Any time a soccer player from the west coast cracks the roster of a provincial soccer team in the U12 age bracket brings a smile to the face of Doug Sweetapple.
So, when he was asked about his thoughts on Keegan Piercey of Corner Brook being the only player from the west to earn a spot on the provincial U12 male soccer team he quickly responded he was pleasantly surprised.
Keegan, 11-year-old son of Corner Brook’s Doug and Lori Piercey, found out this week he was one of 28 players named to the team. He was one of six players from this region invited to a tryout camp earlier this year, but only two players accepted the invitation.
Sweetapple said it’s always difficult for players from western to make the cut at such a young age because players on the east coast have the benefit of playing in a metro league starting at the U8 age group. This early start gives them more touches on the ball, and better yet more games at a competitive level than the counterparts on the west coast.
Sweetapple said there are some quality coaches immersed in soccer programs around the west coast, but they still face the reality of being limited to high calibre soccer because of geography.
“Good competition improves your play,” Sweetapple said.
Despite the challenge, Sweetapple has been impressed with the skillset and attitude of the young soccer player he has seen kick the ball around at Wellington for a number of years now. He believes Piercey is technically sound in the key facets of the game like passing, shooting and dribbling so he deserves to be grouped in with the best players in the province for his age bracket.
He believes Piercey’s skillset is worthy of a spot on the team, but he also noted that the boy has a knack for excelling in a variety of sports and does so with really good character and a strong personality.
Piercey, who also excels in baseball and hockey, lists soccer as his favourite sport so earning a spot on the team meant a lot to him. He’s proud to be able to represent the west and plans on giving it his best shot to help the team achieve success.
It appears Piercey prefers to do his talking on the field. The soft-spoken C. C. Loughlin student was pretty quiet and calm when asked about his selection.
“I know I’m the only one from here that made it and I’m proud of it,” he said.
Soccer is a sport that requires athletes to be in good shape because it requires a lot of running. This is probably the biggest reason he commits to playing the game at every opportunity.
Only time will tell what the future holds for the multi-sport athlete.
But, he is quick to point out there are two reasons why he’s fully engaged in athletic endeavours.
“It’s fun and it’s challenging,” he said.
The west coast of the province is well represented on the provincial U12 female soccer squad with three girls — Sidney Joyce of Corner Brook, Cathy Morgan of Stephenville and Alicia Osmond of Corner Brook — making the cut for the 28-player roster.