Marystown United in 2003

As I sat back on Tuesday, June 17, watched the NTV Evening News and viewed Jim Furlong’s segment of “ Reflections” which dealt with the sport of soccer, I began to reflect myself. Mr Furlong talked about the Burin Peninsula being the hotbed of soccer, and yes we were, but not anymore.

New Direction Needed

Gone are those glory days.  Soccer, as I see it today on the Burin Peninsula, is in total chaos with very little being done by the Burin Peninsula Soccer Association to address the problem. To start with, a new direction is required here and it should start right at the top. Again in 2003, there is no senior soccer played in Grand Bank, Burin, Lawn, or Fortune. Even when I was first introduced to playing senior soccer at the Burin Peninsula level, both Lamaline and Garnish participated in senior competition. In order to get back on track at the 1st division level I feel a complete review at the minor soccer program has to happen before the problems of senior soccer can be addressed. I think that the minor soccer programs in the communities of Grand Bank & Fortune, Marystown & Burin and St. Lawrence & Lawn must realize that these neighbouring communities must work under the umbrella of one association before the Burin Peninsula will reach a realistic accomplishment of having three senior clubs. Again, I will reiterate, the Burin Peninsula Soccer Association needs new blood and some new leadership!

United’s Future In Trouble

From what I witnessed in the first week of competition in 2003, Marystown is on the verge of being in deep trouble in future Challenge Cup competition. Although Marystown presently has a minor soccer enrolment of over 200 participants, their program is struggling to have teams in any age category over 14 years of age. A further indication of Marystown’s trouble is the fact that when the two outsiders, Jeff Warren and John Douglas opted out, Marystown United struggled during their first weekend of competition, losing both home games to Corner Brook and Mount Pearl. This organization lacks depth.

Edwards’ become Saviours

Back for game three, playing against Holy Cross and leading them in a 2-1 victory were the duo of Scott Edwards and his brother Craig. Both of these players although now residing in St. John’s, are from Marystown, having grown up and attended school there. I’m sure it is from these experiences that Craig and Scott have obtained a heart of green as a “Mariner” and now a “United”. I understand that Scott talks about goal-tending duties and feels he should be the number one keeper of today. I certainly do agree with him. His 13 years of contributing to senior soccer in Marystown must be worth something to the organization and it should be that way. Scott has been loyal to Marystown over the years and the team and Coach Pickett should respect this past show of loyalty. I strongly support Craig and commend him in supporting his brother’s cause. In 1996, when I went to Lawn to coach the Shamrocks in Challenge Cup competition, my brother Darin supported me by suiting up to play with the Shamrocks. During my coaching and playing career, I won my fair share of provincial championships and individual awards, but it was Darin’s show of support and the support of my family that I haven’t forgotten and never will. For me, it is these intangibles that I experienced while I was involved with the sport that are more important to me than any of the trophies I have won.
Scott Edwards is a quality individual and a very good goalkeeper who has always strived and dedicated himself towards perfection.  Meanwhile, Craig has been noted to be an all-star sweeper who can play and would be considered be an asset to any amateur soccer club in this country. Combine these players with Marc Coady, David Stewart, Darrell Stewart, Jeremy Taylor, Howie Drake, Colin Power, Siam Grobler, Jamie Hickey and Johnny Pickett and the United team will hold their own in 2003. Hopefully when the opportunity presents itself, the United will also develop the younger players John-Paul Handrigan, Graham Abbott, Steven King, Nicholas Hurley, Josh Moulton, Chad Chislett, and Bernard Hickey.

The In-Vince-able Pickett

Vince Pickett is back as head coach in 2003 and is assisted by 1999’s Challenge Cup  all-star coach, Mel Stacey. Vince’s love for the game of soccer can’t be questioned but the constant controversy, which surrounds him, must be looked at.  For the past 35 years Vince has been involved with the sport and over the course of this time, he certainly has contributed to the development of the game. He is technically sound with his knowledge, but it is the hullabaloo which surrounds his environment, that takes away from his ability. In the past, Vince has pushed the promotion of the all-star program for what it was worth, and now it is obviously showing that Burin Peninsula club-based teams can’t survive by promoting only elite players. Coach Pickett’s accomplishment as National Silver Medallists while being the head coach of the Men’s Newfoundland and Labrador Canada Games soccer team in 2001 was an incredible feat in itself.
Recently, I spoke with Vince and told him how myself and many more Laurentians are disgusted about how he repeatedly refers to the people of St. Lawrence as being selfish when it comes to soccer and wanting to win at all costs. Vince replied in a very humble manner, "Maybe I have been too harsh on you guys and I’m glad you mentioned that to me. I realize that there are a lot of good people in St. Lawrence and I certainly respect St. Lawrence as being the soccer capital, as do many others throughout Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada, but it is the St. Lawrence Soccer Association and the Laurentians coach which upsets me most. They must realize that in order for this game to survive, players from St. Lawrence should participate with provincial teams and the Laurentians shouldn’t accept players from outside their program, especially players who had committed to Marystown, because the St. Lawrence’s program is very healthy". He went on to say "it is the powers to be at the Burin Peninsula Soccer Association and Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association that must become involved and not let this sort of thing happen."  I then reminded Vince that it was in 2001 that he was the person trying to have the Canada Games team become the Gee Bees and compete for the Challenge Cup after the completion of the Canada Games. Vince just laughed saying, "That’s a different matter".

Dunphy’s Details: My Challenge Cup forecast for 2003 is St. Lawrence, Mount Pearl and Holy Cross will end the regular season in Tier 1.  St. Lawrence and Mount Pearl will be vying for the Bobby Breen Memorial Cup. I think Fieldians, Marystown and Corner Brook will be relegated to Tier 2 after the completion of the regular season. Presently, I am in the process of constructing a website dedicated to Coach’s Corner.  Once the site is constructed it can be viewed at www.coaches-corner.net

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