Slaney, Breen rec­og­nized by NLSA

The Southern Gazette - - SPORTS -

The New­found­land and Labrador Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion is hon­our­ing two ex­cep­tional soc­cer play­ers for their won­der­ful ca­reers en­joyed in pro­vin­cial Chal­lenge Cup soc­cer.

Goal­keeper Al Slaney of the St. Lawrence Lau­ren­tians and mid­fielder John Breen of Holy Cross Cru­saders will have in­di­vid­ual Chal­lenge Cup Awards named af­ter them.

Chal­lenge Cup Com­mis­sioner Gord Dun­phy an­nounced the ini­ti­a­tion of the awards.

“Breen and Slaney had been among the very best per­form­ers in Chal­lenge Cup com­pe­ti­tion for many sea­sons. Both were ex­cel­lent role mod­els for play­ers of all ages and they both put to­gether soc­cer ca­reers that ranked among the very best in the his­tory of the sport within the prov­ince.

“It was unan­i­mously agreed Breen and Slaney de­serve this ex­cep­tional recog­ni­tion and the re­spect that comes with hav­ing a tro­phy named af­ter you. I am cer­tain that fu­ture play­ers who earn th­ese awards will feel very, very proud.”

Both Breen and Slaney are mem­bers of the pro­vin­cial soc­cer hall of fame.

Slaney’s tro­phy will go to the all-star goal­keeper and Breen’s tro­phy will go to the top mid­fielder each sea­son.

The other eight awards named af­ter ma­jor soc­cer per­form­ers and con­trib­u­tors are:

First place reg­u­lar sea­son – Bobby Breen Me­mo­rial Award

All-star coach – Alphonse War­ren Me­mo­rial Award

High­est goal scorer – Wils Mol­loy ‘Golden Boot’ Award Rookie of the Year – Ed Moyst Award Top De­fender – Jeff Bab­stock Award Most Valu­able Player for reg­u­lar sea­son – Dick Power Me­mo­rial Award

Most Valu­able Player for play­offs – Ger­ard Quirke Me­mo­rial Award

Most Gen­tle­manly and Ef­fec­tive Player – Jim Goff Me­mo­rial Award


While he started his soc­cer ca­reer as a full­back and then a for­ward, Al Slaney es­tab­lished him­self as a peren­nial all-star as a goal­keeper at the lo­cal and na­tional lev­els. His ball stop­ping per­for­mances earned him re­spect from team­mates and op­po­nents alike from the early 1970s to his re­tire­ment in 1984.

Play­ing ‘out’ he con­trib­uted to one pee­wee and two ban­tam pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships with his na­tive St. Lawrence, but it was as a keeper he played a ma­jor role in the 1974 Cana­dian cham­pi­onship that a New­found­land and Labrador un­der-18 club achieved.

Al­ways a great ‘team’ player, Slaney had no prob­lem play­ing be­hind another hall of fame keeper, Bob Slaney, it was af­ter the re­tire­ment of Bob Slaney in 1974 that Al re­ally came into his own.

The 1977 Canada Sum­mer Games al­lowed Al Slaney to demon­strate just how ta­lented a keeper he was. Dur­ing his 11 sea- sons as the first line keeper with St. Lawrence, Slaney’s play was an im­por­tant fac­tor in the great suc­cess St. Lawrence teams ex­pe­ri­enced be­tween 1974 and 1984 es­pe­cially in pro­vin­cial and na­tional Chal­lenge Cup play.

Slaney is a mem­ber of the New­found­land and Labrador Soc­cer Hall of Fame, the Burin Penin­sula Soc­cer Hall of Fame and the St. Lawrence Soc­cer Hall of Fame.


John Breen had an ex­cep­tional de­tailed knowl­edge of the game, an uncanny abil­ity to read game sit­u­a­tions and con­di­tions im­me­di­ately, high­lighted by his out­stand­ing per­sonal skill and tal­ent. Breen’s tremen­dous soc­cer ca­reer en­joyed im­pres­sive suc­cess for more than 30 years.

He was able to con­trol games as a play starter with great pe­riph­eral eye­sight and crisp, well placed passes. He was the ‘setup’ player on nu­mer­ous suc­cess­ful oc­ca­sions.

Com­bin­ing with his brother Bill, he pro­vided dom­i­nat­ing Holy Cross clubs with an un­matched record of 15 con­sec­u­tive St. John’s first di­vi­sion cham­pi­onships.

He also earned two na­tional soc­cer cham­pi­onships, was a mem­ber of the un­der-18 team that won the na­tion­als in 1974 and was a vi­tal con­trib­u­tor to Holy Cross first di­vi­sion club that won the 1988 na­tional Chal­lenge Cup ti­tle.

Holy Cross Hall of Famer John Breen

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