Turn­ing the trick, twice

Har­bour Grace soc­cer team pulls off dou­ble gold

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

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.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Like the metro league ti­tle, the Shan­nons cap­tured gold in the un­der-16 pro­vin­cial mega tour­na­ment, al­beit with a dif­fer­ent look.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

The CBN mi­nor soc­cer Shan­nons cap­tured the cham­pi­onship in the metro league for the sec­ond year in a row this sum­mer.

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