History made in Clarenville
St. Lawrence Laurentians keeper deflects the ball to the side of the net in Challenge Cup soccer action in Clarenville on Saturday. The Laurentians squeaked out a 3-2 win over the St. John's U-18s Capital Hyundai squad.
First Challenge Cup soccer game played at a neutral site by Kathy Gosse
It was history in the making at the soccer field in Clarenville on Saturday as the St. Lawrence Laurentians and the St. John’s U-18s Capital Hyundai squad squared off in a regular season Challenge Cup soccer match. The Laurentians won the match with a close 3-2 decision over the under-18 squad.
It was history in the making at the soccer field in Clarenville on Saturday as the St. Lawrence Laurentians and the St. John’s U-18s Capital Hyundai squad squared off in a regular season Challenge Cup soccer match.
The Laurentians won the match with a close 3-2 decision over the under-18 squad.
The game couldn’t have been played at a better time as it coincided with Soccer Day in Canada, a national celebration of grassroots soccer.
Beaming with pride was the president of the Clarenville Area Soccer Association (CASA), Earle Pike, the man primarily responsible in getting a Challenge Cup game played in Clarenville.
“The fans I spoke to were very enthusiastic and simply loved the fact that this high level soccer was brought to the community,” says Pike. “What I saw of the game was very intense and that was something new for the fans here – seriousness and intensity. The game was a complete success from CASA’s perspective and well worth the effort.”
The highlight of the day for Pike was seeing local soccer players walk hand in hand onto the field with the senior teams.
“That looked very sharp and provided a great memory for the children. Of course, that was one of our goals to give the children a soccer memory that will help continue their interest in the game.
Another highlight for Pike was the two minor players officially opening the facility with the ceremonial kick off.
“The pursuit of funding, the search for sponsorship and the years of volunteering were all for the children of the community to use the facility for fitness and wellbeing,” says Pike. “I felt it was most appropriate that they opened it. Saturday’s game was another important building block in the establishment of soccer here in Clarenville.”
Pike wasn’t the only person glad to see the game played in Clarenville. Gord Dunphy, vice-president of senior men’s soccer in the province says it is all about promoting the game.
“I realize Clarenville is an up and coming soccer community with almost 500 kids in their minor program,” says Dunphy. “For the kids who want to someday play at the senior level I wanted to expose them to the highest level of elite soccer that we have in the province, which is the Challenge Cup.”
Dunphy says he realizes hockey is a priority number one sport in Clarenville. But he also sees the potential of soccer becoming a main off-season sport. Hosting a neutral game in Clarenville is big for the sport of soccer at all levels.
“The fact that a regular season Challenge Cup game was played in Clarenville, they have made history in the soccer books,” he says. “Hopefully, the kids that walked out with the senior teams today can be enticed to want to play at such an elite level when they get older.”
This is only the beginning and you will see more games played at neutral sites. And If I was a betting man you will see another game back in Clarenville in the future.”
The soccer match also provided the opportunity to officially open the field and the newly constructed clubhouse and running track. Three levels of government provided funding for the facility with support from local partnerships including CASA.
On hand for the official opening of the facility were several federal, provincial and municipal dignitaries as well as local stakeholders including, MP Judy Foote, Random-Burin-St. George’s, Trinity North MHA Ross Wiseman, Clarenville councillor John Pickett, recreation director Garry Gosse and Craig Pardy, principal Clarenville Middle School.