Cathy Morgan dreads making the long drive across the island on a regular basis to receive training, but she’s willing to make the commitment in an effort to improve her stock as a soccer player in the province.
The 11-year-old Stephenville native is a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador U12 female soccer team. She earned a spot on the team when tryouts were held for prospects earlier this year.
As one of three girls from the west coast, Sidney Joyce and Alicia Osmond also making the cut, being a member of the provincial U12 female program requires athletes to be committed. They have to make regular treks to the east coast to participate in training sessions. According to Mike Power, player development director with the provincial soccer association, the focus at the U12 age bracket is on skill development more so than competition.
That’s fine with Morgan. She will put up with the long droves knowing it’s in her best interest to receive quality coaching in a structured program geared towards player development.
“It’s going to make me a lot better because they know what to do and they know the game of soccer,” Morgan said.
She has played the game of soccer since she was five years old, perhaps motivated to pick up the game because her dad Mick Power was pretty shifty on the soccer pitch back in his day.
It’s all about having fun, but she also has a thirst for competing. She likes to see how she stacks up against other players in her age group.
It’s her first chance to represent her province so the day her mom Renee Morgan called her to inform she made the cut she was all smiles. She put her best foot forward and hoped for the best knowing she had some pretty good players sharing the same desire.
“It was pretty cool because there was a lot of good players there and I didn’t know if I was going to make it or not,” she said.
Power said the coaching staffs at the U12 level focus on prospects who who have qualities that stand out. Like everyone else named to the team, Power said, there are things Morgan bring to the table that made her attractive to the coaching staff.
The team needs a bit of everything to be successful, he said.
Morgan admits she likes to play the midfield position and makes no bones she wants to be an offensive weapon.
Her coach believes she has a good skill set and some strong points that helped her earn a berth on the team.
“She’s gritty, she works hard and she plays a tough, physical game,” he said.
Meeting the other girls and becoming teammates is what she relishes right now. Perhaps, the long drive across the island won’t look so bad once she has her first session behind her.