Co­bras cruise to re­gional crown

Orleans Star - - SPORTS -

The Co­bras stood nine points clear of sec­ond place prior to their fi­nal game on Wed­nes­day, Sept. 1, with Ju­lia Francki lead­ing the eight-team re­gional league in scor­ing with 10 goals and Mak­ena Fowler and Veronique Lalonde reg­is­ter­ing six each.

“It’s been a good sea­son and it’s be­cause the girls are com­mit­ted to it,” Ber­trand ex­plains. “They all have jobs, and boyfriends, and so­cial lives, but they know ab­so­lutely that dur­ing the sum­mer they’re go­ing to be on the soc­cer field three or four days a week.”

The league ti­tle means the Co­bras will be in­vited to join the On­tario Youth Soc­cer League loop, but the club is un­sure if they’ll ac­cept the pro­mo­tion de­spite earn­ing sev­eral wins and ties in non-league games against Level 1 op­po­nents.

“We know we can com­pete,” Ber­trand says. “But it’s a big step – get­ting the kids to com­mit to go­ing to Toronto ev­ery other week­end – so it’s some­thing we have to dis­cuss.”

The U17 team is part of the Cum­ber­land United“show­case”pro­gram that places a par­tic­u­lar em­pha­sis on at­tend­ing col­lege/ show­case events. The Co­bras – made up largely of play­ers el­i­gi­ble for the U16 level, and even a cou­ple U15 play­ers – at­tended tour­na­ments in New York and Bos­ton this sea­son, al­though the big high­light was their trip to Swe­den.

The Co­bras spent 10 days over­seas in mid-July for the Gothia Cup – a mas­sive in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ment fea­tur­ing around 35,000 par­tic­i­pants in to­tal.

“We thought we would get some sight­see­ing in, but the girls kept on win­ning and win­ning and win­ning,” smiles Ber­trand, whose squad placed fifth out of close to 100 teams in its cat­e­gory.

Each vis­it­ing team at the Gothia Cup was given a school class­room filled with cots to sleep in dur­ing the event, which al­lowed the play­ers to min­gle with all kinds of for­eign friends. It was also the moment when Ber­trand and co-coach Mark Fowler re­al­ized what kind of spe­cial team they owned.

“When you have 18 girls in one class­room and no one comes out fight­ing,you know you have a pretty good group,” Ber­trand laughs. “It’s a good, good gang of girls. For both coaches, they’ve made it prob­a­bly our most en­joy­able year ever.”

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