Being a big presence in the goal is certainly a bonus for soccer keeper Adam Canning.
The six-foot-one Stephenville native is the keeper for the Western entry in the provincial Under-14 boys soccer league.
According to his coach, Doug Sweetapple, being blessed with height is something that bodes well for all keepers in the game who have to defend an eight-foot high cage.
“It’s good to have somebody who can cover the top part of the goal,” Sweetapple said of his keeper.
Canning is in his second year with the Western boys so he has experience on his side.
The way coach Sweetapple sees it, things can only get better for the keeper who plays hockey in the winter.
“He knows the position very well and every game he plays he’s getting better and better,” Sweetapple said.
He’s embraced turning aside scoring atempts from imposing players since he picked up the game four years ago.
He enjoys being in a position to help his team achieve success, admitting he doesn’t think he would make much of an impact in any other role.
“Being a keeper it’s kind of an odd place to be in because the thing is you can steal a game for your team, but you can lose it just with one small mistake as well,” Canning said.
Canning is the man betweeen the pipes on most occasions for the Western side, but the team has a capable back-up — Christopher Pinksen of Deer Lake — to fill in when his presence is needed.
He has a couple of shutouts to show for his efforts in leading Western to a 6-3-1 record heading into a two-game showdown against Metro United Football Club this weekend at Wellington Street Sports Complex.
He has no problem taking on the pressures of being the last line of defence, but he’s never felt alone. He credits his teammates for a solid effort on defence and keeping the scoring chances to a minimal.
“I know that I’ve got a really strong back line supporting me so I don’t get many shots anway, but when I do it’s normally not a very strong on it’s usually from outside the 18,” he said.
Canning will have to be on his toes when Western clashes with MUFC today 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. at Wellington Street Sports Complex.
He’s ready to defend.
Now, he wants to the boys to create some excitement on offence.
“We need to finish our opportunites,” he said.