The Wanderers are on their way to British Columbia today for the club’s inaugural Canadian Premier League match.
Halifax’s new professional soccer team will make history by kicking off in the seven team CPL on Sunday against Pacific FC on Vancouver Island.
“It’s becoming more and more real,” Hart smiled. “It’s an exciting time and a special time.”
In what is one of the longest away trips in world sport, Hart’s Wanderers squad will travel 4,476 km — in a marathon journey from one coast to another — during a trip that also includes a four hour time change.
But that’s not much of a concern for the players, who are now just anxious to get out on the pitch.
“I feel happy and excited because I want to play like now,” said Wanderers Peruvian attacking midfielder Juan Diego Gutierrez. “We are doing a great job, we are working hard every day to play a good game and be good on the ball and to have some fun on the field.”
With neither team having yet played a competitive match, Hart admits there is something of an unpredictable feel to this Canadian Premier League debut for his first ever Wanderers team.
“We have not been in any situation from a competition perspective so we don’t know how they will play if they’re on top or how they will play if they’re down,” Hart explained, adding it’s now up to the players to go out and play to the roles that have been drilled into them in training.
One thing that’s bringing confidence to the Wanderers players is the strong team spirit that’s been around the camp since the beginning of preseason training.
It’s a bond they believe will translate well on the pitch throughout the season.
“The camaraderie around the camp is really good so we can’t wait,” said veteran Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Elton John. “We appreciate more than anything else our fans, so we would like to go out there and make sure they’re happy and play attractive football.”
The Wanderers squad will train a couple of times at Westhills Stadium following the long road trip to get a feel for the pitch before the big game.
And then Hart will name his starting line-up for the first ever Wanderers Canadian Premier League match.
Coach Hart has a healthy respect for the Pacific squad and their head coach Michael Silberbauer but his main focus is on the approach of his own team.
“I think it’s one of those games where it’s more important what you do than what they do because we’re both blind,” said Hart. “I’m guessing by their purchases and their selections what type of game they’re going to play but it’s just a matter of us settling down as quickly as possible into our task.”
The match kicks off at 8 p.m. AST on Sunday and Wanderers fans can stream the match online at https://onesoccer.ca/ which is free for a one month trial period, followed by a special rate for season ticket holders.
You can also take in the game at one of our pub partners who will be showing the live stream.
Athens, Auction House, Durty Nelly’s, Freemans (Downtown, Quinpool, Fairview, Sackville), Hali-Mac Axe Throwing and The Pint are all showing the game live.
Our Privateers 1882 supporters group are kicking off the season with a viewing party at Niche Lounge starting at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Come on you Wanderers!