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Local soccer community welcomes newcomers with open arms
2024-02-06

While the construction of the Lancer Dome has been a breath of fresh air for off-season soccer training, it is not the only driving force behind the current upswing of the sport in Sudbury.

A large influx of new Canadians, many of whom hail from regions where the sport is worshipped, are now dotting rosters right across the GSSC – including the GSSC (Greater Sudbury Soccer Club) U16 Impact boys team that is taking part in Provincial Indoor Soccer League play this winter.

(to the best knowledge of everyone involved, this represents a first for Sudbury in terms of entering a team in the indoor league that plays full field soccer)

With a lineup that includes three players from South America who have been in the country for less than a year plus a high-school exchange student from Spain, the squad is about as diverse as any in the region when it comes to an interesting cultural blend.

“I knew that here in Canada, soccer is completely different,” said Diego Delgado Espino, a 15 year old newcomer who attends St Charles College, his team enjoying a Saturday afternoon mixed friendly with the Impact U14 boys.

“You have a lot of other sports here. In Peru, because of the economic situation, we only have soccer, basically – and the soccer is much more aggressive there.”

The Impact are off to a 3-4-1 start, picking up their first ever win over Markham 1-0 (goal from Kouame Nango; shutout by Ethan Uloghobui) and adding triumphs over both Thornhill (1-0 - Colton Cooke with the goal; Uloghobui in net) and KNSC (2-1 – Donald Munyua with both goals) a little later on.

Trying to remain true to his roots, as much as possible, has helped Delgado Espino contribute nicely to the success of his new team. “One of the things that I do best is my slide tackle,” he said. “But here, I am kind of afraid of doing it because of how things are. One of things I think I am doing well, overall, is keeping my game style and not ignoring it completely, but trying to adapt it.”

And for as much as those involved in sports in Sudbury are prone to seeing much greener grass in the form of sporting venues everywhere else in Ontario, there is sometimes a gentle reminder that there are worse places to be, in this regard.

“The fields here are beautiful,” noted Delgado Espino. “I was living in the capital city of Peru (Lima) for the last two years and even there, we don’t have anything of this quality. And playing with these guys is a beautiful thing. They’ve accepted me and I think that’s kind of nice.”

The balance of the Sudbury roster includes David Akero, Alfarouq Alzawi, Maks Beljo, Emmanuel Boamah, Juan Calderon, Matias Gonzalez, Alessandro Moretta, Lukas Morin, Moyo Olusola-Kuteyi, Pablo Patino, Caleb Pearson, Joshua Rioux and Dax Yurich, with both Nickolas Grebe and Masimo Toffoli remaining on board as practice players for the winter.

The U16 Impact team staff features head coach Dino Moretta, assistant coaches Mata Boboy and Clayton Pearson and team manager Catherine Warega.

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