C.B.S. Holy Cross Kirby Group coach Dragan Mirkovic has been known to tell it like it is, even if it hurts.
So when he says “anybody can beat us at the moment,” you take notice.
He’s talking about Newfoundland and Labrador representatives C.B.S. Holy Cross Kirby Group in the 2013 Jubilee Trophy women’s soccer championship in Halifax, N.S.
Among other things, he questions his team’s character.
In regards to his team’s character, or lack thereof, he said, “We die early and we don’t have the mental strength to counterpunch.”
His suggestions to improve the team?
“Until we bring over a few Irish girls who are decent soccer players and combine them with the highest technical qualities of some players here, we will never achieve anything at the national level.”
Mirkovic said Irish girls leave it all on the field and “that’s where we are short.”
He said it’s the same thing in Spain where everybody is looking for players from Basque country, “Because they will give it all.”
Well, there are no Irish or Basque players on this year’s Holy Cross squad, so it looks as if our provincial representatives will struggle again at the nationals, at lest based on the coach’s gloomy forecast.
Mirkovic is also not happy with the fact the team hasn’t had “a meaningful training session since the provincial playoffs (in August) and haven’t played a game since then either.
“We have had players in eight different locations and some of them never touched a soccer ball,” noted Mirkovic.
“People tend to talk about different things, but the bottom line is if you want to beat teams like Ontario or Quebec, you have to play better, much better than them.
“And to play the fluid, dangerous game,” he added, “you need patterns in your play and those patters are a result of hours on the training ground.”
He said even if his team didn’t have those problems, it would still be difficult.
“This is my second year with the team and, by now, I know their mentality, their mind set… what they think?”
And what he thinks they need most of all is character.
The only advantage I have is a good knowledge of where our mistakes come on the field,” he explained.
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“If I figure out a way to put some players there with higher quality we might make less mistakes and maybe get more opportunities.
“I’m analyzing a lot,” he said, “but when it comes to quality you are truly limited. However, a few truly good soccer players on the tam will have another chance to shine and make an impact and that could change a lot in terms of the game dynamic and ultimately the scores. That’s our best hope,” he said.
Led by Malorie Harris with a league-leading 27 goals, Holy Cross finished first in the Breen’s Jubilee Trophy League with a 16-1-6 record.
Holy Cross then went on to defeat Mount Pearl Electronic Centre Molson 3-0 in August for the team’s fourth straight in the provincial championship.
Holy Cross, which finished eighth overall at last year’s nationals in Winnipeg, Man., opens against Ontario Wednesday and plays Quebec Friday, Northwest Territories Saturday and Nova Scotia Sunday. The playoffs will be held Monday.
The starting lineup has Jessica MacDermid in goal with Maria Oliver, Laura Breen, Nicole Mores and Alexe Morgan on the backline. Kieley Delong, Jenna Munden and Kiley Snow make up the midfield with Harris and Kaekyn Burke as the forwards.
Oher roster players include Jennifer Burry, Kiera Walsh, Katie Welsh, Maria Clift, Laurianne Sutton, Jamie Crocker, Kellie Snook, Meghan Cox, Alexandra Hayward and Emily Finch.