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Coach Jeff Mitchell believes Western Wolves will be competitive in provincial U17 male soccer league

Coach Jeff Mitchell keeps a close eye on two of his players doing a strength exercise during a recent practice session for the Western Wolves U17 male soccer team competing in the provincial U17 male soccer league this summer.
Coach Jeff Mitchell keeps a close eye on two of his players doing a strength exercise during a recent practice session for the Western Wolves U17 male soccer team competing in the provincial U17 male soccer league this summer. - Star file photo

Jeff Mitchell had to give up playing competitive soccer because of wear and tear on his body, but he’s excited about being able to pass on his wisdom to budding soccer players.

Mitchell, a parole officer for western Newfoundland and Labrador, is the head coach for the Western Wolves entry in the Newfoundland and Labrador U17 male soccer league.

Mitchell coached soccer at Templeton Academy in Meadows last year when the school was looking for a coach. He knew a few players on the team, so he was willing to help out and had a blast doing so, he says.

Doug Sweetapple, director of coaching for the Corner Brook Minor Soccer Association, approached Mitchell about the coaching gig in the fall of 2017.

Mitchell took some time to mull over the offer because he wanted to make sure he was going to be committed to the job. Once he figured out he could, he was on board.

He’s been enjoying spending his time trying to guide a good group of players. The players have been working hard over the winter months with Mitchell to ensure they are fit and focused for a summer of competitive soccer.

“It’s quite exciting to work with the kids. They are a great group and I think it’s going to be an exciting year,” Mitchell said.

He said the team’s core group trained together once a week and most of them kept their foot on the ball by playing in the Corner Brook men’s indoor soccer league.

He said a lot of time was spent on skill development and physical conditioning, but the past month or so he’s been trying to figure out the team’s strengths and then base his tactics and strategies on those strengths.

“It may be a little different than what some of the players have seen in the past, but it’s a system that they bought into and they’re quick learners and I think it will pay off for them as they go forward,” he said. “We will play to our strengths and if we do that I think we can do really well this summer.”

The Wolves will compete in Tier 1, the toughest division in the age group, and that’s exactly where Mitchell wanted his team to be, because he never did believe in going out and playing teams that weren’t going to be a tough challenge just so it could be said they won.

“We have a good mix of guys returning, but some very good skilled players making the jump to Under-17 this year, so I thought with the commitment we could certainly compete,” he said.

The Wolves open the 2018 season this weekend at Wellington with a three-game series against Feildians. The series opens with Game 1 slated for Friday at 7 p.m., while Game 2 is slotted for Saturday at 3 p.m. and Game 3 goes Sunday at 9 a.m. at the Wellington Street Sports Complex.

2018 Wolves U17 male roster

Nathan Brake (Corner Brook)

Bradley Pinkson (Stephenville)

Mark Randell (Corner Brook)

Ayo Owalabi (Corner Brook)

Tristan George (Corner Brook)

Miles Locke (Corner Brook)

Ryan Murrin (Irishtown-Summerside)

Noah Park (McIvers)

Brady Taylor (Corner Brook)

Riley Chin (Corner Brook)

Maccoy Ingram (Corner Brook)

Tarrik Rodrigues (Corner Brook)

Jacob Evoy (Corner Brook)

Colin Hulan (Corner Brook)

Troy Anstey (Corner Brook)

Michael White (Corner Brook)

Josh Penney (Corner Brook)

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