Rugged Edge Western United FC, floundering at the bottom of the Molson Challenge Cup soccer standings, has folded with two games left in the season.
Corner Brook Challenge Cup Association director Bill Avery, in an e-mail to Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association (NLSA) senior men’s vice-president Gord Dunphy Thursday, said the Corner Brook association “regrets” it will not be fielding a team for games this weekend, a decision made “after all avenues were explored and all possible scenarios reviewed.”
Was to have played at Mount Pearl and KGV
Western United was scheduled to play Mount Pearl That Pro Look Molson Saturday in Mount Pearl and Holy Cross Kirby Group Sunday at King George V Park.
“The association apologizes for inconveniences this (decision) will create, but as stated in previous correspondences, we have reached a situation that is out of our control with injuries, work and family commitments and scheduling of provincial tournaments,’ said Avery’s e-mail.
“We must point out that this is no way a cost-cutting measure as the club is financially sound, and that if the (weekend) games were to be played in Corner Brook, we would have to inform you (NLSA) of the same situation and tell the teams not to come.”
The west coast entry, based out of Corner Brook, is in last place in the seven-team league with a 3-17-1 record. United has given up a league-high 70 goals in 21 games while scoring just 20.
Last weekend, United was beaten 9-0 and 7-0 by the Laurentians at Centennial field in St. Lawrence.
See DUNPHY, page C3
Avery went on to say in the e-mail: “This has been a long and exhausting season for Western as players have had to commit to a full summer at the field at home and away. These players have been away a lot more than any other team.”
Dunphy was livid when informed of Western United’s decision.
“I’m not surprised, but I’m totally disgusted,” said Dunphy. “This team just hasn’t defaulted its last two games of the season.
“The way I look at it, this team has folded.”
Dunphy said he bent over backwards to accommodate the west coast club in terms of travel, even allowing the club to expand its 25-game roster at one point during the summer.
“I was willing to do anything in my power to help them get through this season,” said Dunphy, “for their sake and for the sake of their soccer program.”
Western, which last competed in 2004 as the Eagles, rejoined the provincial senior league in 2009.
“Last year, we let them play a 10-game season instead of 20 games, with each of their games worth six points, so that they wouldn’t have to make so many trips to the east coast. We’ve accommodated them in other ways as well,” said Dunphy.
In retrospect, Dunphy said “Maybe you can’t build a soccer team around a soccer field (Corner Brook’s Wellington Street Complex). Maybe you’ve got to build a field around a team.”
Despite the problems, Dunphy said the Western team should have sucked it up and completed the schedule.
“As far as I’m concerned, not only the association, but all of the players have to look inside themselves.”
Avery said his association will continue in its efforts to promote and participate in Challenge Cup play as a provincial league “as we believe it should be a true provincial league.”
However, if Dunphy’s initial reaction is any indication, Western United FC won’t be back in the Challenge Cup league anytime soon.
Dunphy said Western United will have to re-apply if the team wants to play next season.
“I will not support them coming back into the league in 2011,” he said.