Richard Wells has had his share of highs and lows with the West Side Monarchs, but he’s finding it easy to forget the past knowing his team is in the hunt for a three-peat as Corner Brook senior men’s soccer champs.
The black and gold will tangle with the Northridge Curling Rangers for the playoff crown Saturday 3 p.m. at Wellington Street Soccer Field.
The Rangers lost to the Monarchs in the 2016 final, a momentous occasion for the black and gold as they picked up the championship trophy for the first time in 20 years.
Wells joined the Monarchs in 2002 and he believes the fate of the team started to turn in another direction after former pro keeper Bruce Grobbelaar suited up with the team for a short stint a few years ago.
Wells said the South-African born Grobbelaar was successful in pointing the team in the right direction and the players learned a lot from him being one of the best English keepers of all time and a knowledgeable soccer mind.
“The winning mentality stemmed from his presence,” he said. “What he brought to the field and you could tell everybody wanted to be part of it.”
A different strategy has been employed by the Rangers over the past few years and Wells said all hands believe in one another and communicate well on the field.
Being on the same page is one thing, but Wells also likes how the winning ways has been a team effort all the way. He said there is no one player in particular doing more than the next and they’ve all come on board with the winning philosophy instilled in the guys when Grobblaar was wearing the black and gold.
“We realized we don’t want to chase the ball around the field,” he said. “We want to have possession and dictate the play of the game.”
The Rangers won its share of senior men’s soccer titles over the years and history has shown that the team has a knack for coming up big when it counts and Wells knows it won’t be an easy task knocking off the blue and white.
“They always seem to find a way to overcome adversity,” he said. “It’s going to be a hard-fought battle. They’ve got tenacity and heart, and I’m not surprised at all to see them in the final.”