(May 29) The Alberta Major Soccer League finished off league play for the month of May this past weekend with teams looking for strong starts to set the tone for their 2018 season.

On the men’s side, Edmonton Green & Gold and Edmonton Drillers remain undefeated through their first few games with Ajay Khabra of Green & Gold leading the league in goals.

On the women’s side, Edmonton Victoria and Edmonton Northwest United have once again gotten off to strong starts as they remain undefeated through three games. Heather Lund of Victoria, the 2017 top goal scorer leads the way again with five goals to date.

One of the two new teams to the women’s league, Edmonton Green & Gold, has gotten off to a strong start sitting third in the standings. This past weekend, they faced a major test in going up against Edmonton Northwest United. Liz Jepsen, Coach of Green & Gold was impressed with the performance they put up against the consistent title contenders, “I’m really pleased with how the team responded today to Northwest. I think this young squad that we had today responded really well. A 1-nil result with a PK is respectable.”

With a young squad, Green & Gold is looking at their first year in the league as an opportunity to learn from those that have been around longer. “I know Victoria has a very veteran team, same as Angels, Callies. My thought is that the girls will learn some of the tricks of the trade from some of those girls that have been around a long time. I think that’s going to be great for their development,” said Jepsen.

AMSL positively impacting players at the University level

The AMSL has long been a league that has featured some of the best University and College players from both Canada and the United States. It has allowed players and teams to continue to play competitive games over the summer months contributing to their development for their school season. For some teams in the league like both men’s and women’s Green & Gold teams and the Dinos, it’s a chance to have their teams play together prior to the University season and experience the fast pace of the AMSL.

“I feel like the level is quite similar to what we play at the University level in terms of top end talent,” said Eddie Bardana, a coach with the Dinos. “For them to get that experience coming in at 18 it really helps their development and opens their eyes. There’s a huge difference when they come from U18 going to playing with men in Major League. It helps tremendously going into the University season because it’s very intense, fast and very physical like Major League.”

The Edmonton Green & Gold women’s team also saw a similar opportunity with the AMSL despite many of their players already playing across the different teams in the league in previous years.

“The girls that are here now have just decided that they want to play together,” commented Liz Jepsen when asked about the desire to enter the league. “In the AMSL, every day you are going to have to step on the field and bring your best performance and when you look forward to the cutthroat nature of USport and Canada West, that’s a must do. I think this will really benefit them to be able to transition faster having come from playing a Canadian National Champion like Victoria into our league play.”

The AMSL continues league play this Saturday and Sunday. Full schedules and results can be found on the AMSL Website.