Luanne's first introduction to the sport of soccer came as a young child growing up in St. Lawrence. She was not content to watch her two older brothers, David and Jed, kick around the ball in the back yard. "When they would let me", Luanne would join in for fun.
It did not matter where or when, wherever there was a soccer ball, Luanne was there. At the time, however, while St. Lawrence had an excellent soccer program for boys, there was not anything formally organized for girls.
Yet Luanne was not deterred from playing the sport she loved. There were many young families in her neighbourhood and there was plenty of opportunity to find someone to kick with. She spent much time kicking around a soccer ball with Scotty Bishop in his front yard. This did not go unnoticed by Scotty's mother, Betty, whose brother happened to be Jim Loder. Jim obviously saw talent in the young girl and encouraged her to drop by the soccer pitch and register with the boys soccer program.
That's where it all began. Now, it did create a bit of a fuss in the Turpin household. Dad Vic was all for this while Mom Mary was a bit hesitant. Vic even had to take Luanne to Farrell's Store without Mary finding out to buy her first pair of soccer boots. Those boots spent much time hidden under the back steps - easily accessible as Luanne made her way to the field.
While playing in the minor system in St. Lawrence, Luanne gained much exposure and guidance from several talented and dedicated coaches. They included Jim Loder, Junior Edwards, Tom Tarrant, and many of her other idols.
After a couple of years, a ladies league had finally been developed and Luanne experienced her first Burin Peninsula Championship Trophy. She remembers the joy she shared with Dick, Winnie, Sonya, Lisa, Yvonne, her cousin Ellen, Eileen Kelly and a lot of other companions and team members.
Unfortunately, her life changed with the closure of the Alcan mine and her parents had a difficult decision to make. In 1979, with great regret, Vie and Mary were forced to move their family away from St. Lawrence to seek employment in another province.
However, Luanne was able to convince Vic and Mar' to let her stay for the remainder of the 79 season. She thanks her Aunt Priscilla Turpin for agreeing to let her stay there for the summer.
Upon arrival in Manitouwadge, Ontario, to start the school year, Luanne was again faced with a dilemma if she wished to continue to play soccer. There wasn't a girl's team there. "Here I go again," she thought. Well, she played with the boys before, why couldn't she do it again. So her brother Jed went to the boys soccer coach and quite emphatically and proudly told him that his sister could play as good or better than the guys he had on the team. She could and did.
Eventually, Luanne's family moved to Corner Brook. And in a matter of days after their arrival, the phone started to ring. Corner Brook had a well-established ladies league and word had gotten out there was a new player in town. Gone were the days of having to play with the boys since there were now several team options for her. She joined a house league team, and played Under-18 all-star as well as ladies senior A all-star. The following year, she helped the Corner Brook all-stars win the provincials and it was her first provincial championship to her credit.
There were many others while she played in Corner Brook and there were also many personal awards and achievements. Trophies for top scorer and MIVP were abound in the Turpin house.
Locally and provincially, Luanne's soccer talent was well known. But it was also known outside of the province as she represented Corner Brook at many Atlantic regional and several national championships.
Luanne's love for the sport was also passed along to her two younger sisters, Carmel and Norma, both of whom played for all-star teams in Corner Brook as well.
For many years Luanne enjoyed playing in Newfoundland. She played for what she describes as 16 glorious years of soccer. She has the scars to prove it.
But one thing she will never forget are the days of playing soccer for St. Lawrence. Those memories stay with her today. She will cherish them forever and will never forget her roots. Not only did it help her athletic achievements, it has made her successful in her career.
She thanks her parents, Vic and Mary, for their continuous support and encouragement. Once Mary got used to the idea, she was among her biggest fans. And Vie, well, in all kinds of weather he was there watching her play. In Corner Brook, where fan attendance was next to nil, there were many games when he was the only fan there, cheering on his daughter and her teammates. You can just imagine her embarrassment when he would sound the siren on his truck every time she scored.
While Luanne is unable to be here this evening, she is currently living in Scarborough, Ont., her thoughts are here. She is truly honored and quite overwhelmed that the St. Lawrence Soccer Association is naming her an inductee to the St. Lawrence Soccer Hall of Fame. She is proud to be among those who have received the honor, including her grandfather, David Molloy.
Quote: "I thank you for not forgetting me because I will never forget you. My congratulations also to the other inductees."