Coach in tough fight

John
John Browne
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Paul Byrne, a former assistant coach with Memorial men’s and women’s varsity basketball teams, is battling cancer.

The 42-year-old Byrne was diagnosed with cancer in December, the day before his season began. He coaches the Brantford Briers U17 girls’ team in “rep ball” in Ontario, which is says is like club ball in Newfoundland, “except it seems to be more important than high school.”

Byrne was an assistant with Glenn Taylor during the Sea-Hawks’ men’s team’s great 16-4 season, and later under Doug Partridge for three years with Memorial’s women’s squad..

He also coached several teams at the high school and provincial level when he lived in Newfoundland.

He said when he found out he had an aggressive form of prostate cancer, “it scared the living hell out of me.

“Since then, I’ve heard from so many old players and present players that I truly feel honored to have ever coached such great people.”

Since he was diagnosed, he’s been writing a blog about the highs and lows of coaching and dealing with cancer.      

He said started writing to relax and, “I feel good because it pisses off cancer.”

Byrne, who contacted me via e-mail last week, said, “Feel free to share my blog. If it gets one person to realize they can live and be happy with cancer, then that's a great thing.”

You can read Byrne’s blog at: coachchemo.blogspot.com

It’s poignant, often funny, sarcastic, courageous, and most of all, inspiring stuff.

•••••

According to Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association player development director Mike Power, Emmanuel Dolo had a strong performance at the recent Canadian under-15 identification camp in Montreal.

Dolo, of St. John’s, was among 29 players from Eastern Canada who attended the camp.

“I believe he left an impression on the coaching staff,” said Power, who was also at the camp.

The 2013 Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association youth male player of the year, Dolo has been a member of NLSA provincial teams since 2010 and the high performance centre since 2011.

“His one-v-one attacking abilities are outrageous,” said Power, who added Dolo has, “explosive speed and a lethal left foot” and did very well getting past defenders and assisting teammates.

Power feels Dolo has a good chance of being selected for the national team camp in June.

The next month will be an important time for Dolo, according to Power.

There are pro soccer academies in the country now, and Power says they are some opportunities to be explored outside this province for promising young players such as Dolo who local soccer people feel has massive potential.

“There is a real pathway for a young Canadian to become a professional soccer player in Canada these days,” said Power.

Fact is, the kid’s already been offered a deal in Vancouver and why wouldn’t he accept that offer, all things considered.

•••••

It was about 20 minutes after the St. John’s senior baseball championship game had ended at St. Pat’s Ball Park last season.

I’d finished talking to several of the players on the winning Shamrocks team and now made my way towards the Gonzaga bench where a few of their players were still hanging around.

One of them was big Jason English. Given his reputation, though conflicting, I was a little hesitant in approaching him. Still, although his team lost, English was clearly the player of the game.

See BRUINS, page C2

 

 

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Ontario, Eastern Canada Montreal.Dolo June.The Vancouver Ball Park

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