Lightning in forecast for Forsyth
CBN soccer association hires first director of operations
Soccer, or football depending on where you are in the world, is an international game played by people in every country.
So, it made sense that when the Conception Bay North Lightning soccer club went looking for a director of soccer operations that it would choose an international representative.
Gary Forsyth, originally from Paisley, Scotland, was that international figure.
Forsyth, who has been in Newfoundland since early 2010, was recommended for the position by Memorial University Seahawks men’s soccer head coach Scott Betts.
Betts had been in CBN running a camp when Lightning president Robert Tarrant approached him about coming on with the club as the director.
“Scott couldn’t do it, so he recommended me to Bob and it sort of just went from there,” said Forsyth.
After a meeting with Tarrant, Forsyth agreed to come on board with the club.
The Conception Bay South Strikers FC challenge cup head coach had previous experience with the position as a director. Forsyth previously worked with the CBS Soccer Association.
“I really enjoyed my time there and I enjoy day-to-day soccer,” he said.
Coming to the Lightning, Forsyth sees it as a “good fit” for him.
“The way Rob (Tarrant) and Scott (Betts) spoke about the program out there, I see it as a great challenge,” he said.
For Forsyth, the travel from St. John’s to CBN is a “little bit much”
Gary Forsyth is the new director of soccer operations with the CBN Lightning.
but he sees at as “something you have to do sometimes.”
Tarrant said Forsyth came with a high recommendation from Betts.
“We were very impressed with Gary,” he said.
One aspect of the game Tarrant is looking forward to seeing from Forsyth is a focus on goaltending.
“A goaltending coach is something we’ve never really had before,” he said.
Forsyth will be working with the players and coaches in the Lightning system as well as developing a long-term player development program.
“I’m going to start small,” he said. “My focus will be on player and coach development. I’m not going to try and reinvent the wheel.
“I just want to help educate the coaches and hopefully, that will push down to the players.”
Forsyth’s first meeting with the players in his new position happened Saturday, April 21 when the Lightning held its first player development camp in North River.
He was surprised with what he found on the All Hollows’ pitch.
“There is a lot of talent out here,” said Forsyth.
Tarrant made note of how his new technical director was with the players.
“He was fantastic with the kids,” he said. “We’re very pleased.”
Tarrant praised Forsyth for keeping the players “on task” and communicated what he was doing on the field with the parents on the sidelines.
“He has a lot of knowledge and his understanding of the game will be valuable,” he said.
Kyle Cronin is one of a handful of coaches who will be working closely with Forsyth over the summer.
He said he could see Forsyth was really good with the Lightning athletes.
“He helped us out with our soccer skills and our skills as coaches,” said Cronin.
Describing his coaching style, Forsyth said he is “very laid back and relaxed.”
said, he “demands work ethic.”
“I think that is the only thing you can really demand,” said Forsyth.
One of his goals is to make the players feel relaxed.
Case in point, during the first player development camp, one female athlete came onto the field wearing the green shorts of the hated Glasgow Celtic football club. Forsyth’s preferred team is the Glasgow Rangers football club.
The Rangers and Celtic enjoy one of the more heated rivalries in sports, according to the coach.
“It was surprising, more than anything, to see a girl sitting there wearing Glasgow Celtic shorts in North River, Conception Bay North. It caught me off guard,” said Forsyth.
He chided the budding soccer hopeful about her choice in soccer clubs before laughing it off.
While Forsyth believes in having the players feel relaxed, he said that players have to be prepared to go hard.
“When it is time to work, we work,” he said.
Tarrant said the Lightning are lucky to have Forsyth, citing only a handful of clubs across the province have someone in a similar position.
“It’s a gamble for us, but we are very pleased,” he said.
CBN Lightning soccer coaches Aaron Mercer (left) and April Yetman (right) watch new Lightning director of soccer operations Gary Forsyth instruct young athletes at a player development camp in North River on April 21.