CALGARY, ALTA., (Oct. 20, 2018) — Jake Walmsley did not need to think long about his first-ever game with the SAIT Trojans men’s soccer team.
The fifth-year midfielder was honoured before his team’s 4-0 win over the Ambrose University Lions Saturday afternoon in their Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) game played in front of his home crowd at SAIT’s Cohos Commons Field.
“I do remember that,” smiled Walmsley (5th year, Cranbrook, BC, Bachelor of Business Administration) when asked about the first time he put on a Trojans jersey in the fall of 2012. “Against Lethbridge. At home. We won 3-2.”
A quick look back at the ACAC archives, and it’s apparent Walmsley’s memory has not faded in his old age.
Later that first season, the then rookie midfielder would earn an ACAC All-Conference nod as he helped SAIT win the program’s first, and only, championship title.
A two-year hiatus spent back in Cranbrook with friends and family came and went before he returned to the Trojans in the fall of 2015. Since then, he’s been chasing what seemed to come so easy that first year.
Sure, there have been times they were close. A bronze medal last year; a silver medal in 2016; a fourth-place finish in 2015.
Now his team returns to the post-season next weekend in a six-team event in which the Trojans are playing hosts Oct. 26-28.
Going out as a champion. At home.
Doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
“I can still remember that feeling winning that final game. It gives me goosebumps every time I think about it,” he said. “That is the ultimate goal, and it’s something I want these guys to experience as well. This team deserves it as much as any other team I have played for.”
On Saturday, he was subbed off just minutes into the game in a show of respect by head coach Connor Brady. He then watched as his team put the finishing touches on a regular season in which they went a perfect 12-0.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Walmsley said. “It was a class move from the team.”
First-year midfielder Krishneil Prakash (1st year, Calgary, Bachelor of Business Administration) was the one who came on for Walmsley, and made him proud by scoring twice in the game.
By finishing in first place in the ACAC’s South Division, the Trojans have earned themselves a bye into next Saturday’s semifinal.
“We just need to be consistent in this week of practice,” Walmsley finished. “Also, we need to realize that even though we finished 12-0, we haven’t achieved anything yet and no one is going to hand us the title. We have to continue to work as hard as we have done to this point.”