Cumberland put a major scare into favoured Spartacus with a last-minute Tristan Proulx header that went just wide in a 2-1 match. Photo: Dan Plouffe
By Dan Plouffe
An 0-3 record wasn’t exactly the way they pictured the start of their first OYSL season, but the Cumberland United Cobras U16 Level 1 team remain on track to fulfilling their objective of being a competitive team, says coach Simon Birch.
“I still think we can have a good season,” Birch adds. “In skill level, I don’t think we’re far off. Conditioning, we’re there with everybody. Tactically, the boys play hard and they can manage. I think we’re close.”
There was evidence of that promise in their home opener when the Cobras gave undefeated Spartacus a big scare in a 2-1 defeat.
“I think we outplayed them,” Birch maintains. “They’re a more experienced team – probably one of the top two or three teams in Ontario. This is our first time at the L1 provincial level.”
It’s been quite the path for these Cobras, half of whom played on a Level 5 team only a few years ago and made their way up to the province’s top division.
“It’s an accomplishment for the boys. It’s pretty big for them,” Birch highlights. “These boys have really worked hard as they’ve grown up.”
The faster game is still something Cumberland is adjusting to, and the team is still on the lookout for quality players willing to make the tremendous commitment required to play Level 1 soccer. But there’s no question what the team’s ultimate goal in OYSL is.
“The number one thing is we want to have fun,” Birch says. “This doesn’t come around a lot.”
The Ottawa South United U16 OYSL team also fell to Spartacus 2-1 at home, but carry an even 1-1 record thanks to a 2-1 win over Windsor. Premices Luanda has scored twice this year for OSU, while Trysten Larabie has also found the back of the net.