competitive this year."
The Dinos have engaged in a fairly routine summer, he explains. Roughly a dozen players kept busy with club play and fundraising efforts such as bingos and casinos that will keep the soccer program in operation for another year. Fourth-year halfback Brian Newmarch spent his time playing with the Canadian Professional Development League and will return to captain the Dinos this season.
The Dinos face a demanding schedule this year, which draws Gibbs' brows in mild consternation.
"The schedule this year does not help the prairie teams," he explains. "There's three games on the road to B.C. for the prairie teams while the B.C. teams only have two games at home. So we have three games in four days and they have two games in four days. Which is ouch."
Scheduling isn't the only thing creasing Gibbs' forehead.
"Worried," is his succinct comment on the fact that he has not one, but two brand new goalies taking the field this year. "Concerned."
Former goalkeeper Mike Willis played his last year of eligibility in 2000/01 after a solid five years with the Dinos. Although Gibbs touts new goalkeeper Doug Bourne as a rookie to watch--the fact remains that he's a rookie. Gibbs also mutters blackly about the fact that Regina has added a women's expansion team, but not a men's.
"I'm not really for expansion of one gender," he says. "They want a men's team in Regina but can't have one because of the numbers issue. I'm not for the numbers being imbalanced, I'd like to see the men and women's programs developed together."
Still, Gibbs remains phlegmatic.
"I've got all kinds," he points out of the remainder of the team. "I've got a 4.0 engineer, a guy from Spain who was doing firefighting all summer and a fifth-year fullback with no ligaments in his knee," he says, indicating Andrew Zakaluzny, David Hernandez and Colin Hill respectively.
He surveys this motley crew with a typically stoic kind of pride and calmly outlines his goals for the season.
"I'd like to make the top three," he states. "Victoria will host the Canada West playoffs, so they're in and grabbing the other three spots will be competitive."
Another brief assessment of the men scrambling around the field doing incredible things with their feet and Gibbs adds, with a certain level of satisfaction, "It's going to be fierce. It's not going to be easy. It'll be good."