The Laurentains of 2003

The Laurentians 2003 squad will certainly portray a much more youthful image than the Laurentians of 2002. Last year the Laurentians were named NLSA and Sport Newfoundland and Labrador “Team of the Year”.  The following players will be lost from the 2002 National Men’s Challenge Cup Silver Medallist are future Hall of Famers Paul Slaney, Harry Kelly, Scott Bishop and Bob Spearns. Both goalkeepers from last years Laurentians team are not available. Former Laurentians 2002 star goalkeeper Pat Byrne has a work commitment with a Canadian oil company, based out of St. John’s, and will no longer will able to play. A teaching position in Korea will keep goalkeeper Shane Etchegary off the rock. Now that Alex Turpin has reached the ripe age of 31 years, he opted to test the free agency market and after receiving several offers to rejoin the Laurentians, Alex felt it would be more beneficial to his career to move on and play with Mount Pearl in 2003.

Coach Edwards is Back

Back for his ninth year as a head of the Laurentians is Coach Junior Edwards. Edwards was NLSA and Sport Newfoundland and Labrador “Coach of the Year” in 2002. In 2003, Derek Strang will assist him. Mr Strang is Edward’s third consecutive assistant coach in the last three years. In 2001, Myles Kennedy assisted Junior and in 2002 a former Laurentians 1970’s player Greg Quirke was assistant coach. Actually in 2002, Greg was assigned the duties as acting head coach for June and July while Edwards was out of the province working.

Experience and Youth

Back from last year are starters Richard Kelly, Rudy Norman, Andrew Perrot, Paul Slaney, Clinton Edwards, Blair Aylward, Chris Caines, and Adam Loder.
Vying for the other two starting positions will be Robert Kelly, Sheldon Slaney, Eddie Turpin, Earl Turpin, Jeff Slaney, Darren Pike, Marc Pittman and Ryan Drake. From this group, Robert Kelly should be a shoe-in. He should have a guaranteed position as centre back playing with Clinton Edwards.

New Goalkeepers

Both keepers are young but I feel John Douglas of Grand Bank will be the starter. I was recently informed by Vince Pickett that Douglas has bailed out on Marystown after he had made a commitment to play for them. It seems to me that the young kids now are only willing to play for a prospective winning team. In 2002, John played Challenge Cup for Mount Pearl. It was felt at that time that Mount Pearl was to be a serious contender due to the fact that they had six players from the 2001 Newfoundland and Labrador Canada Games Team. This year, he was committed to Marystown and now, here he is in St. Lawrence. I was also informed that when last year's Challenge Cup MVP, Matthew Prim, was chosen to start in net for MUN over John Douglas, again John quit that team. This year’s back-up keeper for the Laurentians is young and promising N.J. Edwards from Lawn.

Jeff Warren A Laurentian?

Why do the Laurentians want or need a Jeff Warren? How come Jeff Warren, who captained last years Marystown squad has bailed out on them? As elder statesmen of the game you would probably think that Jeff would be more concerned for the survival of the game than his own personal interests. Is it because he only wants to play with a potential winner? It sure appears that way! This attitude seems to be very selfish to me. Jeff Warren is now 35 years of age and yes, Jeff as a 20, 25 or a 30-year-old player could have helped the Laurentians but that’s in the past. If I were going to see a 35-year-old Laurentian player on the field helping the youth, I would love for it to be Paul Slaney, Harry Kelly or Scott Bishop. To see this former Eagle taking the place of some Laurentian kid is absolutely ridiculous! He should never be allowed to don the Laurentians “blue” at this stage in his career. This should be a year to give the young players an opportunity to show their stuff. The soccer association and fans of St. Lawrence should NOT tolerate it and from what I am hearing, the faithful Laurentian fans are generally not pleased.

Gord Dunphy is a former Challenge Cup 1990's All - Star coach of the St. Lawrence Laurentians and National Bronze Medallist. He can be reached by e-mail at gorddunphy@email.com