Strik­ers given one-year leave of ab­sence

League com­mis­sioner says onus is on C.B.S. squad to prove they be­long in cir­cuit

The Southern Gazette - - SPORTS - BY JOHN BROWNE TC ME­DIA

Con­cep­tion Bay South Strik­ers FC have been granted a oneyear leave from Chal­lenge Cup play by the New­found­land and Labrador Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion (NLSA), but even league com­mis­sioner Gord Dun­phy ad­mits it will be a “mon­u­men­tal task” for the team to make it back in 2015.

The Strik­ers fin­ished last this past sea­son with one win, 25 losses and one tie.

So why did the league give them a chance to re­turn af­ter a one-year ab­sence?

“In all fair­ness, they had paid their reg­is­tra­tion fee for 2014 sea­son by the dead­line and I felt they’ve given a good ef­fort the last four years,” said Dun­phy, who added the club’s 2014 reg­is­tra­tion fee has been re­turned.

Dun­phy said C.B.S. didn’t give him any as­sur­ance they’ll be any more com­pet­i­tive than in the past years.

“I didn’t want to get into a sce­nario that we’d have is­sues in the mid­dle of this year in re­gards to C.B.S. com­plet­ing the 2014 sea­son. I felt that in re­spect for the people who have put a con­sid­er­able amount of work in the team that we’ll al­low the team to take a one-year leave and give them time to re­view their pro­gram.

“They are the ones who have to do the work to prove they can come back. From an NLSA per­spec­tive, I fig­ured we should give them a chance to come back and show they have the play­ers and a team that can com­pete. The onus is on them.”

Dun­phy was dis­ap­pointed some of the Canada Games play­ers from the C.B.S. soc­cer sys­tem have de­cided to play else­where this sum­mer along with a few of the older, bet­ter play­ers who have been picked up by the re­main­ing league teams. Dun­phy also pointed out play­ers from C.B.S. who play with other clubs this sum­mer have no obli­ga­tion of re­turn­ing to the Strik­ers in 2015.

The league com­mis­sioner doesn’t sound too op­ti­mistic the Strik­ers will be back any­time soon.

“To be quite hon­est, when you’ve been in the league for four years and you have to opt out of the fifth year be­cause you’ve got prob­lems get­ting or keep­ing play­ers, l be­lieve it will be very hard to re­cover af­ter step­ping aside for one year.”

Dun­phy said that, in the long run, the C.B.S. soc­cer as­so­ci­a­tion had to get to a point where there’s pride in putting on the C.B.S. uni­form the same as it is with the other clubs in the league who have a longer tra­di­tion.

“They got to get to the point where their younger play­ers will want to stay with the C.B.S. pro­gram and not look to go any­where else.”

In the mean­time, the re­main­ing teams — St. Lawrence La­batt Lau­ren­tians, Holy Cross Kirby Group Cru­saders, Feil­dians Ernst & Young and Mount Pearl That Pro Look Mol­son — will play each other six times for a to­tal of 18 games.

There are no mid-week games this sea­son. All the games will be played Satur­day and Sun­day with the first con­tests set for May 24.

Only three of the four clubs make the play­offs with the fourth-place team elim­i­nated.

The first-place team re­ceives a bye to the cham­pi­onship game while the semi­fi­nal fea­tures the sec­ond and third-place clubs.

The Aug. 29-31 play­offs will be held at King Ge­orge V Park this sea­son.

“This (sea­son) is go­ing to be the best we’ve had for a long time,” said Dun­phy. “It’s like a sea­son-long play­off. There’s less games, more qual­ity teams and the games are go­ing to be more mean­ing­ful.”

St. John’s Tele­gram

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