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Coach’s Corner


At this point I would like to take a look at what I saw in various aspects of ‘Senior Men’s Soccer’ in the province thus far this season.

Gord Dunphy

NL Canada Games team: Although this team doesn’t fall in the ‘Senior Men’s’ category it competed in the Molson Challenge Cup League and had a respectable record this season. They recorded five wins and 10 losses in a 15-game schedule.

Indeed respectable considering they are minor in age but one must remember this Under-18 team is comprised of the best Under 18s coming from all corners of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I must vouch they were great ambassadors for the NLSA.

They showed nothing but class when they visited the French Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, playing in a three game exhibition. In the meantime, the people of SPM treated the NL Games Team like royalty.

Masters Qualifiers: Clubs entered in this qualifying tournament must commit to travel to the Eastern Canadian Championship should they win the championship. The tournament was held July 26-28 in St. John’s with four entries – Holy Cross, Mount Pearl, Feildians and Molson/Duke of Duckworth.

Mount Pearl won the championship and now will travel to Quebec to represent the NLSA in September. The championship final with Holy Cross was a barnburner. Holy Cross tied the game at 3-3 with two late goals in the dying minutes. Mount Pearl then won on PKs (penalty kicks).

The NLSA has more masters soccer is scheduled. The All-NL Masters ‘A’ and ‘B’ championships are scheduled to be hosted by the BPSA from Sept. 6-8.

Provincial Intermediate Tournament: The BPSA played host to the Provincial Intermediate this past weekend. It was a six-team tournament.

Two teams representing the Avalon Peninsula – CBS and Burin Eagles. Yes, the Burin Eagles, they are an intermediate club registered with St. John’s Soccer Association and play a regular schedule in the St. John’s Soccer League.

Two clubs from the Burin Peninsula – St. Lawrence and Marystown, two teams from St. Pierre and Miquelon – the ASIA from St. Pierre and the ASM club from Miquelon.

Regular Schedule Challenge Cup: The Molson Challenge Cup schedule will conclude its 75 game schedule tomorrow night. It’s been a long season for sure. From all reports I’m getting, the clubs have enjoyed the increase in number of regular season games. This year all Challenge Cup clubs played a 27 game schedule.

Challenge Cup Favourites:  In 2013, the Molson Challenge Cup League is probably the most competitive I’ve ever seen. However, I’m sure the bookies would have to rank Holy Cross as the favourites. After all, they are the four-time defending champions and again in 2013, Holy Cross has clinched the Bobby Breen Memorial Trophy, which goes to the first place team in the regular season schedule.

Contenders: St. Lawrence, Feildians and Mount Pearl are the other three Challenge Cup play-off clubs this season. One would have to agree all three clubs are legitimate contenders in 2013.

This can be based on the mere fact all three contenders have defeated each other this season. In addition to that, to date, both the Feildians and St. Lawrence have defeated Holy Cross.

Tyler Forsey: He’s got to be the most gifted goal scorer to come along and play in the Molson Challenge Cup season in over a decade. To score a goal a game in the sport of soccer is a major accomplishment. It’s somewhat overwhelming!

This year Tyler has scored 28 goals in 25 games with two games remaining. His goals haven’t only come against the young NL Canada Games or the CBS Challenge cup entry; he has scored goals against every team in the league. He was named NLSA’s Player of the Month for May and July, and the Telegram named him ‘Athlete of the Week’ during the first week of July.

All-Stars & Award Winners: The process for selecting Molson Challenge Cup All-Stars and individual award winners is a process where each coach will nominate their players from their team for selection. The coach will select their top goalie, top two fullbacks, top two midfielders and top two forwards. From this group the all-star team is selected.

The individual awards are done in a similar process. Coaches submit who they feel is their MVP, top defender, rookie candidate and their most gentlemanly and effective player. From these nominees a voting process occurs by a selection committee and the award winners are chosen.

Challenge Cup Play-off Format: The current structure for the Molson Challenge Cup Play-offs is the same as it has been for the past three years. The tournament is scheduled for St. Lawrence.

Game one will be played Friday, Aug. 30, and will feature the first place Holy Cross team playing the fourth place team at 1 p.m. Game two will feature the second place St. Lawrence Laurentians team playing the third place team at 4 p.m.

The Molson Challenge Cup championship game will see the winners of game one playing the winner of game two, which is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 1 at 3 p.m.

Gord Dunphy is a former Challenge Cup 199’s All-Star coach of the St. Lawrence Laurentians and National Bronze Medalist. He can be followed on ‘Twitter @GordDunphy’ or be reached by e-mail at ‘gorddunphy@email.com’.

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