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Corner Brook United opens season tonight at home


Ryan Dawe remembers the excitement he felt as a kid watching Challenge Cup soccer games in Corner Brook with a packed stands rooting for the home team.

Ryan Dawe prepares to accept a pass during Steers Insurance Corner Brook United team practice at Wellington Street Sports Complex on Thursday night.
Chris Quigley/The Western Star

He hopes to relive that excitement this weekend.

Dawe, 19-year-old son of John and Sheila Dawe, is one of the guys expected to provide offensive punch for Steers Insurance Corner Brook United when Challenge Cup men’s soccer returns to the city this weekend.

“I find it’s a big adrenaline boost when there’s people in the crowd watching and cheering you on,” Dawe said earlier this week. “If you score a goal and there’s so many people in the crowd it’s just a good feeling.”

It’s the first time in five years a Challenge Cup team from western Newfoundland participated in the provincial men’s soccer league.

Dawe knows the first season will be a tough test with so many new faces having to learn how to adjust to the calibre of soccer played at the Challenge Cup level. Players will see it’s a game played at a faster pace against skilled players the majority have never played against before, the sniper said.

He has one season of Challenge Cup play under his belt, having suited up with the Canada Summer Games squad last year. That gave him insight into what is expected of players at a level where the majority of his teammates have no idea what to expect.

Dawe said wins and losses are not the most important thing to focus on early in the season. The goal is to develop a strong team over a period of five years with a patient approach.

But, he keeps telling his buddies there is one thing they better put at the top of their priority list, if they want to hold their own against some pretty good soccer teams.

“You got to be fit if you want to play at this level,” he said.

He likes how coach Vince Pickett has been able to drill that message into the players. Over the past few months, Dawe said players have been working hard to get in shape, and it was helpful when the coach was putting them through high-paced practices to prepare them.

The core group of western’s entry played with Dawe on the Corner Brook Under-18 men’s team in the Corner Brook Senior Men’s Soccer League. He believes all hands will have to adjust to the speed of the game. He likes having some veterans who will play a supporting role in helping the young guns adjust and find their way.

“I don’t think any of us can wait now. We’re just getting excited now,” he said.

Steers Insurance Corner Brook United opens the season with a two-game series with CBS That Pro Look Strikers FC this weekend with games slated for tonight 6:30 p.m. and Sunday 12 noon at Wellington Street Sports Complex.

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