CORNER BROOK There have been more than a few classic westerns staged in Texas.
Now San Antonio native Tyler Wise is hoping he and his Western Under-14 soccer team can shoot for a Hollywood ending of their own this weekend against Feildians of St. John’s in provincial u-14 male league play at Wellington Street Sports Complex.
Wise’s mother Heather is originally from Corner Brook, but she moved to the U.S. city years ago to further her education in the field of nursing. After completing her courses, and having a son, she decided to return home.
Wise has become a frequent visitor to soccer pitches since his mother registered him back when he was just four or five years old.
“Every kid (plays soccer) at some point, really,” he said. “It’s just a matter of if you want to go further with it or not.
“For me it was just something extra to do with my time,” he added. “I like the competition.”
He attempted to make the cut for the under-14 team last year, initially falling short, but he was eventually being picked up as a mid-year injury replacement. That allowed him to suit up for a few games as the club rolled to a silver-medal finish in the provincial league’s inaugural season.
This year the centre back was one of the names selected to the squad right off the bat and he’s enjoying everything about the experience so far.
“It’s really fun,” he said. “It’s intense ... well, not really intense maybe, but it’s way different than playing house league.”
Up to this point, games have been few and far between for Western. Their season started extremely early, with two home games against Avalon on May 5-6, before the roster was even finalized. Since then, they’ve played twice more, against both St. John’s and Avalon on the road on May 26-27.
They’ve compiled a 1-2-1 record over that span, defeating Avalon in a convincing 8-2 fashion in their last match.
Still, the gap between games leaves many questions to be answered when they play for real again today and Sunday against another strong group in Feildians, a team featuring one of the league’s top scorers in Emmanuel Dolo, who has five goals in as many games.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen there,” Wise said. “I never played them before, I don’t really know much about their team, but I know they’ve got a lot of good players.”
On the bright side, not worrying about the opposition allows the team to focus on its own tactics, which is never a bad idea.
“I’m just thinking about playing my game and helping our team,” said Wise. “We have a good team, we’ve got a lot of good players, so we should be OK.”
There’s been plenty of time for practice since late-May, obviously, and Wise said much of the work has focused on finishing, an area coach Colin Lynch highlighted as a concern before the season.
“Just a bit of ball control and opening up the field to make plays,” Wise said of the practice plan.
With a tie and a loss at home so far this season, another aim is to make the Wellington Street pitch an unfriendly place to play for the opposition.
That begins today.
“We weren’t very good in our last games here, so we have to come back stronger,” said Wise. “We need to take advantage of playing at home.”
St. John’s are currently tops in the league with a 6-1-0 record and 18 points, while Mount Pearl are behind them at 5-0-0 for 15 points. Avalon are in third at 4-2-1 and 13 points. The Feildians have a record of 2-3-0 for six points, with Western behind them with four points. Conception Bay South sports a mark of 1-5-0 thus far, for three points, while Burin Peninsula is in the basement with a record of 0-6-0.
Western hosts Feildians 6 p.m. this evening and 10 a.m Sunday morning.