Let's preview and review some of the soccer happenings, which have occurred in our province at the provincial and the national scene this season:
Canada Games Men's Soccer Team again placing second for the second consecutive year in the Newfoundland Senior Challenge League.
Personally, I feel this is a marvelous feat for a group of 18 - 20 year old young men. With their only losses in 2001 coming to the undefeated Laurentians, hopefully this will give the games players a boost of confidence and a wealth of experience as they prepare for their National Tournament to be held in London Ontario from the August 20 - 25, 2001.
Head coach, Vincent Pickett, a National C License coach will finally get the opportunity to display his coaching talents at the national scene. The schedule of the Canada Games Team won't do our provincial entry any favours. Having to play in a three-team division with Alberta and the North West Territories with the top two teams matching up against British Columbia or Ontario could cause our placing to drop fairly early.
Coach's Corner prediction: Newfoundland to be seeded 6 - 7th for 2001.
In National Soccer All Star Competition played to date in 2001, the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec are again displaying their supremacy in the sport of soccer. In all of the tournaments in which these teams have participated in , it was one of the Big Four which placed in first, second, third, or fourth.
My advice to the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association is to start competing with the Atlantic provinces and when we succeed at this level we would then advance to the next level, national tournaments.
Obviously, we would save a considerable amount of money because it costs approximately $30,000 -$35,000 for a team to participate in a National soccer tournament to be held in Western Canada.
Under 17 Girls All Star Newfoundland Team's record at the national tournament held in Prince George B.C. from July 25 - 29, 2001 was as follows : Alberta 5 vs NFLD 0, B.C. 5 vs NFLD 1, Maritimes 2 vs NFLD 1, and Saskatchewan 3 vs NFLD 0
Marystown United will threaten the Laurentians for the Provincial Challenge Cup in 2001. The Marystown squad, with the return of Craig Edwards and Troy Pickett amalgamated with newcomers Brian Francis, Johnny Pickett and Goalkeeper John Douglas from the Newfoundland Canada Games Team, will definitely be a legitimate contender.
Just look at this starting line up:
Goal: Scott Edwards
Fullbacks: Craig Edwards, Brian Francis, Darrell Steward & Tony Pickett
Midfield: Jeff Warren, Troy Pickett, David Steward & Shannon Brushett / Dion Durdle
Strikers: Johnny Pickett & Scott Walsh
Lawn Shamrocks certainly should have had a Challenge Cup Soccer Team in 2001.
Take Alden Edwards, Jordan Fitzpatrick and Patrick Edwards back from the Marystown United and combine them with Brad Edwards, Toby Lockyer, and Morgan Edwards you would have a nucleus of a competitive Challenge Cup Team.
A mixture of those players with their young athletes from their intermediate squad would certainly be as spirited as any team I've watched this season.
Young goalie N.J. Edwards now playing with the Lawn Intermediates will be a top quality keeper at the Challenge Cup Level over the course of time with the proper coaching. Hopefully it will be the Lawn Shamrocks who benefit from this keeper's ability. N. J must develop in the goal, not patrolling fullback or midfield.
Meanwhile it looks like the Lawn Masters will three-peat as provincial champions. Possibly now that the Shamrock players have gotten a little wiser with age they are trying to recapture some of the Provincial Challenge Cup Titles which may have eluded them in the 80's era. I bet today they don't feel satisfied with only having won one Provincial Challenge Cup Title.
Under 15 Boys All Star Newfoundland Team's record at the national tournament held in Saskatoon Saskatchewan from July 25 - 29, 2001 was as follows: Ontario 13 vs NFLD 0, Alberta 7 vs NFLD 1, Maritimes 0 vs NFLD 1, and Manitoba 5 vs NFLD 0
Mount Pearl were the biggest disappointment of round one play in the Challenge Cup League.
The biggest problem I would identify is they are trying to measure themselves by how well they play against the top team in the league, the St. Lawrence Laurentians. Actually, against the Laurentians they looked impressive.
In order for this young team to go forward they must concentrate on learning how to win against weaker opposition. Look for Mount Pearl to become the top team in Tier II now that they won't be caught up with or startled by the St. Lawrence Laurentians.
St. Lawrence Laurentians generally host, on St. Lawrence Day, their toughest competitor in the league. On July 21, 2001 the Canada Games Team paraded into the lions den, Centennial Pitch, home soccer field of the Laurentians.
The Blue and White again were in true form, demonstrating a very high skill level, unparalleled by any other provincial soccer team. St Lawrence defeated Canada Games Team 4 - 1.
My biggest disappointment occurred when Richard Kelly, the most dominant player and number one star of the game, had the opportunity to get his third goal of the contest but was fouled by an opponent on a partial break away and the referee awarded St. Lawrence a penalty shot. Considering the circumstances with Richard leaving the Canada Games Team and a 2-0 lead by the Laurentians at the time I felt that Richard should have taken the penalty shot and given the chance to complete the hat-trick. Obviously the Laurentian coach felt differently.
Holy Cross top goal scorers after the first round of competition had a total of one goal each. I think that's says it all!!!!
Under 17 Boys All Star Newfoundland Team's record at the national tournament held in Prince George B.C. from July 25 - 29, 2001 was as follows: B.C. 7 vs NFLD 1, Quebec 1 vs NFLD 1, Manitoba 0 vs NFLD 0, and Saskatchewan 2 vs NFLD 0.
Ladies Soccer in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador somehow keeps blundering despite a very respectable National Bronze Medal by the Under - 17 St .John's team last season and a very impressive ladies Canada Games team which will travel to London, Ontario from August 15 - 20, 2001.
Coach's Corner prediction for the Ladies Soccer Team: to be seeded 5 - 6th for 2001.
For the last number of years we had no representation at the National Senior Ladies Jubilee Cup. In 2000 the NLSA was fined by the Canadian Soccer Association after Mount Pearl bowed out after a full commitment to enter competition.
Now in 2001 the BPSA have been fined by the NLSA because the Burin Peninsula team which was to be comprised of ladies from both the Burin and Marystown teams bowed out after committing to play in the Provincial Jubilee Cup Tournament on July 27, 2001 weekend.
Referee Kevin Pittman is now engaging to reach the 1500th game in which he has officiated. Kev has surpassed the 1400 game plateau and now is starting to dwindle down a little passing on some more of the crucial games to some younger officials.
His dedication to achieve the highest status has led him to achieve CSA ranking.
I feel Kev, despite having a very respectable career, had one off season officiating in 1995, the year I was Head Coach of the Lawn Shamrocks. He sure gave us one heck of a hard time but I guess it's the duty of an official.
I'm sure I wasn't his favourite coach back then either.
Under 15 Girls All Star Newfoundland Team's record at their national tournament held in Prince George, British Columbia from July 25 - 29, 2001 was as follows: Ontario 6 vs NFLD 1, Alberta 3. vs NFLD 0, Maritimes 0 vs NFLD 1, and Saskatchewan 1 vs NFLD 3
Feildians: How could you not feel for their coach Jim Hamyln? The man gives it everything that he's got but the end results for his team remain the same.
Media Personalities John Browne (The Telegram), Don Turpin (The Southern Gazette), Rick Farrell (The Southern Gazette), Mark Dwyer (The Newfoundland Herald) and Dee Murphy (The Newfoundland Herald & The Downhomer), should be recognized by local, regional, and provincial governing soccer bodies for their promotion of the game.
Their articles, in many cases, are more exciting than the actual games that are being played.