Damian Dyke has very high expectations for the new entry in the Breen's Jubilee Trophy.
"I want a top-five finish at the nationals," said the St. John's FC Molson coach.
He may or not be kidding, but he certainly doesn't sound like it.
"I have high expectations from these players," said Dyke. "If we set our goals and prepare ourselves physically and mentally for that challenge, then we will be successful."
Although it's a new squad, Dyke seems confident his team, which does include several veterans, will be an instant contender.
"I have an incredibly deep bench," said Dyke. "I have half a dozen players that can play three or four different positions for me and every one of them is a solid starter. The major weakness right now is the same with every new team, getting use to each others styles of play and understanding the team philosophy."
Laura Tilley, a former Feildians player, is the team's captain and Dyke sees her as a real leader.
"Her focus and commitment to the team is second to none," said Dyke. "She has earned the respect of all the girls."
Dyke said he's had between 14 and 19 players out to practice despite distractions this month.
"It's been a hectic month with vacations, grads, girls who go to school out of province, etc. I expect that when league starts I'll have almost 100 percent attendance."
The St. John's roster includes several players from last year's champs EPR Kirby including Dana Brewer, Vicki Thistle, Simone Quinlan and Erika Lannon, which means there could be an instant rivalry between St. John's FC and Holy Cross Kirby Group this summer.
"I am very excited to be coaching this group," said Dyke. "They are incredibly disciplined, focused, and committed to the program. They all understand and respect that there are no free rides in my programs and there is no B.S. with me when it comes to playing.
"If they want to play, then they will earn their time through attendance, participation and effort."
Dyke grew up playing soccer in Labrador City be fore going to Concordia University in Portland Ore., on a soccer scholarship in 1996. He played with Holy Cross in 2002 and has played with Gonzaga Vikings in the intermediate league from 2004-'09. He retired from competitive play due to an injury and coaching commitments.
Dyke says he has been coaching since he was 15. He did some volunteer coaching in the Portland metro area with various clubs and summer leagues. Since he returned to Canada he has coached U12, U14, U16 with the former St. John's Youth Soccer Association, including U12, U13, U14 at the provincial level.
He received his CSA National B License in 2003 and did his, CSA National A license course part I last year.
Asked about his coaching philosophy, Dyke quoted Sun Tzu: "Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack" and "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
"When you look at the top teams and clubs in the world," said Dyke, "they are the ones allowing the fewest goals. When Spain won the Euro in '08, they only allowed three goals the entire tournament. I believe that a highly organized defense combined with a very strategic offense will win games."
Four minor teams - St. John's and Mount Pearl Under 16 and 18 all-star teams - will play in the league on an exhibition basis. There are 74 regular season games scheduled. The playoffs will be played Aug. 26-29 in Mount Pearl.
The season kicked off Monday.
Here's a look at the teams which will compete for the Breen's Jubilee Trophy this season:
HOLY CROSS KIRBY GROUP
Coach: Scott Betts
Last season's record: 16-1-0
Who's back: Laura Been, Nichole Adams, Leslie Pope, Lee Ann Tobin, Malorie Harris, Julia Whitten, Ashley Dawe, Nicole Moores, Janine Bursey,
Newcomers: Jessica Clarke, Kayla Mullett, Emily Jameson, Megan Dupuis, Megan Wall, Catherine Hutchens.
Quote: "We've lost some talent, there's no doubt about it, but I'm also very pleased with the talent we've picked up. They are different style-players, but they're still talented." - Scott Betts
ST. JOHN'S FC MOLSON
Coach: Damian Dyke
Last season's record: N/A
The players: Dana Brewer, Vicki Thistle, Pam Reid, Stephanie Malone, Alex Dzuro, Gill Baker, Kathryn Ash, Tracey Dyer, Jamie Warren, Kim Hickman, Laura Tilley, Kaelyn Burke, Simone Quinlan, Laura Pittman, Beth Forsey, Lauren Murphy, Heather Spurrell, Katie Gale, Erika Lannon and Brianna McNamara.
Quote: "I don't care who they belonged to, where they come from, or what they did in the past. If they want to be a starter, then they are going to have to prove themselves to me and each other in training." - Coach Damian Dyke.
FEILDIANS FACEY FINANCIAL PLANNING
Coach: Jamie Roche
Last season's record: 8-8-2
Who's back: Nicola Facey, Sarah Facey
The roster: Amanda Martin, Amanda Roche, Ashley Robar, Kathy Hurley, Dylan Cag, Erin Prim, Hilary Hutton, Jeannine Phillips, Jessica Wade, Lindsey Reddy, MacKenzie Thomas, Meghan Felt, Nicole Smith, Sarah Scruton, Susan Breen, Susan Coffey, Tara Andrews.
Quote: "My expectation for the season is that there is going to be much more parity in the league. Four very talented senior teams all have a legitimate chance of representing the province at nationals. Every team has great coaching and a group of talented players so it is anyone's guess who will win final weekend. We have a very dedicated, energetic and fun group of young women that have worked very hard in the off season. We still have quite a way to go as this is the first time that many of the girls have played together, but I am very comfortable with my team. The ladies are all very talented and mature and there is great chemistry." - Jamie Roche
Coach: Jim Hamlyn
Last season's record: 3-13-2
Who's back: Aoife Bodman, Nicki Locke, Jen Murphy, Karen (Eason) Norman
Who's not: Rayleen Dunne, Michelle Sheppard
Newcomers: Lauren Windsor, Paula Whitten, Erin Edwards, Keira Eavis
Quote: "I don't think there's any reason why we shouldn't have the ambition of getting to the final. When we get things sorted out, we can be there. There have been some changes with St. John's FC coming into the league and I don't think Kirby has the same depth as they did in recent years." - Jim Hamlyn
Breen notches hat trick in opening game win
Laura Breen scored all her team's goals as defending champion Holy Cross Kirby Dock defeated newcomers St. John's Molson FC 3-1 in the opening match of Breen's Jubilee Trophy women's soccer Monday night at King George V Park.
Breen scored at 22, 56 and 58 minutes in leading her team to victory.
Vicki Thistle, who played for Kirby last sea-
son, replied for St. John's with one minute to play in the game.
In other games Monday:
Feildians 4, Mount Pearl U18A 0
Nicole Smith scored twice for Facey Financial Planning. Singles came from Megan Felt and Sarah Facey. Amanda Roach posted the shutout.
St. John's U18A 1, Mount Pearl U16A 0
Michelle Ward scored the winner at the 62-minute mark and Maris Miller and Jamie Crocker shared the shutout.