With almost two full years between actual league games, ya - Carter Grenier, Nick McGee and the remainder of the GSSC (Greater Sudbury Soccer Club) U16 Impact Boys are more than a little excited to welcome the Wexford Soccer Club to town on Saturday.
With almost two full years between actual league games and a jump to the CSL (Central Soccer League) this summer, the U16 Impact can also be forgiven for not being all that sure of exactly what to expect come time for this highly anticipated outing.
(Who am I kidding? After two years off, every outing will be highly anticipated!)
"I think CSL defenders will be bigger, faster, stronger, so I'll have to keep working, making sure I'm bigger, faster, stronger to match their physical abilities," said McGee, a grade 10 student at St Charles College who celebrated his 16th birthday earlier this month.
Based on what he has seen in his prior years with the team, McGee is confident that this Sudbury crew are up to the task.
"Under pressure, we can regroup and play well, play a lot of though balls," noted the speedy forward. "Under pressure, we do really well. Even when we're losing, we tend to step up, make better passes, play cleaner, a lot more crisp."
Much of that will start with the back line - which is where Grenier and his cohorts come into the picture.
Suiting up with the Impact since he was 11 or 12 years old, the grade 10 student at College Notre-Dame is right at home when stationed directly in front of keeper Matthew Bodnar.
"I'm tall and I have some muscle weight on me, so I can hold the back line," said Grenier, who particularly excels at centerback. "I like to be vocal, get the team moving, let them know where to go."
He also shares the general optimism of his more offensive teammate when it comes to assessing how they might perform in their first crack in the provincial loop.
"Everyone knows what they're doing," said Grenier. "Everyone knows how to play, where to play. We all listen to the coach - and we've got good chemistry."
Now, it's just a question whether the hours of individual work that has been done in the past 16 months has been sufficient to allow them to remain competitive in a league where local entries have to battle tooth and nail, just to hold their own.
"I worked out a lot in the gym, lifting weights, then hitting the field with a couple of buddies on my own, practicing dribbling, passing, simple basics," said Grenier.
That kind of commitment might be even more crucial for the Impact lads from whom offensive production is expected.
"When I train on my own, it's good to focus on the basics: my first touch, controlling the ball - that's really going to help me in the game," suggested McGee. "I'm pretty fast, so I do like playing on the wings, but center forward is where you score the most goals."
With only a few years remaining prior to their post-secondary eligibility, all of the Impact gents realize that fine-tuning their existing base of skill is going to be key in terms of creating opportunities to play at the next level.
"My touches on the ball and my passes, my dribbling have to be spot on," said Grenier. "You don't want to be fumbling the ball, having stupid little mess-ups."
Not when the game that you love is the game you will finally get a chance to play - once again.
The remainder of the Impact roster features Cale Bast, Jack Campbell, Santiago Campbell-Martinez, Josafat Castillo, Nathan Cranston, Braydon Ethier-Perras, Vincente Gacitua, Finn Gould, Oscar Kunkar, Michael Nazaruk, Malik Olanrewaju, Blake Rosener, Mattheus Sousa, Tyler Thibodeau and coach Nicholas Walker.