The "Sudbury Soccer Snapshot" is a weekly feature that is being presented courtesy of Martin Martic Dentistry. Each and every week, from May 1st through until the end of September, a weekly newsletter will be produced, covering off much of what is on the go in the world of competitive soccer locally.
As well, a recreational soccer "game of the week" will be highlighted, rotating between the various houseleagues that exist in and around Greater Sudbury. In the off-season, the newsletter will scale back to a bi-weekly feature, focusing heavily on the hundreds of young soccer players who shift to the indoor game as the fields become snow-covered for the winter.********************
The 2013 season for the Sudbury (GSSC) Impact U15 Boys (1998) was defined in the last six games of the year. Staring relegation squarely in the eyes, the Impact ran off an undefeated string that saw the team pick up at least a point in each and every one of the last six games, allowing the crew to return to the CSL (Central Soccer League) U16 Level 4 - Premier ranks again in 2014.
"Hopefully, we keep that momentum going coming into this season," noted head coach Nick Mancini at a weekend workout. "The boys finished off unbelievably strong. I think it gave the kids tremendous confidence that the CSL is where they belong."
The 1998 grouping got their first taste of CSL play back in 2011, competing in the U13 division, but were summarily dismissed, relegated back to tournament only play in 2012.
That scenario appeared set to replay itself last summer until the late season surge secured the Impact a top eight placing. "I think it was important that we finish off like that," noted right outside midfielder Noah Caruana.
"The first time around, I think we were all pretty nervous. We're a little more confident this time," he said. Aiding that feeling is the fact that a core of the team have spent the entire winter fine-tuning their skills at the Sudbury Indoor Soccer Centre, an option that was not available back in 2012-2013.
"Not having an indoor turf last year, getting on the field in mid-April, it took us that month and a half just to get up to speed," said Mancini. "We finally started to settle in and get more comfortable with our own game."
"What's more important than just playing as an individual in the off-season, is making sure we get a lot of practices going as a team," chimed in Caruana. "Communication is key. Knowing where your players are, calling for a through ball, know how your players react to different things - all of that will help."
"We don't have an overly big team, height wise," said coach Mancini. "Our forte is playing the ball on the ground and then attack where we can. We play a possession style game. We have diehards who have been playing through the winter-time - their touch is there," Mancini continued.
"These guys are 16 year olds now. They need to start identifying the opportunities on the field and move smartly into open space." Cue Caruana, who enjoys jumping into the attack.
"I like running," he said. "I like running down the line, crossing the ball. I'm more of a playmaker than I am a goal scorer." Of course, manning the midfield requires a commitment to both ends of the pitch.
"When I'm far up the field, I have to run back to defend," noted the grade nine student at St Charles College. "It's a lot of work, especially if I'm covering a fast guy." Though the U16 Impact don't begin regular season play until the very end of May, the team will join the Impact U15 lads in taking part in the Frank Sobil Spring Classic in Oshawa from May 9th to the 11th.
Come May 31st, the Impact U16 boys will travel south to face CSTA (Canadian Tamil Sports Association) VAAHAI and the Weston Wolves, returning north for their home opener on June 7th, once again against the Wolves.********************
A pair of history-rich local soccer organizations will have plenty to celebrate over the next month or so. Congratulations are first of all extended to the 1969 Polish White Eagles, part of the Class of 2014 being inducted into the Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame in early June.
The White Eagles are the last local men's team to claim an Ontario Cup championship, capturing what was then the Ontario Football Association (OFA) Cup in August of 1969.
The Sudbury men defeated the Oshawa Imperials 3-1 at home in the opening match of a two-game total goal series, earning a 1-1 draw the following week on the road.
With their sights set on an Eastern Canadian championship, the White Eagles were derailed by Montreal Ukrainia one week later at Queen's Athletic Field. After playing through 90 minutes of scoreless soccer, the teams netted one goal apiece in overtime, setting the stage for victory via penalty kicks.
With Montreal making good on four of their five attempts, the locals fell short, beating the Ukrainia keeper just once. Some members of that team included Joe Janota, John Moynihan, John D'Agostino, Martin Murphy, George Courtney, captain Pat Byrne, Shay Ferrell, keeper Shay O'Hanlon, Tony Monahan, Joe Borja, Peter Monahan, coach Peter Venus and manager John Sikora.********************
On May 28th, the Italia Flyers will celebrate the 50th anniversity of the team that preceeded the Polish White Eagles in bringing home an Ontario Cup championship. In fact, the 1964 Italia Flyers team, inducted into the Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame a few years back, actually went on to capture the Eastern Canadian title.
There is little doubt that plenty of memories will be shared on this nostalgia filled-evening as players, families, friends and fans gather at the Caruso Club to celebrate the success of one of the greatest teams in Sudbury soccer history.
For more information on the event, or to obtain tickets, please contact John D'Agostino at (705) 675-6104.********************
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