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Quality Inn - Sudbury
Paul Lefebvre - MP for Sudbury
Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019
A big Cup contest for a team without a league
by Randy Pascal

Without a league to play in this summer, the GSSC (Greater Sudbury Soccer Club) Impact U13 girls understandably have to make the best of every other opportunity that presents itself. That philosophy will be foremost in the minds of the local youth, as they welcome Muskoka FC for a Huronia District Soccer League (HDSL) Cup contest on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. at the Delki Dozzi Sports Complex.

Despite not taking part in regular season HDSL play – the Impact are looking to join the central Ontario loop for the summer of 2019 – the Sudbury crew have been granted special entry for the internal mid-season mini-tournament. Still, expectations are tempered, as coaches Joe Snofl, Giuseppe Politi and Chad Whitmore prepare to take their crew into battle.

“Half of us have played for a while, but lots of the girls are pretty new to this team,” explained Sydney Coe, an accomplished alpine skier and track and field athlete, in her own right. There is, however, a good reason for this.

“This is the first time, at U13, that they form as a true competitive team,” added Politi, who also serves as Club head coach for the GSSC organization. “This is a team that was born out of the U12 developmental program, and they're going through the growing pains of coming together as a team.”

“We've been working on positioning, and working the ball into the other team's zone, and keeping it out of ours,” said Coe. “We try and get the ball to the sides, as much as possible, so that they don't have lanes to go and shoot.” Conversely, as the primary striker for her team, the grade seven student at MacLeod Public School is looking to alter her approach, hoping to create a better look, in creating an attack.

“I'm fast, but I usually cut to the side when I have the ball, so then I don't have an open shot on net,” said Coe. “I have to work on cutting in more, to the center.” At the other end of the pitch, Politi, Snofl and company will look to 13 year old Kiana Levac to help anchor the back four, a born defender, if ever there was one.

“I like stopping the ball when it comes, I like pressuring people,” said Levac, who is joined on the squad by little sister and underager Kiara (Levac). “I try and steer them to the side so that they don't shoot. I like controlling the defence. I'm the one telling to move up, to shift. I guess I like being the boss.”

Saturday's match-up is a single game, winner take all, the victors moving on, with North Bay Selects vs Collingwood United and Innisfil Stampeders vs South Simcoe United meeting in the remaining games. Levac, for one, is thankful her team will enjoy home field advantage, at least in round one. “I would prefer playing here,” she said.

“This way, we don't need to drive far and we can be ready to play. We're more confident, we know the field better.” Regardless of the outcome, Politi is looking at long-term goals for the 2005 age bracket, the type of big picture approach that one can endorse if one has travelled this road with many teams before.

“It's a work in progress,” said Politi. “They have some potential. There is some natural athleticism here. You can see that they have picked up some cross-training athleticism from other sports. We've got dancers, we've got hockey players, we've got a variety, and that stuff is great for the development of the athlete in the long term. It's something to work with.”

Standing in the way, however, is a cause that Politi holds close to his passion for soccer. “The competition that they faced in the second tournament, the Barrie's, the Oshawa's, teams like that, they have soccer at their disposal for ten, eleven months of the year,” he said. “Hopefully, a facility will be built, because that is the difference, that is the biggest difference.”

In the meantime, the message from team staff is to help find improvement, wherever that may be. “It's more tactical now, understanding the tactics on a big field, because they just came from a three quarter sized field (9 on 9),” said Politi. “We still need to work on the technical part, being a lot more composed on the ball, making decisions under pressure.”

“We need to get them into environments when they can do that a bit more. That means playing out of district, and playing not just in the summer, but in the winter, as well.” And for this coming weekend, it means playing in Huronia District Soccer League Cup play.

The 2018 edition of the GSSC Impact 13U girls team is comprised of Andrea Begic, Kaja Beljo, Samantha Bourdon, Amanda Bourdon, Sydney Coe, Danika Gray, Kylee Hitchen, Addison Johnstone, Kiana Levac, Kiara Levac, Erika MacNeill, Siobhan Noble-Poland, Sophia Oommen, Mya Stewart, Abbey Walker and Hannah Whitmore.


Local teams in action last weekend included the Impact U21 men's team, who opened up a 3-0 lead against FC Durham Academy on Saturday on goals by Kristian Shuttleworth, Isaac Oilviera and Brandon Moxam (a very nice scissor kick strike), but welted in the oppressive heat, falling 6-3 to the league leaders.

The lads dropped a 4-3 decision to the Bradford Wolves the next day (Shuttleworth – 2, Moxam), and will be looking to settle in as they begin a five game homestand Saturday at James Jerome, hosting the GS United Youth Soccer Tigers.

Sudbury entries in the Ontario Women's Soccer League captured three of their four encounters last weekend, with the GSSC Impact U21 crew sweeping a pair of 1-0 games. North Bay native Trinity Desjardins found the back of the net in both contests, while Megan Coutu registered the shutouts against the Bolton Wanderers and Huronia Saints.

A four goal effort from Caitlyne Kervin pushed the Norther Soccer Academy U21 women past Huronia 4-2, with the NSA reps coming up just a touch short on Sunday, edged 4-3 by Bolton. Mia Cochrane, Madison Riley Barnes and Emma Lapointe pulled the trigger for the Sudbury squad.

Finally, the GSSC Impact U13 boys bounced back from an early season 5-0 loss to Barrie, earning a 1-1 draw in the rematch last Saturday at home. Nicholas McGee handled the scoring for coach Nick Mancini, netting his second goal of the year. McGee was joined on the scoresheet by Nathan Cranston, Malik Olanrewaju and John Campbell when the Impact stopped the North Bay Selects 4-1 earlier this month.

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