Name: Rudy Norman
Weight: 178 lbs
Occupation: Physical education teacher at Mount Pearl Senior High School
Born and raised: St. Lawrence
Leisure activities: Right now, I love spending as much time as I possibly can with my wife Karen and my son Quinn who’s 18 months old. They are the most important things in my life.
Earliest memories of playing soccer: My earliest memory playing soccer was in the kitchen of my Nan Norman’s house when I was three or four. I remember my Uncle Junior (John Norman) rolling me the ball, and I would kick it hard as I could, trying to land it in the kitchen sink, which my Nan had filled with dish detergent bubbles. Nan was none too pleased when the bubbles and soap splashed everywhere.
Players you looked up to growing up in St. Lawrence: ‘Looked up to’ may not do it justice. ‘Idolized’ is probably a better word. When I was playing minor soccer, there were so many great players playing Challenge Cup with St. Lawrence, but in particular Harry Kelly, Dr. Paul Slaney, Bob Spearns and Scott Bishop. These guys are legends of soccer to me, and as a minor player in St. Lawrence, I wished and dreamed I could be like them.
Top three players you played with: Clinton Edwards - the best overall player I played with. Not only can he play any position, but he is the best player on the field in that position when he plays. Richard Kelly - the best goal scorer probably in the history of NL soccer. Blair Aylward - one of the best right backs to play the game. Blair had the heart of a champion.
Top three players you played against: Derek Strang - by far one of the fittest, ferocious and most intelligent players I played against. I don't know if I was more glad when he decided to join the Laurentians or relieved I didn’t have to mark him anymore. Shane Antle - one of the best center midfielders I ever played against. Tom Dunderdale - a former Burin Eagle and Fieldian, Tom was a big, strong, powerful center back.
Most memorable soccer goal: The 2002 Challenge Cup final goal to beat Holy Cross in overtime. This goal gave us the 2002 Challenge Cup, but more importantly, it gave us the right to be NL's host team at the Nationals in St. John's that same year.
Greatest soccer moment: Winning the bronze medal in 2007 in Halifax. Our only loss at that National was to the Calgary Callies in the opening game. We then riddled off four straight wins, including having to play three games within 30 hours. Anyone who played the game knows how hard that is, but to do it at the Nationals and win all three was an amazing accomplishment by our team.
Most painful soccer moment: Losing the National gold medal championship game in 2002 in St. Johns in overtime 1-0. That was the most disappointing moment of my life to date, not alone in soccer.
Most treasured soccer award: As an individual, the ‘Player of the Decade’ award for 2000-2009, but my most treasured awards are the 12 Challenge Cups I have won with the St. Lawrence Laurentians.
Influential coaches you have had: I have been really lucky to have great coaches. Jack Simms and Jerome Slaney were very important coaches for me in minor soccer. They taught me the basics that are so important. Derek Strang, who kind of reinvented me as a player and moved me from a striker to center midfielder. Yourself, Gord, who showed me to play with heart and determination. But the most influential coach was Clem Jr. Edwards. Edwards has coached me more years than anyone. He gave me my first call up to Challenge Cup when I was 17, and I owe a great deal to him, not only for the player I am but the person I am today.
Closest soccer friend: Without a doubt, Andrew Perrot. We have played soccer together since we were four years old. He is one of the best and toughest players I have played with and has an enormous amount of heart, something you can’t teach a player to have. I always knew when Andrew was on the field I had a teammate that would go to hell and back for me and ask nothing in return.
I will ask you a question that may be very difficult for you to answer, but it is a question that soccer fans throughout Newfoundland, and in particular Laurentian soccer fans, really would like to know. Why switch to Mount Pearl at this stage of your career?
Gord, the decision I made this year to play with Mount Pearl was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make in my life. I feel, at the age of 35-years-old, that my immediate family is now the number one thing in my life. It is no longer soccer. Soccer is now number two. However, I also felt I would like to carry on and play soccer at the highest level for a few more years. Playing with Mount Pearl has allowed me to spend much time during the summer with my wife and son. It also has permitted me to train regularly, which I feel is crucial at this stage of my career. Playing in Mount Pearl has allowed me to still play the game I love. I treasure the 16 years of soccer I played in St. Lawrence. I will always hold my friends, former teammates and the fans of St. Lawrence with the utmost respect. I will always be a Laurentian by heart