CORNER BROOK -
As the coach of the last local Challenge Cup squad five years ago and the father of a frequent Challenge Cup player, it's easy to see why Garland Oram agreed to accept the nomination to serve as chair of the new Corner Brook United executive.
Oram, whose son Kevin played with Fieldians last year and was instrumental in spearheading the campaign to get the Corner Brook entry back in the tournament this year, has been involved with local soccer as a player, coach and referee for decades, but his current role has him in a more behind-the-scenes position.
He, along with the rest of the executive, has the goal, first and foremost, to hire a coach and two assistants as soon as possible so they can really get the player try-out process rolling.
"We've got a few names right now," said Oram. "Hopefully by the end of this weekend we'll be able to name a coaching staff ... there will most likely be three coaches (one head coach, two assistants) and a couple have already confirmed that they want to do it, so we'll finalize that shortly and make an announcement."
There are plenty of names to choose from for the positions, according to Oram, with the executive seeking some of them out, while others made their interests known unprovoked.
Unsolicited help has come in more than just the form of coaching prospects, however, as many people, some of whom haven't even been involved with local soccer in years, have offered to help out with finding sponsors, fundraising and whatever else the team might need.
"That's great to see," said Oram. "In years past it was three or four people doing it all, but now in another couple of weeks we'll have 12 people or so on an executive group organizing the team, so that's exceptional. People just want to be a part of it and get Corner Brook soccer to grow again."
Even though all of this has come together in a mere two months, Oram is happy with the turnout the open practices have been getting. The executive had a rough list of approximately 45 players they'd like to see try out and most of them have already made their presence felt.
It would be easy to write this coming year off as a rebuilding year, given the area hasn't fielded a team in a tournament of this calibre in quite a while, but Oram believes the local club, expected to be a young squad with a few veterans sprinkled in, will definitely give the other teams a run for their money.
"This team will be competitive," he said. "The last time we were in the Challenge Cup, we made the final four and I think the team we'll have here will be a better team than that team was. There is a lot of potential here."