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Impact boys now feeling much more at home in the CSL
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The welcome to the Central Soccer League was not all that welcoming for the Sudbury U13 Impact boys – at least not initially.

Coming off a strong season in the Huronia District Soccer League in 2019, the collection of 2008-born talent did not even know they had been accepted into the CSL this summer until just a couple of weeks prior to game action.

The results were somewhat predictable: a 7-0 loss to Cherry Beach followed by a 10-3 setback at the hands of Etobicoke SC (Dylan Nelson – 2 goals, Sullivan Smith with one).

“Our first weekend was against two of the top teams,” suggested head coach Dino Moretta, now in his 16th year of mentorship involvement with the sport. “Some of our kids had never played rep sports before – certainly not at this level. But to be honest with you, the kids played hard, right to the end.”

“I think the kids that had been there before, that had played rep, they kept on playing and the other kids fed off that energy.”

With two weeks before their next games, the GSSC crew regrouped. What a difference those fourteen days would make.

The Impact chalked up back to back ties, earning a 1-1 draw versus Whitby as Mishal Olanrewaju drilled home his first strike of the year, and then playing to a 4-4 tie with the Oshawa Kicks the next day. Dylan Nelson scored twice, with solo tallies coming courtesy of Maksim Beljo and Sullivan Smith.

“This is the first year of 11 v 11 for this group and there are a lot of new concepts for them,” said Moretta. “The biggest thing was explaining the formation to them and the functional play of every position. That’s kind of what we were trying to do, while introducing some strategy tactics.”

While a full summer off from game action might still allow for some individual training, it did little to develop the team concepts that are so critical as a foundation for success. “One of the biggest things that we stressed is support,” said Moretta. “It’s a quick game and even though it’s a big field, it can get crowded.”

“We really wanted the kids to help each other, find areas where your teammates can pass you the ball. We went over different strategies to make sure we had a way to move the ball around.”

“Defensively, we needed to maintain our compactness, to have them clog the middle and stay in their positions.”

But likely more encouraging than any individual skill that was demonstrated was a group mindset that bodes well for the path that lies ahead for the Sudbury U13 boys. “The kids really started to trust each other more, so the ball was being distributed to all of the players,” said Moretta.

“They were making good soccer decisions.”

The 2021 roster for the GSSC U13 Impact boys also includes Addison Denomme, Alessandro Moretta, Alfarouq Alzawi, Caleb Pearson, Carter Cantin, David Akero, Isaac Contois-Ndlovu, Kaden Wicklander, Lukas Morin, Macarthur Young, Masimo Toffoli, Mateo Bedoya, Mauro Cusinato, Michael Seccaspina, Russell Ranger and Thomas Dzivy.

The GSSC Impact U21 Women can also relate to the concept of constant improvement. After also dropping their first two games of the year, the northern gals are now unbeaten in their past four outings, a stretch which featured a timely six-point weekend this past Saturday/Sunday.

The Impact completed their home and home sweep of the Woodbridge Strikers, registering a 2-0 whitewash as Grace Cranston handled the offense with a two goal effort, while Lauren Fearn posted the shutout.

Facing Georgetown the next day, the locals exploded on the attack, burying eight balls in the back of the net en route to a 8-1 triumph. A hat trick from Cranston was accompanied by a two goal performance from Allie Weiler, with Jayda Cacciotti, Prezzley Hutchison and Kaitlyn Pressley capping things off.

Meanwhile, a pair of Sudbury squads would taste defeat for the first time this summer.

Following back to back wins on the road, the Impact U14 boys were blanked 2-0 by Pickering on Saturday, but managed to secure a point on the weekend thanks to a 1-1 tie with Darlington some 24 hours later. Braxton Ragogna accounted for the Sudbury scoring, recording his third goal of the year.

The GSSC Impact U16 girls would see their three game winning streak snapped in Oshawa as the Kicks stopped the northerners 3-0, improving their record to 5-0-0. Finally, the U16 Impact boys kept it close but could not get on the board, tripped up 1-0 by the visiting Kleinburg-Nobleton Soccer Club on Saturday.

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