Evan Martin, left, of Steers Insurance Corner Brook United, competes for the ball against Ben Collingwood of Feildians Ernst & Young in a provincial Challenge Cup soccer game played earlier this summer at Wellington Street Sports Complex in Corner Brook.
©Star file photo
There was no playoff berth for a team with youth on its side, but Pat Fewer was impressed with how his team showed progress from start to finish and didn’t throw in the towel down the stretch.
Fewer is player/coach for Steers Insurance Corner Brook United in the provincial Challenge Cup men’s soccer league, which wrapped up for the local squad this past weekend in St. Lawrence. United closed with two losses against one of the league’s top teams.
Corner Brook United finished in fifth spot with 10 points with a 2-16-4 record, finishing seven points ahead of the cellar-dwelling CBS That Pro Look Strikers FC who had three ties and 19 losses in 22 games.
“I think the boys gained an understanding of the competition level in Challenge Cup and I think they built on that over the year and got more confidence,” Fewer said Monday.
“We improved tremendously as the season progressed.”
Fewer admits the team had a rocky start trying to get everyone acclimated with the quick pace of Challenge Cup soccer, but he was happy to see his players stay focused.
The final two weeks of the season proved to be a confidence-builder.
United wrapped up the season with a 4-3 loss to St. Lawrence Laurentians on Sunday. The Laurentians had posted a 3-0 win one night earlier.
The team had a great showdown with league-leading Holy Cross Kirby Group two weeks ago where they earned a 1-1 tie after losing 1-0 in a nail-biter.
It’s the kind of commitment any coach would embrace, given the team was aware a berth in the playoffs was a long shot at best.
“We knew we were out and we were playing some of the best teams in the league and competed with them,” he said.
The nucleus of the team is a focused group, so Fewer believes the team will be much better prepared for next season.
“We have a young team and you just don’t come into the league and expect to have fantastic results,” he said. “It takes time and it takes a lot of commitment.”
Looking at his lineup for the last game, with 11 players under the age of 20, Fewer can only look at the bright side of things.
“That will tell you youth is on our side if nothing else, and that’s encouraging to see and it’s encouraging for the young guys too.”