Regardless of whether they be newcomers to the provincially competitive soccer scene or squads that have been there before, weekends are a busy time for the young local soccer players who don the jerseys of the GSSC (Greater Sudbury Soccer Club) Impact.
A number of the teams were in action last Saturday and Sunday, both at home and on the road, with some faring betters than others. A team by team recap follows:Impact U15 Boys
Entering CSL (Central Soccer League) play for the very first time after geographic challenges made it next to impossible for the Thunder Bay crew (2011 NRSL champions) to accept the position they earned, the 1997 Impact boys are very quickly acclimatizing themselves to a new level of play, even if it has yet to show up in the win column.
Yet another close encounter for coach Bruce Lindsay and company, dropping a tough 2-1 decision to Leaside and falling to 0-5-1 on the season to date. While a victory would help add a spark to the mix, the Sudbury crew are aware that they are truthfully not that far off.
"We've been talking quite a bit with the boys about the fact that we're in every game," Lindsay said. "Skill-wise, I think we match every team we've played so far. Again today, there's no points on the board for us, but we know that this is another team that's beatable."
In fact, if not for a particularly slow start and a couple of key defensive miscues deep in their own territory, the Impact might have benefitted from a better fate.
Trailing 2-0 some 20 minutes in, the Sudbury lads closed the gap to a single goal as Ian White put his team on the board. That score would remain intact, even as Impact striker Josh Alvarenga drilled a shot off the goal post midway through the second half.
"It was a really good game, we both had some good chances," Alvarenga acknowledged. Now in his second year with the team, the former member of the Panhellenic Cyclones was hoping for just a little more luck as he carried the ball into scoring position with a chance to deadlock the game at two.
"I was aiming at the net, maybe try and get a rebound for one of the other players," he said. "We can keep up. We know what the level of play is now." Ironically, the team's only point so far this year has come in a scoreless draw with Barrie, the crew that holds down first place in the early going with a record of 3-0-1.
"It really is just a case of preventing those mental mistakes," said coach Lindsay. "The very first goal came when one of our defenders tried to make a fancy little move just above the eighteen, and it should have been cleared out right away."
"He knows that, we know that," Lindsay stated. "It's a mental error early in the game that cost us dearly." After taking part in an ultra-competitive NRSL (Northern Region Soccer League) U14 division in 2011, the '97 Impact boys have lost a few players to other interests, forcing the depth that previously existed on their bench to be pressed into action quickly.
The team is back at home on Sunday, welcoming the Aurora Stingers (0-1-1) to town for a 1:00 p.m. encounter at the James Jerome Sports Complex.Impact U15 Girls
If the U15 boys are blazing a new trail for their team, the same cannot be said of the U15 Impact girls, somewhat seasoned pros at battling the competition from Central Ontario.
The local ladies, under the guidance of coaches Dayna Corelli and Renee Jacques, remained in the middle of the pack last summer, earning their berth back among the Level 4 Premier teams again this year.
The Impact extended their current undefeated streak to three games, fighting back from a 1-0 deficit and earning a 1-1 draw with the Scarborough Blizzard as Dana Isaia netted the equalizer late in the game.
"It was unfortunate that we did go a goal down early, especially at home," Corelli said. "You don't always want to be chasing the game. I thought we showed some really good character to keep pushing and get the tie."
The Impact improved to 2-1-2, having picked up a couple of key road victories earlier this month against Ajax and Markham. "Things are starting to look up right now," conceded Corelli.
"It seems like everybody has fixed those parts of the game that we were struggling with. Our defenders are serving the ball, giving better distribution, and our forwards have found their finishing touch," she said.
"Our midfield was a little bit more on stride, getting in there and winning more of the battles." Of course, this hardly means that it's time to sit back and kick up their feet, at least not in the eyes of the Lady Vees' midfielder who is cutting her teeth in the coaching ranks while preparing for one final season of OUA (Ontario University Association) competition.
"We're going to have to work on pinning a team in their own end," Corelli suggested. "We sometimes work really hard to get the ball into the attacking third, only to let them out very easily."
With a handful of bumps and bruises on the mend, the 1997 Impact girls will take full advantage of a two-week break in the schedule, resuming play on July 7th and 8th on the road. Sudbury will head south to face North Toronto (0-2-0) and Unionville (2-2-0) before heading home for a three-game set with Ajax, Oshawa and Aurora.Sudbury Soccer on the Road
The GSSC Impact U18 girls, competing in Level 3 play for their final year of youth soccer, continue to play well defensively but cannot seem to generate enough of an attack to propel themselves to victory.
The local ladies dropped a pair of 1-0 decisions to Ajax FC Red and Oshawa Turul, falling to 0-4 on the year despite surrendering only six goals against in four games. Of course, when you've scored only one goal, wins can be hard to come by.
Coach Jeff Falcioni and the crew are back at home this coming weekend, going toe to toe with Ajax and the West Rouge Storm at the Delki Dozzi Sports Complex, with both games slated for 1:00 p.m.
Facing a well-known OWSL (Ontario Women's Soccer League) rival, the Sudbury Canadians came up short on the road, losing twice to the Markham Lightning.
A few key injuries seemed to really take their toll as Markham clipped the Canadians 2-0 and 4-2, with Karolyne Blain and Rachel Leck handling the scoring for the Northern Ontario gals.
Another team with a bit of a scheduling break, the Canadians will take full advantage as coach Frank Malvaso slows down the pace, just a little, prior to a very busy month of July.
The Canadians are sitting at .500 with a record of 2-2-0, resuming league play on the road on July 7th and 8th when they head to the GTA for a two-game weekend series with the UMSC (Unionville Milliken Soccer Club) Red Strikers.
The team closes out their 2012 campaign with four straight home games over the final two weekends of July, facing Ajax FC U21 Red and the North Mississauga Panthers on their home turf.
Finally, competing in the Central Region - Central Division (CRC), the Sudbury Panhellenic ladies remain in the thick of the race, sitting second, just one point back of the Aurora Stingers.
Sudbury improved to 6-1-0 on the weekend, besting the Bracebridge Storm 3-1, despite the fact that numbers are still an on-going concern for coach Joe Persi and company. Call-up forward Romina Cimino netted a pair of goals for Panhellenic, with Laura Ozoria adding the other as the team gets ready for a pair of upcoming games with TC TNT.