Prac­tice makes per­fect for Clarke’s Beach foot­baller

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Clarke’s Beach’s Damian Laun­dry is a pretty busy 12-year-old.

In the win­ter, he’s on the ice as much as he can be with the Tri Pen Ice pee­wee AAA team and other hockey out­fits. He loves Canada’s game.

But when the sea­son changes, another sport­ing pas­sion pulls at Laun­dry. The on­set of spring and sum­mer means it’s soc­cer sea­son.

“I just like stay­ing ac­tive and get­ting out as much as I can,” he said of his sport­ing pas­sion. Laun­dry was named to the province’s un­der-12 soc­cer team last sum­mer.

The start of the soc­cer sea­son means nice days bring plenty of time to kick the ball around. A left-footed player, Laun­dry’s part­ner of choice is his older brother Daw­son. “If it’s a nice day, my brother and I are usu­ally kick­ing the ball around,” said Laun­dry. It’s a ded­i­ca­tion to the game, along with plenty of skill that landed Laun­dry on the pro­vin­cial un­der-12 team. He’s al­ways look­ing to get bet­ter and gets to work on dif­fer­ent parts of his game as well.

Dur­ing the open­ing mo­ments of the Avalon team’s 2016 NL Sum­mer Games soc­cer try­out, that ded­i­ca­tion is on full dis­play.

Laun­dry and a cou­ple dozen other play­ers move from sta­tion to sta­tion shuf­fling their feet, lift­ing their knees and sprint­ing be­tween cones.

As he tired and the rain picked up, Laun­dry kept push­ing through the drills. Even as coach Don Coombs bel­lowed in­struc­tions, there he was push­ing.

The drive is what sets him apart.

Laun­dry and his fam­ily re­ceived no­ti­fi­ca­tion of his se­lec­tion via email. It was some­thing un­ex­pected, but es­pe­cially grat­i­fy­ing.

“I felt re­ally good about be­ing se­lected,” said Laun­dry.

He and his team­mates will travel to Mon­treal next month for a na­tional tour­na­ment.

A mid­dle view­point

Laun­dry ex­hibits just as much game speed in soc­cer as he does when he straps on a pair of skates in the win­ter.

This speed and a head for the game made him an ideal can­di­date for the in­vite-only Team NL try­out late last year. It also helps him suc­cess­fully play ei­ther the striker or mid­dle field po­si­tion.

While he likes the chance to score some goals for his club up front with the strik­ers, Laun­dry is adept in the mid­field.

He likes that the po­si­tion tran­si­tions be­tween of­fence to de­fence.

“The mid­field have to get back to help the de­fence and then back up to help the strik­ers,” said Laun­dry.

Head­ing to Mon­treal

Right now, Laun­dry isn’t hav­ing much trou­ble fo­cus­ing on the re­main­ing days of school at All Hal­lows El­e­men­tary in North River. Well, as much as a 12-year-old can fo­cus on school when the free­dom of sum­mer va­ca­tion is within reach.

How­ever, Laun­dry ex­pects his ex­cite­ment level to sig­nif­i­cantly as school lets out later this month.

That’ll only con­tinue to rise as the fly day ap­proaches.

There’s plenty planned for the New­found­land group while stay­ing in the Mon­treal and La Belle Province. They’ll take in a Im­pact FC game, which Laun­dry is es­pe­cially look­ing for­ward to.

“It’ll be cool to watch them and see how they play,” he said.

There’s cus­tom­ary time for hang­ing out with team­mates, mak­ing new friends and get­ting some valu­able game ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I’m ex­cited to play the games and hope­fully get some wins,” said Laun­dry.

I’m ex­cited to play the games and hope­fully get some wins. Damian Laun­dry

NI­CHOLAS MERCER/THE COM­PASS

Clarke’s Beach’s Damian Laun­dry is a mem­ber of the province’s un­der12 soc­cer team.

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