Challenge Cup game for CBN?
Soccer association vice-president says it could happen in 2012
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.
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.
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: email@example.com