The Southern Gazette
I’ll be the first one to agree wholeheartedly with the winners, which have been announced for soccer in Newfoundland and Labrador for the past decade.
In the team category, the St. Lawrence Laurentians took the honours. The female winner is Laura Breen of St. John’s, and in the male category, it’s Rudy Norman from the Laurentians.
For the past decade, the Laurentians have dominated provincial soccer. They have been in the provincial final 10 times, and have won the provincial Challenge Cup seven times.
On the National scene over the past decade, St. Lawrence has won a National Silver Medal. The Laurentians did this in 2002, right in front of their hometown fans in St. John’s. The Laurentians were again on the podium in 2007, winning a Bronze Medal for their efforts at the National Challenge Cup hosted by Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Personally, I feel the Laurentians are only a gold medal away from being the top team in all of amateur sports in Canada’s youngest province. Yes, I do realize Team Gushue has won an Olympic Gold Medal and the Rock Rugby Team have won several National Championships, and I appreciate both of these accomplishments are remarkable feats.
But, one must realize what the St. Lawrence Laurentians have accomplished has occurred over a century in the sport of soccer. Their continuous record of accomplishments is unparalleled by any other armature team sport in all of Canada.
When you are talking about women’s soccer in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, I think we are definitely progressing. The 2009 NL Canada Games team performance in P.E.I. this summer was nothing short of spectacular.
The 2008-09 Jubilee Trophy Championship Team, the Kirby team as they are commonly called, is a stack of provincial all-stars and while I feel there are many great individual players on that team, none are greater than Laura Breen.
I’ve seen her play, and I’ve seen her play a lot. She has represented our province at the local, regional, provincial, national and at the international level over the past decade. To date, as far as I’m concerned, she is the greatest female soccer player to ever don a pair of soccer boots in this province.
Up to now, I consider Laura to be Newfoundland’s female version of the greatest male player that has ever played soccer in Newfoundland, and of course, I’m talking about Wils Molloy.
When you are bestowed the title, ‘Male Soccer Player of the Decade’, it’s an honour. I’m sure it is a very proud moment in one’s life you will cherish forever.
There is no doubt Rudy Norman, being a key player in the Laurentians’ line-up, is ecstatic with this announcement. Yes, his all-star status, his personal individual award winnings are remarkable, and his goal production (97 goals) is incredible, but to me, Rudy Norman is someone whom I feel is a special type of soccer player.
I coached Rudy Norman for four years. He respects the game and above all, he respects the individuals involved with the game. I have never heard Rudy badmouth a teammate or an opponent. I also have never heard Rudy badmouth an official of the game or a NLSA representative.
Having said this, I am aware every decade or so, he has a tendency to pick up a red card!
Over the past decade, he has led the Laurentians, both on and off the field, demonstrating an excellent example of determination and dedication. Personally, I don’t feel there is player, executive member or coach from the Laurentians or the St. Lawrence Soccer Association that has contributed more to the success of the Laurentians, than what Rudy Norman has accomplished for the past decade.
Yes, I did vote for all of the award winners but I feel somewhat obligated to acknowledge both Richard Kelly and Clinton Edwards. It is my understanding Clinton Edwards placed a strong second in the male category. Not surprising.
This is another individual that lets his performance do the talking for him and his talents displayed in the center back position ranks him up there with the all time greats of the game.
Richard Kelly is a player I feel ranks up with the most talented soccer players in ability and skill this province has ever produced. When I was reviewing Richard’s stats over the first six seasons of this decade, Richard’s performances and personal accomplishments were in a class of their own.
But for the remaining years, Richard’s season production fell off. Richard is only 28 years old and for soccer enthusiasts, hopefully we have not seen the last of him.
Dunphy’s Details: I would like to wish both Holy Cross/The Dock and EPR/Kirby/The Dock all the best as they are about to compete at the Senior Men’s/Women’s National Competition being played in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on Thanksgiving Day weekend.
Also I would like to wish all the best to Phil Molloy, Alec Turpin, Kent Slaney, Pat Brake and Pat Byrne, as they go after the gold while competing at the Eastern Canadian Masters with the Mount Pearl Rosie O’Grady Team. Good luck to all!