Getting To Know – John Douglas
I’ve played with and coached a lot of good soccer goalkeepers over the years, and to say that one has to be a little different to be a goalkeeper is an understatement. I think it is fair to say that most goalies are generally a very superstitious kind of a person who lives in a world of his own and does his own thing. However, I do feel that despite them being a little fanatical, you will find that they are great people who are mentally tough, sort of a fearless character. I’ve also noticed that a super goalie is usually a superb athlete. They have to have good positioning, be very fast ,be strong in the air ,and of course they have to have good ball handling skills. John Douglas has these characteristics and is the main strength of the current Laurentians squad. To get to know this star athlete a little better, I asked him the following questions--
Home Town: Grand Bank
Date of Birth: February 5, 1983
Height: 6 ft.
Weight: 190 lbs
Profession: Teacher – St. Catherine’s Academy
Current Soccer Status: Goalkeeper - St. Lawrence Laurentians (8 years)
First Soccer Memory: Winning an Under -10 Tournament in Mount Pearl.
Favourite Movie: Young Blood
Favourite TV Show: Melrose Place
Musical Tastes: I’ll listen to anything….
Last Book Read: Diego Maradona’s Autobiography
Leisure Activities: For the past while my free-time has been consumed with watching the World Cup!
First Job: Coaching Soccer
Your Most Soccer Influential Personality: My family have always been tremendous supporters of me and my siblings with anything we’ve wanted to pursue. I owe them a lot when it comes to soccer, as they’ve always made sacrifices to ensure I’ve had many opportunities in the sport.
At the youth level, Vince Pickett was a great coach who spent a lot of time with me on goalkeeper training, and constantly showed a lot of faith in my ability. He was very influential on my decision to become a goalkeeper in the first place!
Favourite Goalie Uniform: I have many weird superstitions, one of which circles around my uniform. If I have a bad game, or allow a bad goal with a particular jersey on, I usually don’t wear that jersey again for quite a while!
Pre-game Feeling: Anticipation.
Pre-game Meal: Spaghetti
Greatest Soccer Moment: I’ve had several great moments in soccer. One of which was winning a Silver Medal at the 2001 Canada Games in London, Ont. We faced a lot of scrutiny as a team and weren’t given much credit prior to the Games, so it was great to be successful with that group of guys.
Another great accomplishment was winning a Bronze Medal at the 2007 Challenge Cup Nationals in Halifax. We worked real hard as a team, had great fan support, and truly had a fantastic season (we lost only 1 game that entire year – to Alberta).
Most Painful Soccer Moment: Losing the 2004 Challenge Cup Final at home to Marystown. We were undefeated prior to the final that year, and it really hurt to lose on home turf.
Closest Soccer Friend(s): The entire St. Lawrence team are a tight knit group. We all have a laugh together, and most importantly are there for each other in both victories and defeats.
Other than that, it was fantastic to play with my brother, Mike, for 4 years with St. Lawrence. Being able to win a Bronze Medal together in Halifax in 2007 was something special and certainly made all those hours spent at the field in Grand Bank well worth it!
Funniest Player Encountered: Soccer players as a whole are always up for a joke, so I can’t really pin-point any particular person as being funnier than another. I can say however, that we always have a laugh with our team, and that no one is free from criticism!
Top three players you played with: Brian Francis was always a teammate who played with such poise and confidence, and a person who never seemed to have a bad-game. Brian’s confidence resonated throughout the rest of the team.
We have some great players with St. Lawrence now and I don’t want to leave anyone out, but of those who are no longer playing; Bob Spearns, Dr. Paul Slaney, and Blair Aylward are three whom I’m honoured to say I’ve played with.
Top three players you played against: Playing against my brother in law Richard Kelly was always a challenge because he can turn a nothing play into a goal. Also, when Alec Turpin played with Mount Pearl, he was very difficult to play against because of his strength, unpredicted speed, and game smarts. And I’ll never forget Chris Caines’ shot and how it burned me twice in the 2000 Challenge Cup Final!
Soccer’s Toughest Competitors: John Kelly, Marc Pittman, Ryan Slaney. These guys go to War for their teams each and every game. Jon Grant is a young player who has these same qualities. His determination and drive will ensure he’s a great player for many years as well.
Favourite Soccer To Watch: I love the English Premier League. The combination of skill and grit in the Premier League cannot be match by any other professional league.
Funny/Most embarrassing Soccer Memory: A few years back in a game versus Burin, I rushed out of the goal to clear a through ball but unfortunately swung and missed – leaving a very easy tap-in for their striker. I’m sure 15 minutes passed before I went back in the 18 yard box! One of St. Lawrence’s best supporters, Neil Tarrant, came up to me after the game and said he figured my right leg was still up on the Foodland roof!
Most Memorable Soccer Save: No save in particular sticks out to me. I constantly push myself to be there when my teammates need me, but I never focus on individual accolades. To be successful in a team game I believe you have to focus on team goals and accomplishments.
Favourite non soccer sport to watch: Hockey (local and professional)
Personality Qualities Most Admired: Commitment and dedication. St. Lawrence has been successful for so many years due to the unsurpassed commitment and dedication that everyone involved in the club has given. Although we don’t get paid to play this sport, I truly believe that there are many great things to receive from the game if you put yourself into it.
If I were NLSA President:
This isn’t something I ever really thought about. However, if I were President I would try to develop the real cogs of Newfoundland soccer that has given the sport its identity. The communities of the Burin Peninsula have made a huge impact in putting Newfoundland on the national stage in soccer, and I really think these communities have been cast-aside in recent years. Too many of the NLSA’s services are being focused on the Avalon Peninsula (I know population dictates this but we have to try to spread these services to ALL athletes).
Gord Dunphy is a former 1990s Challenge Cup All-Star coach of the St. Lawrence Laurentians and National Bronze Medalists. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com