Chal­lenge Cup game for CBN?

Soc­cer as­so­ci­a­tion vice-pres­i­dent says it could hap­pen in 2012

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY TERRY ROBERTS

The man in charge of men’s soc­cer in this prov­ince says he will do his ut­most to en­sure that Bay Roberts plays host to a Chal­lenge Cup game some­time in 2012.

“Get ready to come af­ter me for a game next year,” Gord Dun­phy, vicepres­i­dent of the New­found­land and Labrador Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion (NLSA), stated dur­ing an ad­dress to vol­un­teers with the CBN Light­ning soc­cer as­so­ci­a­tion in North River on June 13.

Dun­phy was the guest speaker for the Light­ning’s fifth an­niver­sary din­ner, which was held at All Hallows El­e­men­tary and at­tracted some 40 coaches, par­ents, spon­sors and mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers from the re­gion.

The Chal­lenge Cup is a six-team league that fea­tures the top men’s play­ers in the prov­ince, with teams based in soc­cer strongholds such St. John’s, Mount Pearl, Con­cep­tion Bay South and St. Lawrence.

The sport is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a growth spurt in Con­cep­tion Bay North, and Dun­phy be­lieves that stag­ing a Chal­lenge Cup game in the re­gion — much like the NLSA did in Clarenville in 2010 — will help that ex­pan­sion.

There’s even talk among some soc­cer en­thu­si­asts about es­tab­lish­ing a Chal­lenge Cup team in Con­cep­tion Bay North within the next five years, but Dun­phy said it won’t come easy.

“It is achiev­able, but only with a lot of hard work,” Dun­phy stated.

New fa­cil­ity

There’s grow­ing en­thu­si­asm for soc­cer in the Bay Roberts area, and it’s start­ing at the very grass­roots level, with player as young as twoand-a-half tak­ing to the field.

The CBN Light­ning was es­tab­lished in the spring of 2006 by North River res­i­dent Robert Tar­rant, and has grown from a reg­is­tra­tion of 60 in the first year to some 320 in 2010.

The Light­ing merged with the Bay Roberts as­so­ci­a­tion last year, and it’s ex­pected that reg­is­tra­tion may top 400 in the near fu­ture.

An adult re­cre­ation league will also be es­tab­lished in the com­ing days.

Play­ers from Marys­vale to as far away as Car­bon­ear have been prac­tic­ing on a con­verted soft­ball field in North River and a sec­ond field ad­ja­cent to As­cen­sion Col­le­giate in Bay Roberts.

In the com­ing days, a first-rate soc­cer pitch will be of­fi­cially opened at the Wil­bur Sparkes Re­cre­ation Com­plex in Bay Roberts, giv­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion a clus­ter of fields on which to play. A light­ing sys­tem will be in­stalled at the new field in the com­ing months.

Dun­phy, de­scribed by some as “one of the best soc­cer minds in the prov­ince,” said he likes what he sees so far.

But he urged Light­ning volun- teers to keep press­ing the NLSA to en­sure it is a full part­ner in the ef­fort to grow the sport in the re­gion.

“If you push, it will come here,” he said, in ref­er­ence to things like Chal­lenge Cup play, coach­ing and of­fi­ci­at­ing clin­ics.

New jer­seys

Mean­while, one of the high­lights of the an­niver­sary din­ner was the un­veil­ing of a unique new soc­cer uni­form for the Light­ning, and the in­au­gu­ra­tion of a new part­ner­ship with the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion (Branch No. 32) in Bay Roberts.

The branch has do­nated $1,200 for the de­sign and pur­chase of 23 uni­forms — jer­seys, shorts and socks — for the un­der-14 and un­der-16 teams.

In ad­di­tion to the Light­ning logo, the uni­forms also fea­ture the Le­gion crest on the shoul­der, with the name of a war vet­eran from the re­gion in­scribed be­low the crest.

Le­gion­naire Ernie Mug­ford was on hand for the pre­sen­ta­tion, and said re­mem­brance and youth soc­cer are a per­fect match.

“If we for­get about what (our vet­er­ans) did for our free­dom, we are go­ing in the wrong direc­tion,” said Mug­ford.

Mug­ford said it’s his goal to ac­quire 400 uni­forms for the Light­ning in the com­ing years, with each one a tribute to a vet­eran.

“ These jer­seys will be a re­minder that no mat­ter how hard you work, some­one else has worked and sac­ri­ficed that much more,” said Light­ning pres­i­dent Robert Tar­rant.

For more about the CBN Light­ning, e-mail the fol­low­ing: robert­tar­rant@es­dnl.ca

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