Turning the trick, twice
Harbour Grace soccer team pulls off double gold
They say the hardest thing to do in sports is to win a championship two years in a row.
That must’ve meant it was going to be extra hard for the CBN minor soccer under-16 Shannons team to duplicate the success they had last summer.
In 2015, they captured the championship in both the Metro League finals and the provincial under-16 mega tournament. Just having that notch on their belts is something they can be proud of.
However heading into this summer, they had the opportunity to pull off something considerably hard to do - repeat as champions in both tournaments.
Yet, that’s exactly what they were able to do as they repeated as champions in both metro and provincials.
“We were hoping to repeat in both, but we never expected to,” said 16-year-old striker Cody Vaters.
The Shannons made a run at the Metro title from their fourth place position when the regular season ended. After getting through the first round, they met the team from Feildians Athletic Club.
CBN defeated the Feildians to complete the first part of their quest to repeat.
Next up was the under-16 mega tournament, which they hosted Sept. 9-11. Pushing their way through the round robin and the playoff portions, the Shannons found themselves squaring off with Labrador West in the final.
Undaunted, they again achieved victory to complete the puzzle.
“It felt really good to win both times,” said coach Renee Vaters.
A different look
Adding to the difficulty in winning was the fact the Shannons teams from both victories were essentially different squads.
The metro championship team featured a group of 17-year-olds that coaches were able to rotate through the lineup, while the under-16 mega team was without the overages and instead supplanted with players from the association’s under-15 team.
Either way, they didn’t miss a beat en route to the double gold showing.
“It’s a good feeling to win both,” said Cody.
It’s all instinct
For the Shannons, the shift in lineups didn’t mess up any of the team’s chemistry at either level. In fact, it’s one of their strengths.
Renee believes this familiarity with each other allows them to excel where other teams might falter.
“It gives them an advantage on the pitch for sure,” she said.
Cody offered a different view point on the team’s chemistry. He said they’ve played together for so long, they can anticipate each other’s movements.
They know where each other like to receive the ball and are adept at getting the ball where it needs to go.
“It’s all instinct at this point,” he said.
Make no mistake about it, the Shannons are a complete team. You don’t pull the double repeat without having the necessary complement of players to beat some of the best teams the province has to offer.
“We have plenty of skill,” said Cody. “We make sure to pass the ball around and get everyone a touch. We’re just playing hard and we have a determination to win. “We all get along well.” However, the coach chalks up the victories to another aspect sometimes forgotten in competitive sports.
“The team is really good at having fun,” said Renee.
Like the metro league title, the Shannons captured gold in the under-16 provincial mega tournament, albeit with a different look.
The CBN minor soccer Shannons captured the championship in the metro league for the second year in a row this summer.