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Preserving St. Lawrence’s soccer story

The St. Lawrence Soccer Association has started a project to publish a book about the history of the sport in the community. Researcher David Williams, left, and Hubert Beck, the association’s president, visited The Southern Gazette’s office in Marystown recently to scan though the newspaper’s archives as part of their research.
The St. Lawrence Soccer Association has started a project to publish a book about the history of the sport in the community. Researcher David Williams, left, and Hubert Beck, the association’s president, visited The Southern Gazette’s office in Marystown recently to scan though the newspaper’s archives as part of their research. - Paul Herridge

Book in the works to document game’s long history in the town

ST. LAWRENCE, N.L.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

CANADA

A few things come to mind when you think of St. Lawrence.

Yes, many know the town’s tragic history of mining fluorspar.

There’s also the heartbreaking sinking of a pair of American navy ships – the USS Truxtun and USS Pollux – in the midst of a winter’s storm during the Second World War and the loss of hundreds of lives.

Ask Hubert Beck, however, and he’ll tell you St. Lawrence is most well-known for soccer.

Beck, the longest-serving president in the St. Lawrence Soccer Association’s 114-year history, was in Honduras last year when he ran into an Irishman who asked him about the shirt he was wearing.

It featured the St. Lawrence Laurentians’ logo.

The man knew all about St. Lawrence and the town’s connection to soccer.

“That’s after happening to me numerous times,” Beck said, adding many Laurentians can tell similar stories.

Unlike the aforementioned tragedies, Beck will also tell you as yet there is no book that thoroughly documents the sport’s long history in the town.

That effort is now underway.

Beck has been thinking about the project for a while, but now is a crucial time to see it through, he said, ruefully noting the growing number of his friends passing away.

With them, a wealth of knowledge about the game and its history in St. Lawrence often also vanishes.

“Most of them got boxes of awards and books and paper clippings and everything, and some of that eventually gets lost, too,” Beck said.

“I’ve been talking about (a book) for several years. This year we finally got it off the ground.”

The organization has received government funding for an initial 12-week program to collect information and began the process about three weeks ago. Beck has brought David Williams, a retired teacher, onboard to help with the research.

“It is my hope maybe sometime in 2020, I’m thinking, that we will publish a book that will have as much information as possible about our history,” Beck said.

He envisions a book that will look at the bigger picture of soccer’s history in St. Lawrence, as well as sections about a few individual players – icons of the sport in the community. Some of the various chapters will focus on team captains, winning teams, goalkeepers, and players who have been inducted into halls of fame.

Beck, who hopes the research uncovers some new material, pointed out items of interest are scattered around amongst various people.

“What I’m trying to do with this book is put all the bits and pieces together,” he said.

No doubt there’s a lot of history to research since that first documented organized game of soccer in St. Lawrence in 1904, and Beck said the project keeps growing.

“Every week when Dave and I sit down, our books is evolving into a little bit of a different direction because things are snowballing, our prioritizing level is changing,” he said.

Beck noted anyone who feels they have something that would be of interest for the book can send him an email at hbeck100@yahoo.ca, call him at (709) 873-2564/7719, or get in touch through Facebook.

paul.herridge@southerngazette.ca

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