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Corner Brook native Kevin Oram embracing new challenge with Mount Pearl

Mount Pearl’s Kevin Oram, left, and Zach Hynes of Feildians go up for the ball during a provincial Challenge Cup men’s soccer league game in 2016 at the Gushue Complex in Mount Pearl.
Mount Pearl’s Kevin Oram, left, and Zach Hynes of Feildians go up for the ball during a provincial Challenge Cup men’s soccer league game in 2016 at the Gushue Complex in Mount Pearl.

Kevin Oram has experience on his side so he’s expected to adjust nicely to his new role.

The 33-year-old Corner Brook native is now a player/coach with Mount Pearl in the provincial Challenge Cup men’s soccer league after former head coach Andrew Murphy was no longer able to commit to the gig because of coach duties with the Canada Games men’s soccer squad.

Murphy still plays for Mount Pearl entry, but Ryan Caines is the head coach this year so Oram will be working closely with Caines.

It’s certainly a new challenge for Oram but he figures he will settle in nicely once he has a few games under his belt in his new role. His team opened the Challenge Cup season with a 1-0 win over St. Lawrence on Saturday night before battling a much-improved CBS squad to a scoreless draw in Kelligrews Sunday afternoon.

“Trying to separate yourself from being a player and a coach sometimes is challenging, but we do have a lot of the same team as last year and I was one of the senior guys on the team last year so I haven’t really changed too much,” he said.

Caines has the final say on what happens with the team and who plays so Oram believes this should make life a little easier for him in his new role.

“Having Ryan there as the head coach is helpful for me because on game days I can just focus on being a player,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about coaching and prepping for the game because he takes care of all that so it’s not a huge difference.”

The St. Lawrence Laurentians beat Mount Pearl 2-1 in double overtime in the 2016 Challenge Cup final, but Oram and company got a chance to compete in the 2017 nationals because two entries from this province were allowed because St. John’s hosted the tournament.

It was a disappointing run, but the focus hasn’t changed for this year.

Winning is the goal again this year and Oram likes how his team is looking with a handful of young skilled players eager to make their mark on the Challenge Cup scene.

 “That’s nice to see, especially for myself, who can’t necessarily play every game and every minute anymore,” he said with a light chuckle.

He loves to compete so he will continue until his body tells him otherwise.

“It kind of helps having those young guys push you,” he said.

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