The impact of the Impact is expanding.
The bulk of the talent gracing local soccer fields donning the emblem of the Greater Sudbury Soccer Club Impact remains, as it has always been, largely Nickel City based. The reinforcements, however, are coming in from across the north.
This past weekend, a pair of North Bay residents were prominent in terms of their contributions to the success of Impact teams, with several of the GSSC squads in action, at home and on the road.
Allie Weiler scored twice and Mackenzie Roberts and Prezzley Hutchison added on goal apiece as the GSSC U-16 Impact girls doubled Darlington FC 4-2, even after spotting the visitors a 2-0 lead.
Celebrating her 16th birthday on Saturday, Hutchison admitted that the weather, which turned particularly nasty in the afternoon, necessitated a few adjustments in their game as the Impact continue to place in the top third of the Central Soccer League (CSL) standings, fifth in a 17-team grouping.
"We had to make sure that we didn't let the ball go right past us, because it would skip on the wet grass," suggested the grade 11 student at Widdifield Secondary School in North Bay.
"Also, it was really, really windy when we started, so we had to make sure our kicks were stronger, and then once we switched, that they were softer, so the ball wouldn't go too far."
Beyond that, it was simply a matter of executing the team strategy, one which looked to take advantage of a potential mismatch at the top of their formation. "The coaches really wanted us to bring it out to the wing and then just drop it in behind their defence, so that our two strikers, who are both really, really fast, could just go in and shoot it," said Hutchison.
"Most of the teams that we've played have had a really high defence, so then we've been hitting it past them and getting to the corners before crossing it in." Hutchison and her teammates had to settle for a weekend split after dropping a 3-1 decision to Muskoka FC the next afternoon.
Allie Weiler netted the only Sudbury goal in a contest that grew increasingly chippy in the later stages of the game, as the Impact pressed, only to be denied on a penalty kick and by the crossbar, on a lovely direct kick, from distance, by Emma Coutu.
Deadlocked in a 1-1 tie with Barrie White with just over ten minutes to play, the GSSC Impact U14 boys exploded for four goals, recording a 5-1 win over the same opponent for a second consecutive day.
While North Bay native Josafat Castillo did not pull the trigger on any of the goals, his visionary passing ability set up a pair of tallies, to perfection, a skill set he worked on long and hard in his native land of Peru.
"When I first came to Canada (September of 2017), I stopped playing soccer for one year," said Castillo. "But I wanted to play competitively and I asked some friends, from school, and they told me to join this team."
Though he noted a definite switch in intensity between the two countries - games in Peru are much more fierce than in Canada - Castillo also learned to adjust to positional changes as well.
"In Peru, I started playing at age of eight, started playing as a defence," said Castillo. "Then the coach moved me to midfield and that's where I stayed. In Peru, I played on the inside but the coach here likes me better on the outside, with my passes to the strikers."
After beating Barrie comfortably on Saturday, the Impact were pushed a great deal more less than 24 hours later, though that may have been somewhat their own fault. "We struggled at finishing the occasions that we did have today," said Castillo, following the game on Sunday.
"We had a lot of options to score and we couldn't finish the play." Maliq Olanrewaju scored twice on Saturday, joined on the scoresheet by Nathan Cranston, Nicholas McGee and Braydon Ethier-Perras, while Ousama Quarquoz paced the attack on Sunday with a pair, with McGee, Olanrewaju and Tyler Thibodeau adding one strike apiece.
Finally, the GSSC Impact U16 boys also managed to put together back to back mirrored efforts, blanking Collingwood United 3-0 on both Saturday and Sunday on the road. Gabriel Campagnaro handled all of the scoring in game one, with Massimo Marrone earning the shutout, while Bailey Gervais (2) and Campagnaro were back filling the net in game two, as Rowan Mullin Santone followed directly in the footsteps of Marrone.