Coach's Corner

Cheers and Jeer - 2008

Southern Gazette August 12. 2008

By Gord Dunphy

Cheers and Jeer - 2008

Now that the season is in full swing I’ll take a look at the good and the bad of both minor and senior soccer this season. I’ll cheer the positive and I’ll jeer at what I consider are the negatives.

Cheers: To the Burin Peninsula Soccer Association, headed by my brother, Shane and his executive. They definitely have soccer on the Burin Peninsula headed back in the right direction.

This season the Burin Peninsula has totally focused on getting all communities involved and the way to do this is to get soccer back at the minor level. That’s exactly what the BPSA is doing.

Currently the BPSA has teams registered in the Under 10, Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 age categories. The Burin Peninsula also has an Under 15 Boys and Girls Teams competing in the Provincial Summer Games.

At the senior level, Burin, St. Lawrence, Grand Bank and the BPSA Under 16s are playing in an intermediate league. At the masters’ level, the BPSA has two teams – St. Lawrence and Marystown. Then, of course you have the St. Lawrence Laurentians competing from the Burin Peninsula at the Provincial Challenge Cup Level.

Jeers: The number of qualified and proficient officials in this province certainly is having a negative toll on the game at all levels of soccer. Basically, officiating may be described as being in total disarray at the club level and at the regional level.

I’ve seen some dandy officiating this season at the Challenge Cup Level, and I’ve even happened to witness some games at the Jubilee Trophy where their league had some no-shows.

Clubs must hold the majority of the responsibility for training officials. They must recruit and encourage young individuals to get involved. I feel local associations should absorb all costs for registration and they should provide uniforms to individuals of interest. The uniforms would remain the property of the local club, the same as one’s soccer uniform.

The qualification process should become a little more relaxed and the NLSA needs to be more flexible. People who have spent a lifetime around the game, and have a vast amount of soccer knowledge, should not have to do the basic referring courses if they are not officiating games at the top level. For someone to tell me anyone with the knowledge of a George Cooper or an Albert Anstey Sr. is not qualified to referee or run the line for an intermediate or masters’ game ought to be checked.

Let’s get real folks, they may not be registered but they are more than qualified. Sure, I realize at the Jubilee Trophy and Challenge Cup levels and in all Provincial Tournaments you must require proper qualified officials. But my take is at recreation levels, such as the intermediate and masters, you do require people who know the game but somewhere one must learn how to work with rules rather than allowing those rules to work against us.

Cheers: To the Provincial Under-14 league that has been set up with teams competing from Western, Central and the Burin Peninsula. This is definitely a step in the right direction for player development.

Jeers: To the Avalon Region who failed to register a single team in the Provincial Under-14 age category despite the Metro League Under-14 teams having seven registered teams. Three of these teams play out of St. John’s while CBS, CBN, Paradise and Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s also have teams in this league.

Cheers: To the St. Lawrence Laurentians for winning the Under 18 ‘B’ Provincial Championships. The Laurentians went undefeated in this tournament. They defeated Labrador West 4-0, ASIA of St. Pierre 5-0, Exploits Valley 4-0 and Placentia 4-1 in round-robin play. In the championship game they defeated St. Pierre and Miquelon by a 6-0 score.

Jeers: Again to the St. John’s region of the province for failing to compete in this Under-18 Provincial ‘B’ Tournament. The St. John’s Under-18 ‘B’ team opted not to play in this tournament, but instead are to play in the Provincial Intermediate Mega Tournament. This is totally wrong.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association should compel a minor team to play in the provincial tournament in their age category. Should they fail to compete at this level, they should not be allowed to go to any other Provincial Tournament. This season the St. John’s ‘B’ team plans on entering the Intermediate Mega tournament, which is again totally wrong.

Cheers: To past St. Lawrence Soccer Associations for having the gumption to stand for club soccer programs, as they did in the past. Club soccer is the basis of soccer development and the Laurentians are a surviving proof that with proper guidance and direction it works. Jeers: To the current St. Lawrence Soccer Association for allowing the all-star approach to quietly creep into your system. If the Laurentians are not going in the all-star direction, someone would have to do a little explaining to me here?

The St. Lawrence Laurentians’ Challenge Cup team is well on its way to being a Burin Peninsula All-Star team. The proof to this is their present roster. The current St. Lawrence Under-18 team, which is supposed to be a club team, had four Burin Peninsula all-star players added to its roster for the 2008 Provincial Tournament Under 18 ‘B’ Tournament. These four all-stars are non-residents of St. Lawrence. St. Lawrence should have gone with a team comprised of all St. Lawrence/Lawn players for the Provincial ‘B’ Tournament. The St. Lawrence club really didn’t need any additions. The Provincial “B” tournament is relatively weak and this is backed up the scores and further demonstrated by the fact St. Lawrence outscored their opponents by a 23-1 margin and the final was a very one sided 6-0 score for St. Lawrence. This tournament should have been followed up by the Under-18 ‘A’ all-star team. ‘A’ tournaments are documented as All-Star Tournaments. Instead, all the Burin Peninsula all-stars played in the Provincial ‘B’ Tournament, be it with St. Lawrence or with the Placentia team. We should have a Burin Peninsula Under-18 ‘A’ team, which would be comprised of the Laurentians’ best Under-18 players, the four all-stars St. Lawrence added to its ‘B’ team from the region and the other five players who went to Placentia, also of All-Star status. Instead only St. John’s has entered an Under-18 ‘A’ team and this team will now go straight to the Nationals uncontested. There is no other region of the province with an Under-18 ‘A’ team, which is totally ridiculous.