Slaney, Breen recognized by NLSA
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