The 2018 soccer season in the province gets a big kickoff this weekend as the top male and female under-18 players in Atlantic Canada take to the pitch at King George V Park in St. John’s for the annual regional showcase tournament.
Teams from the four Atlantic Provinces will play a round-robin schedule, beginning Friday and finishing up Sunday.
It’s more than just a season start-up. The tournament also allows these young players to put their abilities on display for about a dozen scouts and coaches from nine universities and colleges who will be in attendance and looking to recruit for their varsity teams.
Most of that group are from Atlantic schools, but others from further away — the rest of Canada and even the United States — will be paying attention as well.
“Even though some (schools) might not have boots on the ground in St. John’s this weekend, the games are being blasted on a webstream, so I’m sure there will be more than a few picking it up,” said Mike Power, director of player development of the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association, which is hosting the event.
Power says the scouts — whether watching in person or online — will be following the action in two ways, either getting a read on players they haven’t seen — or seen much of — before, or following up on potential recruits with whom they’ve already made contact.
Many of the follow-ups will be with athletes already identified through their participation in last year’s Canada Games and who are set to graduate from high school next month.
But Power, who is also head coach of the Memorial University Sea-Hawks women’s team, said there will be a longer view taken in some case
“If I’m wearing my Sea-Hawks cap in addition to my NLSA cap, I’d say I’d be looking for players for both this season and next (2019-20),” he said.
Power’s comments came as he was taking a Wednesday evening walk in fine spring weather. When it was suggested he would be fervently hoping for more of the same over the weekend, he agreed … to some extent.
“If the weather is good, that would be great. If it isn’t, we may get wet,” said Power with a chuckle before noting that getting a read on players performing in less-than-perfect conditions may actually be of some benefit to scouts and coaches from the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conferences.
“Listen, the AUS in the last of October … we know what that can be like,” said Power. “We’re on field turf (at King George V) and we just play on.”
Newfoundland and Labrador teams for the Atlantic Showcase tournament being played at King George V Park In St. John’s from Friday to Sunday:
Ashley Stringer, Emma Hafey, Emma Murray, Reegan Mahoney, Alex Murphy, Shauna Foley and Kristen Jenkins of St. John’s; Keeley Cox, Bethany Hynes, Reegyn Crickard, Danielle Noseworthy, and Sarah Woodford of Paradise; Hannah McCarthy of Mount Pearl, Anna Edwards of Middle Cove, Kate Hickey of Outer Cove and Mallory Martin of Wabush.
Gary McKeown, Ethan Haywood, Alex Dolomount, George Brokenshire, Kyle Ryan, Cesar Figueroa, Steve Nana, Colin Connors, Eric Knight, Evan Knight, Ethan Slaney, Owen Sheppard, Aaron Budgell, Aiden Mills, Riley Kelloway and Jacob Dyer of St. John’s; Dylan Crichton and Logan Strickland of Torbay; Tanner Rideout and Matt Davis of Conception Bay South, and Theo Amey of St. Philip’s
Round-robin schedule for the Atlantic Showcase tournament being played at King George V Park In St. John’s from Friday to Sunday. All games will be streamed live on Bell Aliant TV1 and been be accessed online at www.nlsa.ca
Noon — Girls, P.E.I. vs. N.S.
2 p.m. — Boys, P.E.I. vs. N.S.
4 p.m. — Girls, N.L. vs. N.B.
6 p.m. — Boys, P.E.I. vs. N.B.
10 a.m. — Girls, N.B. vs. P.E.I.
Noon — Boys, N.B. vs. P.E.I.
2 p.m. — Girls, N.L. vs. N.S.
4 p.m. — Boys, N.L. vs. N.S.
8 a.m. — Boys, N.S. vs. N.B.
10 a.m. — Girls, N.S. vs. N.B.
Noon — Boys, N.L. vs. P.E.I.
2 p.m. — Girls, N.L. vs. P.E.I.