© Star photo by Chris Quigley
Ryan McNeil-Lamswood takes part in a drill during team practice at the Monarchs Complex on Thursday evening.
Playing in the Subway Boys Under-14 Provincial Soccer League means staying focused, according to Western centre back Ryan McNeil-Lamswood.
“It’s a lot faster-paced to play,” the Stephenville native said during a team practice Thursday night at the Monarchs Complex on Atlantic Ave. “You always have to be paying attention; you can’t be slacking off.”
The 14-year-old second-year member of the team began playing soccer when he was six or seven in the Stephenville Minor Soccer Association.
He only began playing centre back during his rookie season with Western last year.
“Before I was really playing wherever I was put,” he said. “Mostly left back or right back.”
The centre back position, he said, is one of the most vocal on the squad.
“I have to speak my mind because I’m at the back and can see everything,” said the son of Sherri McNeil and Scott Lamswood. “I have to be saying, ‘Man on,’ or ‘Turn, you’ve got a man open.’ Stuff like that.”
This weekend the team hosts Burin Peninsula for a two-game set 5 p.m. this evening and 9 a.m. Sunday morning at Wellington Street Sports Complex. Both teams are tied for fifth in the nine-team league with 2-3-1 records.
In a league where only the top four squads make the playoffs, separating from the pack is very important. McNeil-Lamswood knows two wins would be a huge step towards doing that.
“We’ve got to give it our all,” he said. “We have to get these two wins to really solidify our place in that fourth position and maybe even move us up to third.
“We have to keep possession,” he said. “And we have to really just be more vocal.”
The only piece of advance information he has on Burin is their talented striker Brent Hennebury.
“He scores a lot of their goals,” McNeil-Lamswood said. “I’ll have to shut him down.”