Southern Ontario's Windsor Stars head into 2016 with an intact core of returning players plus some very carefully chosen additions.
These will be worrisome developments in the minds of opposing League1 coaches as Windsor has long been a very difficult place to go and get a result, and the Stars getting stronger and more cohesive will be a nightmare for visiting teams.
Head coach Shane Topalovic outlined how his team's tactical focus has changed for the season ahead, and spoke to the quality the Stars have aligned in their roster.
It seems as though the Windsor Stars have spent the off-season focusing on how to gel as a unit. How do you think the Stars can build off this cohesiveness and what are the goals of the group for 2016?
The look of our team will not change to drastically this season. We have lost a few players and gained some new quality players. We will continue to set high standards for ourselves and strive to become a better club.
Some of the goals we set for ourselves this year are to finish higher in the standings than we did last year and to become a better defensive team. We struggled at times last year with players having to play out of position. This year more emphasis will be put on the team’s defensive strategies.
Who are some of the returning players?
We have a great group of core players returning for this year, the Pio brothers Michael and Noah, as well as our goal keeper Kyle Vizarakis, and Jamar Kelly.
Also returning after sustaining a season ending injury last year is Celso Carapau, who is able to switch quite easily between midfield positions and forward spots.
Also coming back for one more year is Stars veteran Ciprian Codea. Ciprian always brings with him and incredible work ethic and enthusiasm that is almost infectious at our training sessions.
Stephen Ademolu (Photo: Martin Bazyl)
You've made some strategic additions to the squad. Who are they?
We are lucky this year to have some key new additions to our team. Defenders Marco Bernabo and Tony Falkestajn who add some pace, toughness and a strong willingness to work.
Also we add in Leighton Speechly-Price this year’s co winner of the WESPY (Windsor Essex County Sports Person of the Year) for soccer. He was co-winner with our captain Steven Ademolu.
All three come to us from the University of Windsor which was nationally ranked last season.