In an effort to provide a more consistent approach to offering coverage for the wide variety of sports that are highlighted on SudburySports.com, we've decided to include a new feature. Bi-weekly or monthly sport-specific updates will offer a wide array of statistical tidbits, roster updates, tournament results for participating teams. The Sudbury Athletic (Soccer Club) will be featured monthly - next update is August 20thClub Overview with Dino Moretta
Given all that is going on locally in the world of competitive youth soccer, it should come as little surprise that the Sudbury Athletic organization are in somewhat of a state of flux, according to long-time executive member Dino Moretta.
While there is little doubt that Moretta and the Athletic would like to see their roster of teams expand, the bigger issue remains the need to develop a structure that allows for the progress of young soccer talent in Sudbury. "I would like to grow the club, although we (Sudbury Athletic) fully support the concept of a one club format for Greater Sudbury", noted Moretta recently. "Until that happens, we are dedicated to trying to grow Sudbury Athletic."
Now a couple of years removed from celebrating their 10th anniversary, the Athletic group is fielding boys soccer teams at ages U9, U10, U11, U12 and U15. "The biggest thing that we’re still trying to do is develop our youth teams – we kind of want a team at every age group", Moretta adds.
Within that goal, the Athletic also recognize the need to raise the bar across the board for the level of coaching needed to try and ensure that the young athletes reach their full potential. "The other thing that we’re trying to implement, as much as possible, is to have coaches that are not parents (to a child on their team)", said Moretta.
For the former competitive soccer player who recently celebrated the arrival of his first child, the concept of giving back for what he received seems only natural. "I just like seeing players improve – I look at what coaching has done for me, back to when I started playing in 1978."
On a personal level anyways, Moretta has a clear vision of where he would like to see soccer moving forward. "The first thing is year round training. These kids have to be trained twelve months a year – too many coaches start their team in March, they’re playing in May and done in August", Moretta explains.
A student of the game who has completed his Pre "B" Assessment Course and has been recommended to attend the Provincial "B" License certification course, Moretta suggests that there are areas where any coach can find tools of self-improvement.
"There’s a lot of good free resources on line in terms of drills and how to structure practice sessions. The coaching clinics, the big thing they stress is progression – start off simple, gradually make it more complicated and eventually get to 3 v 3 and 4 v 4 drills."
Still, he knows all too well that challenges exist, even just in terms of keeping his group moving forward. "One of the biggest challenges is losing players to other clubs", Moretta notes. "We lost an entire U13 team to another club – we lost four coaches and countless kids this year...player retention is a big thing."
And then there remains the mindset barriers of parents who equate the experience of competitive soccer to those of other sports. "Competitive soccer is not necessarily the same commitment as say a “AAA” hockey team", he says. "The commitment is somewhat coach specific - some coaches only want to go to two out of town tournaments, some might want to go to five."
"The bottom-line for parents is to get informed – find out what it’s all about." Over and above the youth teams, the Sudbury Athletic organization also fields men's competitive teams in both the Premier and First Divisions of the Sudbury Regional Competitive Soccer Association for the 2009 campaign.Sudbury Athletic Respect is Burning U-12 Boys
Competing at the Lake Simcoe Soccer Tournament at the end of June, the Sudbury Athletic Respect is Burning U-12 boys gained valuable experience, playing a three-game set against a trio of very worthy opponents. Playing in a steady rain throughout the weekend (now there's a recurring theme for the summer of 2009!), the Athletic were deadlocked in a 1-1 draw in their opener with the East Gwillimbury Talons when a deflected goal late provided the margin of victory for the opposition.
The game MVP for Sudbury Athletic was center mid-fielder Nico Presot while Pierce Wallingford netted the game's only goal for coach Bruce Lindsay and company. In game two, the Richmond Hill Raiders proved to be too much for the Athletic, blanking the locals 5-0, although Sudbury's Bradley Mackenzie bounced a shot off the cross-bar late, nearly breaking the Raiders' shutout bid.
Keeper Nicholas Walker had an excellent second half, stopping an endless barrage of shots and was named game MVP for the Athletic. The third game resulted in a 2-1 loss to the Lake Simcoe host team as Nico Presot scored early in the first half on a long kick from outside the 18" box to open the scoring.
Lake Simcoe responded with an excellent header from a cross to tie it up and added the game-winner in the second half, keeping the Athletic strikers at bay to preserve the win. Sudbury Athletic sweeper Imho Traore was recognized as game MVP for his team.