Harris tells it like it was

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John Browne
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Malorie Harris

Press Box/Column

Why have our provincial representatives had such little success at the national women’s soccer championships over the years?

Veteran Malorie Harris says part of the reason is the infighting and players’ attitude which often exists on Newfoundland and Labrador teams.

“It’s some of the girls’ attitudes that are holding us back,” said Harris, the C.B.S. Holy Cross Kirby Group star forward.

“Players are leaving teams because they can’t play with certain people. Guys might have some personal issues, but they are forgotten pretty quickly. Girls have a tendency to hang on to them.”

She said a few years ago there was a “mind blowing” experience at the nationals.

“The girls’ attitude … how can I put it? Girls get sookie and take it out on their teammates, even though they are friends. That creates stress amongst everyone on the team and that’s why they fall apart,” Harris said.

“With women, it’s personal. Not in all cases, but talking behind people’s backs, and everybody is guilty of it.”

Harris said there isn’t any stress on the Crusaders team this season.

“There’s no drama. We’re all comfortable with each other and we like each other. If we can get the younger players on the team to fit in and take on the same positive attitude, it will make for a better team all around.”

Harris is going out on a limb with those remarks about past team discord, but it just shows you how much guts she has.

The point of bringing these problems to the forefront is to, hopefully, stop it.

We can’t expect a medal if the teams we are sending have internal problems among the players. There’s never a guarantee a team with complete solidarity (will) win a medal, but there’s a better chance if there’s no unresolved conflict to interfere with (the players’) focus.

Harris is absolutely correct when she says you usually don’t see that sort of backbiting that causes dissension on male teams.

Oh, you hear bickering all right. Anyone who followed those great Holy Cross teams of the 1970s and ’80s saw lots of verbal jabs tossed back and forth among teammates during a game.

But that’s where it ended. They were like brothers who fight and, in a moment, it’s all forgotten because, basically, they really like each other.

When the game is over, it’s on to the next one and you get through it as best you can.

But there was always a kind of pressure because each of those players know how good they were and how good they should be playing. They expected to win. They pushed each other. They would go through walls for one another. And if an opposition player made the mistake of taking one of them on, then you faced the wrath of the rest of their teammates.

In the end, the Holy Cross arguing — if you can call it that — was for one reason. It was to make the team play better as a unit. And of course, those Holy Cross teams were some of the best the province has ever produced.

The Crusaders won the national championship in 1988 with a well-balanced team that could play any way needed. They were a group you wouldn’t want to mess with, either. Ironically, it was in that final that the Holy Cross players showed more poise and kept themselves in check when the opposition Alberta side got a little greasy.

That sort of discipline comes from knowing your teammates will persevere under pressure.

That’s something that comes from years of trust and loyality and it can’t be faked.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Holy Cross, C.B.S. Holy Cross Kirby Group

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta

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  • SoccerSupporter
    July 30, 2013 - 08:24

    I would agree with that and you Richard! I think it is time our province makes some changes in order to better develop players especially our elite players - and more importantly do a better job of showcasing them on the National and International stage.

  • Richard Ash
    July 25, 2013 - 15:13

    The 1988 Holy Cross side had 2 internationally capped professionals playing alongside the best squad the province had to offer in a century. The blunt reality, is that Newfoundland is no longer producing or recruiting that caliber of talent either in the men's or women's leagues as it relates to the standard elsewhere in the country. Stars like Harris are few and far between. Unfortunately, the big 3 have 18 Harris' each, the Crusaders have but one. Modest, Malorie.