After a long winter of indoor training, Sigma FC opened their outdoor season with a series of matches against U.S. competition in Albany, N.Y.

And while the goal was to face some stiff NCAA competition and perform before U.S. college scouts, the trip was also a chance to stretch out indoor legs on a full outdoor field for the first time and prepare for the coming outdoor season.

According to Sigma FC Technical Director Bobby Smyrniotis, it was mission accomplished on all counts, as members of Sigma's A1 (U-18) and B2 (U-16) squads fared well.

Sigma A1 took the field first Saturday afternoon, after an overnight post-training bus trip from Mississauga's Rink City on Friday. The A1 squad faced MAAC Conference power Siena College Saints, featuring Sigma Alumni Emery Welshman, last season's MAAC rookie of the year.

Sigma held their own over the first 70 minutes of the 3x30-minute match, said Smyrniotis, holding Siena to one goal in each of the first two 30 minutes of play. Over the final 10 minutes, Siena capitalized on the road-weary Sigma players, scoring another three goals for a 5-0 final.

"All in all it was a very good game and experience and the scouts on hand were happy with many of our players which was most important," Smyrniotis said.

The B2 squad took the pitch against Blackwatch Academy U16 team in the second game of the day, playing to a 1-1 draw.

Said Coach Smyrniotis: "Very good game from both teams but you could see that our boys are still lacking match fitness as it was their first 11v11 match in months where the opponent just came off of state cup play and are full in season."

Sigma's B2 squad had another shot at Blackwatch U16s on Sunday morning, defeating their hosts 2-0.

"This time the boy's had some rest and fresher legs," said Smyrniotis.

The A1 squad battled the Blackwatch U18 academy team in the second match of the day, playing to a 1-1 tie. Coach Smyrniotis was pleased with the effort and the way Sigma dictated the tempo of the game and held possession of the ball.

"It was a very good match for our A1's against a top opponent," said Smyrniotis. "Our boys had a very good game by controlling the tempo and play for the majority of the match and we only have ourselves to blame for missing five golden opportunities during the match."

Coach Smyrniotis praised the work done by the Siena College coaching staff, giving the Sigma players a tour of the campus and a lecture on academics at Siena along with a Q&A session.

"It was a great experience for the boys and for a few of them helped raise their stock in the NCAA recruiting game, we would like to thank our good friends coach Ahmad Manning and coach Gareth Elliot for hosting us at SIENA" said Smyrniotis.

The B2 squads kick off their 2010 SAAC outdoor seasons this weekend. Check www.sigma-sports.net or www.academyleague.ca for information on game times and locations. The A1 team kicks off their season in early May with OSL U21 Cup Play.

Both squads will continue with the University tour schedule on April 25th when SIGMA visits Syracuse University.