New soccer league to launch
Lightning soccer association to be a part of under-18 Avalon league
A new under-18 soccer league will begin its inaugural season this weekend with a trio of games at the Carbonear Recreation Complex. The league is co-ordinated by North River resident and soccer enthusiast Robert Tarrant.
“Some of these players are high-level players and need to keep developing their skill level.”
— Bob Tarrant
There is a new game in town for young athletes with the Conception Bay North Lightning.
The ever-expanding soccer club, a member of the Avalon Soccer Association, has entered into a new league with the other members of the association.
The Avalon Cup Under-18 Soccer League will feature both men’s and women’s leagues and a total of seven teams.
On the men’s side, the CBN Lightning will be squaring off with Placentia, Portugal Cove-St. Phillip’s and Northeast United.
The women’s side will have a three-team league with the Lightning, Placentia and Clarenville.
“One of the issues we have with soccer is that when players get to a certain age, if you’re not playing at a really high level, like Challenge Cup, people tend to drop out,” said league co-ordinator Robert Tarrant of North River, who is a founding member of the Lightning association.
He described the new league as an alternate to the Challenge Cup circuit, and added that it helps fill a gap for teenaged players looking for a higher level of competition.
“There was no league for people who weren’t playing Challenge Cup to play in,” said Tarrant.
The associations were eager to jump on board.
A lot of the clubs involved in the inaugural season of the league were losing players because of a lack of game action, Tarrant explained.
“Some of these players are highlevel players and need to keep developing their skill level,” said Tarrant.
The league was met with resound- ing support from every member of the association. With the Challenge Cup being the considered the first division of soccer in Newfoundland and Labrador, Tarrant believes this league will become known as the second division.
“It will create an area for these players who may not have the time to commit to that top level, but are still good players,” he said.
The league, which is sponsored by That Pro Look, will compete for the newly minted Avalon Cup.
The league will get its start on May 31 and June 1 at the Carbonear Recreation Complex. The CBN team will kick off the season with a match against the Placentia U-18 team at 6 p.m.
Each team will play between 1520 games, with every weekend featuring 2-3 games.
Tarrant has something special planned for the opening weekend.
Using what is done in the English Premier League as an example, Tarrant will have minor players from his association walk out with each team prior to kick-off.
“They’re also going to be playing a mini-game during halftime,” he said.
The Lightning teams playing in the league will be the association’s senior teams.
“Our younger players will be rooting for and aspiring to be a part of,” said Tarrant.
This will have a profound effect on the younger players in the region and will grow the game. They will want to develop their skills in order to get the chance to crack the under-18 lineup in the future.
“They need something to aspire to,” said Tarrant. “It will inspire them to want to play at the higher level.”
The hope is that this league will spur the development of junior and senior leagues in the region.
“With any luck next year, we’ll probably move it up to an intermediate league,” said Tarrant.
Bob Tarrant is co- ordinator for the new Avalon Cup under-18 soccer league.