Keith Gosse/The Telegram
Mount Pearl’s Kevin Oram, left, and Zach Hynes of Feildians go up for the ball during a provincial Challenge Cup soccer league game at the Gushue Complex in Mount Pearl earlier this season.
Kevin Oram played his first Challenge Cup soccer game with Mount Pearl at the age of 16.
At the age of 32, the Corner Brook native is playing in his second national Challenge Cup men’s soccer championship as a member of the Mount Pearl entry in the 12-team, four-division event that got underway in St. John’s Wednesday.
Oram is a seasoned veteran on the provincial Challenge Cup scene, now in his 10th season with Mount Pearl after a handful of years with Corner Brook when they entered the provincial setup.
He played in the national Challenge Cup on one previous occasion, suiting up with Feildians in 2008 when this province last played host to the national tournament.
Expected to fill the centreback position in the opener Wednesday against Saskatchewan, Oram is one of the older guys on the team so he will be trying to keep the younger guys focused as they get their first taste of elite soccer on the national scale.
Being a leader is something he has no qualms about and Oram figures his team will be competitive in a division that also includes host St. Lawrence Laurentians — who beat Mount Pearl 2-1 in double overtime earlier this year in the provincial Challenge Cup final.
The two Newfoundland entries weren’t slotted to play in the same division, but a few weeks ago there was a change made that saw the two put in the same group.
This, of course, is a game that Oram says will be an interesting one to watch that he believes will have a big crowd following.
“No doubt we want to have a bit of redemption after losing in the finals for sure,” Oram said of the showdown with St. Lawrence scheduled for Thursday night.
“I’m sure that will be a battle — as it is usually — so it should be fun for both teams to be playing in front of the home crowd at nationals.”
All teams play two games to set the stage for who advances to Saturday’s playoff round so every game is a big game.