Each year as the soccer season progresses, you can be guaranteed that a number of controversial subjects will arise before the seasonís end. This year has been no exception. In this article, I will first inform you of a number of these controversial issues and then I will give you an answer to how I feel each of these topics should be resolved.
Issue #1. Topping the list as the most controversial issue surrounding soccer in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2004 is the fact that the format which was to determine which team is the host the Provincial Challenge Cup /Jubilee Shield Trophy was not even put in place as of the first week in August, 2004.This tournament is scheduled annually to take place on Labour Day weekend.
Answer: Provincial soccer leaders, including NLSA President Doug Redmond, Challenge Cup Commissioner and NLSA Vice President Kevin Pittman, along with Burin Peninsula Soccer Association President Newman Bartlett have failed miserably on this issue. Although the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association informed the BPSA at their Annual General Spring Planning Meeting that the Burin Peninsula would be the host for the Provincial Challenge Cup/Jubilee Shield Trophy in 2004.
Keeping this in mind the provincial leaders failed to enforce their own rules which are contained in the ď2004 Rules and Regulation ManualĒ. In this manual, Rule 6.2.3 states that regions must notify the NLSA office of the exact tournament site by June 15th. In this same booklet, Rule 6.2.4 clearly states that if appointed regions have not determined a site for their provincial tournament by June 15th, the appropriate NLSA Vice President and NLSA office, in cooperation with the Regional Director, will choose the site. The respective leaders, doing their job in showing leadership skills and adhering to their rules booklet, very easily could have resolved this dispute. Why didnít the Burin Peninsula Soccer Association simply say that the top place team on the Buri n Peninsula would determine the host centre, as it has been for the last 15 years?
Issue # 2. Refereeing has certainly been a major point of controversy in Provincial Challenge Cup competition in 2004.
Answer: Iíve been informed that only officials that are considered to be the cream of the crop will qualify to participate in Provincial Challenge Cup/Jubilee Shield Trophy Championships on Labour Day Weekend. Maybe itís high ti me that only worthy officials who qualify to participate in Provincial Challenge Cup/Jubilee Shield Trophy Championships on Labour Day weekend should qualify to officiate in theses same leagues in 2005. The remaining officials who donít qualify should be relegated to spend some more time officiating at lower levels of soccer to upgrade their skill levels. Simply put, the NLSA senior official Mario Simon along with NLSA Provincial Assessor Jean (Lake) Thompson and NLSA provincial Vice President Kevin Pittman a long time referee himself, should start issuing some yellow and red cards to their own officials!
Issue # 3. Yet again in 2004, the scores for NLSA entries at the National All-Star tournaments for the Under-14 & Under-16 Girls and Boys were a total embarrassment.
Answer: National All- Star tournaments must be divided into a two-tier system. Itís has been proven time and time again and itís quite obvious a one-tier system is not working for our province and Iíve got the stats to prove it once more. First of all you must realize that each team that represented our province play only four games and it costs $30,000.00 per team to enter this sort of competition. In the Under-14 and Under-16 Boys played at Surrey, British Columbia. The Under-16 Boys were outscored by their opponents by a total of 23-2 for a last place finish. The Under-14 Boys were outscored 19-5 for a sixth place finish. In the Under-14 and Under-16 Girls played at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. The Under-16 Girls were outscored by their opponents by a total of 28-4 for an eighth place finish. The Under-14 Girls were humiliated and outscored 15-0 for a ninth place finish. I would also like to remind you that Soccer New Brunswick has voluntarily bowed out of this All- Star competition, realizing that their kids canít compete at this level and they also feel that to pay $120,000 is a total waste of money.
Issue # 4. In 2004 there is - "No" : No Burin Peninsula 1st Division League. No Burin Peninsula Masters League. No Burin Peninsula Intermediate League. No Burin Peninsula Ladies League. And no Burin Peninsula Minor ďAĒ Teams participating in any of the Under 14, 16,or 18 age group competitions
Answer: New blood and new faces must come forward and get involved in the running of the Burin Peninsula Soccer Association. At the last BPSA meeting interest was expressed to have a Masters League (St. Lawrence and Lawn), Intermediate League (St. Lawrence, Lawn, and Burin) and a First Division Burin Peninsula Championship (St. Lawrence and Marystown). Obviously none of this could materialize because the present BPSA executive who consists of Newman Bartlett, Randy Douglas, Judy Kelloway, Connie Mercer and Don Hannam have not even had a BPSA general meeting for nearly two months. However, I do realize that some of these individuals have been involved in a number of soccer related trips and they may have lost focus. Judi Kellloway travelled on a seven -day training tour with the Ladies Canada Summer Games to the International Ian Rush Tournament played in Wales. Connie Mercer travelled to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan as NLSA representative when the All-St ar Girls Under-14 and Under-16 teams participated in National competition. Newman Bartlett and Randy Douglas joined with a Burin Peninsula delegation as they travelled to St. Pierre to participate in the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the ASIA club. Somehow, I think that may say it all!
Gord Dunphy is a former 1990ís Challenge Cup All - Star coach of the St. Lawrence Laurentians and National Bronze Medallist. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com