KW United has their work cut out for them in the 2017 season. Their players began to arrive a week before their first game; some are still arriving, and some will not arrive until after KW United has faced off against one of the toughest teams in the league, the Michigan Bucks. Head Coach Martin Painter is cautiously optimistic about the first few games. He explains how KW United has “a good core of returning players”, but “it will be a tough start to the season with guys still coming in and starting off with the Bucks without a lot of time to prepare”. That is the nature of the Premier Development League (PDL), with a short season and little time to get ready.
Painter explains how, with new players coming in each year, “there’s going to be internal competition right off the bat. Balancing that with internal cohesion can be the real challenge; balancing those two objectives”. Yet there is always a core of players that can be relied upon, and this year will be no different. Painter asserts that setting a good positive tone is key to success in the short PDL season, and he is “confident that the core guys will be able to do that”.
Some of the returning players that Painter is seeking to build his team around include Ken Krolicki and Munir Saleh in midfield; both of these players made a difference in the 2016 season, Krolocki playing 5 games and scoring a goal and Saleh playing 8 games and utilizing his attacking abilities to create opportunities for the team. Munir has only just finished his first year in school, so fans should be able to enjoy the local Kitchener player’s return in future seasons depending on OSA sanctioning and Canadian Premier League (CanPL) progress for the club. Painter describes them as both having “great engines”, with the ability to create some menacing attacks.
Justin Springer and Kamal Miller played in 13 and 12 games respectively in the 2016 season, and should provide some experience to the backline of the team. Both Wesley Cain and Adam Polakiewicz will be returning for their fourth consecutive season with the young squad, and will hopefully lend their experience in creating clarity within the team. Yet, as Painter explains, “it’s a lot of new faces, so it’s hard to predict what we’re going to look like. First three games will be a challenge, once we get through that we’ll know a lot more
about what to expect. But there’s enough quality and character in the guys returning that we should be good”.
KW United is known as being one of the dominant forces in the PDL, and hopes are high for the season. Scott Levine, a keeper who is a senior but is new to KW United, looks forward to getting started; “we have a tough game on Saturday, but we’ll be ready for that. We’ll be ready and I’m excited for the season”. Yet all of the players seem aware of the difficult task they have this Saturday when they face off against the Michigan Bucks. Munir Saleh is hesitant about making predictions for the weekend; “we’ll see how we do against the bucks”, tempering hopes for the early game by explaining that the early start makes it difficult. This awareness of the difficulties overcoming the Bucks cannot be a bad thing, as they are indeed a difficult team. What makes them a greater challenge is their familiarity with playing together. Many of the players are from Michigan and play together in the same schools, and the team has already played a game together in the USA Open Cup against AFC Ann Arbor, winning 1-0.
Regardless of what happens this weekend, KW United can expect to have a solid season this year, with some excellent play. The PDL can be fierce; but coach, staff, and players are excited and optimistic that they will rise to the challenge. The PDL has mandated that each team stream their games, so fans can follow their team on the road. KW United will be playing 7 home games this year; season tickets can be purchased for $50.00, and individual tickets for $10.00.
KW United has released the following names to the PDL as their current roster:
- Mohamed Aborig
- Jared Brown
- Wesley Cain
- Liam Callahan
- Sameer Fathazada
- Sam Gardner
- Michael Halapir
- Ken Krolicki
- Munir Saleh
- Justin Springer
- Dayne St Clair
- Donald Tomlinson
The following players will also be suiting up with KW United, pending the full processing of the paperwork.
- Scott Levine
- Adam Polakiewicz
- Isma Longo
- Mathieu Lauren