Adelaide University Black look to build on its positive results since a return to the Collegiate Soccer League (CSL) last year.

The AUSC Black CSL First Team finished third in the league last season, which meant they narrowly missed out on promotion to Division Two.

In preseason this year, first team coach Lucas Barsby was informed that his squad would be promoted, as Division Two team, Port Adelaide Pirates, chose to be relegated. The Pirates were expected to struggle to field a team for the upcoming season.

However, the Blacks’ promotion celebrations were short lived as the Pirates changed their mind and the Adelaide Uni team were told they will remain in Division Three for the upcoming season.

“Promotion is gonna be tough this year, it’s gonna be hard, but we’ve put in a hard preseason,” Barsby said.

Wasting no time in preparing for the upcoming season, AUSC Black CSL teams started preseason training early. “We started training from January 10, the boys are in excellent condition and we’re looking forward to a strong tilt at promotion for 2021,” Barsby said.

In past years, preseason preparations began in late January or early February.

In another departure from the norm of previous seasons, the AUSC Black CSL leadership group have announced they will field four squads instead of the usual three: First Team, Reserves and C Side.

“Having a fourth AUSC Black team is exciting for us because it allows more players to play the game that we love every week,” Barsby said.

“Last year we had a lot of guys sign up, which was really surprising considering how difficult it was with the impact of COVID but this time off really allowed people to understand that they love the game.”

Barsby announced the extra team will be entering Division Five, which is higher than the current C Team.

“What we hope is that it becomes a competitive environment where guys can play at a level they can develop and get themselves ready for the Reserves and First Team and there’s not as big of a gap between the Division Three and the new Division Five team,” Barsby said.

The AUSC Black CSL First Team and Reserves will be coached by Barsby, while the C Team will be coached by William Skinner and Rajan Jadhav. The new team will be coached by Marin Poljak, Bing Yap and Tomas Macura, Barsby announced.

The AUSC Black CSL teams have finished preseason, and their first matches for the season are scheduled for 10 April at their West Beach home ground against Plympton Bulldogs. Spectators have been allowed to attend in accordance with COVID-19 directions.

Photo: William Chau