MES AMIS ET MOI — The under-14 teams from Grand Falls-Windsor and St. Pierre and Miquelon pose for a group photo during a moment of downtime. Both teams met in three friendlies at St. Pierre and Miquelon over the July 11 weekend.
The Exploits Soccer Association recently sent its under-14 team to the island of St. Pierre and Miquelon for three friendlies.
The games took place over the course of the July 11 weekend, and when the fog cleared to end the trip, the local team returned home with a 0-2-1 record.
Grand Falls-Windsor dropped the first two games by respective scores of 3-0 and 2-0, and rallied to tie the third game 1-1.
“We got better and better with each game we played,” said Jordan Head, who coached the local under-14 side.
Before leaving for St. Pierre and Miquelon, Head said he wanted to see a few different things from his team, especially when it came to hard work and hustle.
He expected the hosts to have more practices under their belt, and to be tough competition.
He was right.
“I just wanted our team to work as hard as they possibly could and put as much effort as they could into the games, and hope for the best,” said the head coach.
The local under-14s did what their coach asked. They worked hard and put in the effort. However, Head said they showed a better work ethic in game two than in game one.
When the final whistle blew to end game three, Head said he saw an immense difference from when his team first hit the pitch.
“The work ethic improved, their communication improved, and they became more of a team. We all stayed in their soccer hut together as a team, so we became closer.
“We tied the third game so, obviously, our scoring got better, too,” said Head. “I just saw a big, overall improvement. Their positioning was really good. I told them where they had to be on the pitch and they did it, no questions asked. They were in position perfectly. A 1-1 score is a good soccer game. It’s like a pro game.
“Our defence also got better as the games went on. We allowed three goals, then two, then one. I guess we’ll win the next game 1-0 and get the shutout,” he added with a laugh.
Moving forward, Head said he would like to work on finishing skills with his players. The way he sees it, with the way his team played defensively in St. Pierre and Miquelon, if they can find a way to score more goals they’ll be an under-14 team to be reckoned with.
“I think we have to work on putting the ball into the net a little more,” said Head. “We managed to score one goal that weekend and finished with a tie. If we can improve on our goal scoring we’ll be winning a lot more games.”
Two of his players, Thomas Barry and Caleb Fifield, agreed with his assessment. Both players thought the local squad performed really well on the road trip, and believe with a few more goals, they could have left with at least a win.
“We played really good…but we just couldn’t put the ball in the net,” said Barry.
“We played well and we had a lot of chances, but we couldn’t capitalize,” said Fifield. “However, we also played well defensively.”
When everything came together in the third game, both Barry and Fifield saw just how good their team can be.
Barry said the local side did a much better job controlling the ball in the third game. Fifield added some of that came down to the fact the team wanted to leave on a high note.
“It was the last match, so we wanted to have a good game,” said Fifield. “Everybody put their best effort in.”
“In the third game, we did a lot better job of keeping the ball out of our end and keeping it in theirs,” said Barry. “We were doing a really good job of guarding their players and making sure they couldn’t get the ball. We also did a better job setting each other up and passing the ball.”