Just as high-school soccer action wraps up, others slide in to fill the void.
Not only are the bulk of local recreational soccer leagues now up and running, but all of the GSSC (Greater Sudbury Soccer Club) Impact crew have now commenced league play.
Some of the most compelling games, early on, have come courtesy of the Impact U21 men’s team, even if they have yet to register a victory. Ultra close setbacks to both Asante Elite (1-0) and Sporting U21 (2-1) are clear signs that the Sudbury squad is not that far off at all, taking to the road this weekend to face both Union FC and the Bradford Wolves.
“We’re playing all of these teams from down south and they have a little bit of an edge on us – but we’re putting the work in during practice to get out fitness up and doing all of that good stuff to make sure that we’re ready,” said midfielder Gabe Campagnaro. “We’ll see the results next week.”
While he is confident the flip from losses to wins is nigh, the 18 year old coming off his first season with the Laurentian Voyageurs also believes that there is room for a little more tidying up in terms of the team composure.
“I just think that we really need to bear down,” said Campagnaro. “Sometimes we get a bit lost in the moment and lost in the emotions of the game. We pull ourselves out and then struggle to get back in. If we give our team a full ninety minutes, we will get better results. Other than that, we’re doing the best that we can, learning day by day.”
Technically speaking, there is nothing new with the focus that Campagnaro knows is needed to access some overall improvement.
“It’s just a matter of being more comfortable on the ball; that’s such a big thing,” he stated. “If you’re not comfortable on the ball, you’re going to feel nervous every time you get it and you’ll choke.”
“There’s a few training activities my coaches have provided me with, here and at Laurentian, and I’m very thankful for that.”
Goal scoring might be a challenge for the older Impact teams – but certainly not for the 11 v 11 newcomers. Both the boys and girls Impact U13 groupings have hit the ground running, with the young ladies finding the back of the net no less than 19 times in recording three convincing wins over Collingwood United (9-0), Muskoka United (5-1) and Nipissing District Soccer Club Lakers (5-1).
Ryann Chevrier leads the way with six goals, followed closely by Makenna Messier with four, and rounding out with Emma-Leigh Hasanefendic (2), Mia Beites(2), Reese Chaumont (2) and Ariana Tonkovic, Leah Serre and Eva Haraschuk, each with one.
The lads were only slightly less dominant as the U13 Impact boys blanked Collingwood United 4-0 in their only outing to date, with Noah Palladino picking up the shutout. Landon Lake-Rego scored twice to help power the locals to victory, with Jean David Draimond and Frank Lennan Nzotungwanimana striking for one each as the HDSL (Huronia District Soccer League) reps gain their footing on the same pitch utilized for the U21 encounters.
“Our emphasis right now is on positioning, 11 v 11, since that’s new to them and it’s a much bigger field,” acknowledged head coach Mario Ceccon. “We are trying to get them to let the ball do the work for them. Instead of running all over the place, let the ball do the running.”
Thankfully, the staff is building upon existing friendships, many of which extend to the soccer pitch with the U13 boys. “The majority of the kids that play on our team have grown accustomed to each other through the GSSC,” said Ceccon. “Not necessarily playing on the same team, per se, but playing against each other for the majority of their years of soccer.”
And while not all are soccer first athletes – certainly not a rarity in Sudbury – the man guiding the ship is more than pleased with the skill level he has at his disposal. “You do notice the foot skills for the soccer first kids, they stand out a bit, but the hockey kids more than hold their own,” said Ceccon.
“The hockey players that are on the team, they’re playing hockey at a competitive level, so they’re in great shape when they come in – and very athletic. It’s not very challenging to try and get them up to speed with their ball skills.”
The remaining members of the 2022 edition of the GSSC Impact U13 boys team includes Constantinos Urso, Roman Mamonov, Joshua Rioux, Domingo Quintana, Alex Campbell, Janssen Franssen, Mateo Cacciotti, Matteo Ceccon, Arthur Quieroz, Harry Yeamans, Asher Stevenson, Nick Alexander, Joshua Reich, Dominic D’Angelo, Connor Nicholson and Ryan Lewis.
Maybe it's just early season CSL (Central Soccer League play that the Impact U14 boys find challenging.
A slow start in 2021 eventually gave way to increasingly improved efforts for the team that earned a promotion from the HDSL last year. With two games in the books, the local lads are still trying to find their footing, falling to both DCFC Academy (7-0) and East York (4-1 – Donald Munygua with Impact goal).
Still, it is early, with newcomers like Dax Yurich still getting used to this level of competition.
“He is a great addition to our team,” noted team publicist Megan Nelson. “His strong and accurate throw-ins and nice passes up the field will come in handy this summer.” Working hard to the very end, the new and the old looked to show gradual improvement, making progress with each and every game and practice.
“Lukas Morin held the line, playing strong defense and looked to get the ball up the field,” noted Nelson. “His strong kick really paid off.”
Joining Munygua, Yurich and Morin with coach Dino Moretta this summer are Maksim Beljo, Mishal Olanrewaju, Leandro Muniz, David Akero, Sullivan Smith, Mateo Bedoya, Caleb Pearson, Emmanuel Boamah, Masimo Toffoli, Mauro Cusinato, Russell Ranger, Kaden Wicklander, Alfarouq Alzawi, Macarthur Young, Dylan Nelson and keeper Alessandro Moretta.
The Impact U21 women will be looking to hit the win column with a pair of home games this weekend, meeting up with the Woodbridge Strikers on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at the James Jerome Sports Complex, and then hosting Dixie Black at the same venue, same time, the very next day.
The Impact U15 girls will also enjoy home field advantage, just for the one encounter as Sudbury battles it out with Muskoka FC beginning at noon Saturday at James Jerome.