ON-FORM 04 GIRLS HAVE A NO.1 PRIORITY
NORTH TORONTO NITROS SOCCER’S 04 Girls TSA squad have stormed to an unbeaten start to the season in The Hangar League - despite operating without a recognised goalkeeper.
The club is working hard to find a player to step into the vacancy with a dedicated team who are coached by former NT League One forward Russell Rodrigues.
As the search for a solution continues, though, the girls have pieced together an excellent start to the season after an opening 1-1 draw with Toronto High Park.
A 3-0 success over North York Cosmos was followed by a 5-1 defeat of Bolton Wanderers on Saturday night and Head Coach Russell said: “It is frustrating for us to have to ask the outfield players to keep deputising in net but right now we are overcoming that.
“The girls have been excellent in the games but I hope we can find a solution soon to help keep them in contention at the top of the table.”
HONOURS EVEN IN BOYS DERBY DAY DUST-UP
GREEN AND RED ARMY...06s Boys (back) with their 07s Boys clubmates before The Hangar League derby
NITROS 06 TSA Boys and 07 TSA Boys clashed in a derby showdown at The Hangar - with the 4-4 tie being the best result for club harmony if not for the players and coaches involved!
For 06s Head Coach Dennis Goodridge and the 07s’ Neil Jordan it was a chance to see how the boys measured up against each other and it was an entertaining encounter.
Experienced Nitros veteran Dennis reflected: “Our boys were disappointed not to beat their younger club mates but it was a fun game to watch.
“The 07s boys defended very well and took their chances when they created them and Neil and his squad deserve a lot of credit for that.”
These sides are operating in a tough 10-team league that also includes the strong CSL 07 Boys and is mixed U13/U14 with some excellent opponents like Wexford and Gil Vicente also battling it out for the title. It will be an intriguing division to watch over the winter months.
03 GIRLS STAND ON BRINK OF THE TITLE
NORTH TORONTO NITROS Under-16 Girls TSA side are now two wins away from a thrilling title triumph.
After a brilliant 6-1 success over close rivals High Park last week Head Coach Callum Fleming’s side need two more victories to clinch the championship and gain promotion to the Central Soccer League (CSL).
Callum - who has a degree in Kinesiology and starred for Nitros in midfield in League One - is one of the club’s gifted developing young coaches.
As well as leading the 03 Girls in TSA he works in football fitness sessions with our OPDL squads and is a popular figure in that environment.
His coaching journey is being boosted with this challenge and he stressed: “Our other Nitros side in the league, the 2004 girls who are coached by my old League One colleague Russell Rodrigues, did us a big favour by drawing with High Park.
“Now we control our own destiny and that’s all you can hope for.
“Overall they have done really well after dropping our first game which was disappointing.
“We have been very consistent and we are hitting our stride now.”
Throughout the winter training block Callum worked hard with his players at our Soccerplex base in a bid to take the next step.
They had been edged out of promotion last season and he is desperate to see them bury that memory.
He said: “I have been really impressed with Estelle Coutts who has been great for us in midfield and been key.
“Alison Traynor is new to the team after joining us in the winter time and she has brought us a goal threat from wide and been excellent.
“One thing I am proud of is our excellent defensive record and the back players and our keeper Sophie Zakinthinos take a lot of credit.
“We have always known the skills Sammy York can bring and she has come alive too at a vital stage of the season.
“That was summed up in the recent 7-2 win over Etobicoke when she scored four. The game getting physical seemed to be a spark for her that night.
“Those are just some examples of players doing well, though, they have all played a part and I am really excited to have a chance to take the next step with this team.”
Callum is highly rated within the coaching room but he knew that whilst he is learning with our more experienced coaches taking a team himself was a project he needed most.
The 03 Girls have responded to his leadership and he confessed: “It has been a great learning curve for me to have sole responsibility for a team as part of my development as a coach at Nitros.
“I was coming in working with girls as Head Coach for the first time and I have loved the four times a week process and seeing the improvement.
“I love game day and when you see the work you have put in pay off it is all worth it.”
From OPDL to CSL to TSA there are different challenges for a coach with our mission to make sure we stick to the club’s guiding philosophy.
“As many as possible for as long as possible in the best environment possible.”
Callum knows his main mission is keeping the girls in love with the Beautiful Game and he admitted: “Girls at this level have other commitments and the big battle can be getting the numbers you want at games.
“But you face that and try to overcome it and we are close to achieving what we set out to do.
“We have the league title to chase and a tournament in Ottawa to look forward to that is less of a priority for us at this point.
“If we can get the title we move on to the Central Soccer League which has been a big goal for this program.
“Last year they finished second which I know was a frustration for the players.
“I just hope the hard work we have put in this year now gets us over the line.”