WINTER OF SUCCESS FIRES UP SHANE'S 17s GIRLS
TROPHY TIME...the triumphant U17 Girls with coach Shane O'Flaherty after landing the indoor league title at The Hangar
NORTH TORONTO NITROS SOCCER U17 Girls CSL Head Coach Shane O’Flaherty has had a frantic start to the summer season.
The fun-loving Irishman mixes a full-time job with guiding his dedicated squad and this time round had to throw in a visit home to the Emerald Isle to sit his UEFA B Licence coaching assessment.
Shane has barely had time to draw breath yet amidst it all - after an opening day setback against division powerhouses King United - his side have won three games on the spin in dramatic fashion.
For experienced Nitros diehard Shane that’s been a pleasing run and he stressed: “The girls have shown growth over the winter period which we are now beginning to see on the field.
“They are confident on the ball and are a lot more vocal with each other, encouraging and guiding each other as best they can on the field.
“Physically they are also getting stronger and faster which is great to see.”
Nitros have games to catch up on the pace-setters in their league and face Aurora at home on Wednesday night (June 26) in their next CSL challenge.
Shane believes the team spirit his side have shown so far can be a key factor in this summer campaign.
And he pointed out: “In our last two games we conceded equalising goals in the last minute.
“Then when it seemed we were destined to tie we showed great fight and a never say die attitude to go up the other end and score injury-time goals in both games to get the win.
“Our targets always remain the same. To improve on all fronts on last season, to gain more wins, more points, more goals and concede less.
“We made huge improvements on the season before so we want to continue to grow as a team.
“Another goal is to get to the knockout stages of the Ontario Cup. We were very unlucky last year being drawn in a group with the holders and the previous year’s winners and we got edged out.”
Over the winter and spring there have been changes on and off the field with the CSL Girls U17s.
In the technical area Shane is now joined by a new assistant coach after bringing in Saoirse Lenihan, who played in the National League in Ireland
On the field there has been some significant recruitment too and Shane revealed: “We have added some new players in Alex Chernoff, Emma Mazzei and Katherina Rezak who have hugely strengthened the team.
“Also Cassie Sidebottom has returned to the team after playing aged up two seasons with the 01s and Nicky Boyd also returns after playing OPDL for a season.”
One of the biggest positives, though, is the welcome return of Camille Flammia who is back after over a year out with a serious knee injury.
Camille is back to full health and has already grabbed two goals in her first four comeback games.
Shane is happy with his new-look squad and he smiled: "Defensively we have Abby Scott bossing it along with Kyra Mei-Pratt, Katherine Rita. Diba Heydary and Tess Jakob.
“Elise Adam has taken up a new role of defensive midfield and is doing really well. We then have Paige Reynolds, Rachel Turnbull and Rosie Nicholls pulling the strings in midfield along with the standout performer in Emma Mazzei.
“I feel we now have a very strong front three between the likes of Tara Davis, who has been clinical with four goals in four games, and wide players like Mia Vandekas, Arianna Bill and Camille.
“When you add a very skilled striker in Taja Venturello it shows we have the firepower to cause huge headaches for the opposition. I’m looking forward to seeing them all develop this summer.”
TIGHT-KNIT 05 GIRLS GET OFF TO A FLYER
TOGETHERNESS...the dedicated 05 Girls CSL squad with coach Humberto Ferreira (far right) and parent coach Lisa Parker
IF you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far go together.
The roots of that African proverb are at the core of Nitros 2005 CSL Girls Head Coach Humberto Ferreira’s philosophy on the Beautiful Game.
Teamwork is at the heart of everything Humberto, a 2018 recruit to the Technical Staff from Portuguese influenced Toronto club FC Sporting, preaches to the dedicated girls he guides now. It’s working.
The gifted 05s squad has started the season with three games unbeaten in the league beating Aurora and Cherry Beach and tying 1-1 in a difficult away trip to Woodbridge as they battle it out in the upper reaches of the 15-team Central Soccer League Under-14 Girls Division.
Humberto is relishing the job of guiding his side in what is a very strong age group for the club after setting the foundations for success through the winter season.
He stressed: I am very proud of the girls. Since the indoor season, the girls have been, and continue to be incredibly coachable.
“They have adapted and implemented the new game model beautifully. The performances the girls have put together thus far is a combination of their talent along with hard work.”
Right now NT sit handily placed in fourth with three games in hand over league leaders Barrie who have blasted away with six wins on the spin.
As the summer progresses, though, Humberto’s focus will be on the development of the players, knowing performances then results will flow from that.
He reasoned: “The target for the squad is to develop throughout the remainder of the season as both a unit and as individual players.
“In order for this to happen, we must keep working hard to improve and continue to approach every game and training with a high standard.
“It is impossible for me to single out and name a few players who have started strongly this season.
“Every one of the girls have stepped up enormously and contributed to the team’s success.”
Tonight (Thursday June 20) the 05 CSL Girls face North York in Game Four of their campaign and we will keep you up to date with their fortunes in the new CSL Focus feature on ntsoccer.com.
As the group continues to develop Humberto will stick true to that proverb he holds to and he pointed out: “One of our biggest strengths is teamwork and team culture. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”