The Ryerson Rams soccer teams played their home openers at Toronto’s Downsview Park on Oct. 2. They were the first home games since March 2020, when the first COVID-19 lockdown cancelled all remaining Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and U SPORTS games and tournaments.
The entire 2020-21 season was also cancelled by USPORTS due to the worsening of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
Teams were allowed to practice and train together before the lockdowns increased further in-person restrictions.
The Rams women’s team, that lost their season opener 1-0 to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues at UofT, won the rematch 2-1.
UofT scored at 34th minute before Ryerson’s goals came from Christiana Daniel scored at 43rd minute and Skylar Sheehan-Alley at the 51st minute.
The Rams men’s team fell to the Varsity Blues 1-0 later that night after winning their season opener at UofT, 1-0.
Ryerson controlled possession for most of the match before UofT’s Colin O’Dwyer scored at the 72nd minute.
Following the match, Rams men's head coach Filip Prostran commented on what it meant to play in front of a home crowd again.
"It's a really great feeling today when we rolled in, just to be back playing soccer in the OUA again," said Prostran. "Obviously, a long break off so everyone was excited to get back, [and] go back to your old team that you're so accustomed to."
Further, Prostran discussed what it was like to get the team game ready after more than a year off due to the pandemic.
"I think there's not one approach for the whole team, I think every player has played a different amount of soccer and is physically prepared a little differently," he said. "To be honest, it's a slow and easy, custom approach - it's taking extra days off if a guy is hurting or feeling something. You know, it's not like before, where they got months as a team to prepare and get into preseason."
Goalkeeper Praveen Ahilan, who took some time off from USPORTS, talks about returning to play for the Rams and the crowd at the home opener.
"[I] took a couple years off of Ryerson, I forgot how it felt," said Ahilan. "It was a nice feeling seeing people that supported us for a couple years, it's nice seeing familiar faces again, and it was really refreshing after so many years off of OUA soccer."
The Rams’ next matches will be at Nipissing University against the Lakers on Oct. 8.
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