REX - THE POWER TO INSPIRE
WHAT A HAT-TRICK...the three Nitros prospects who made it to REX
NORTH TORONTO NITROS’ three Ontario REX program recruits have the power to inspire the current generation of up and coming players to develop their love of soccer.
Sonia Walk, Jasmine Vilgrain and Olivia Smith were part of the first intake of prospects to be invited into an environment that sees them train and go to school together as they aspire towards the national team set-up.
The NT Newsdesk will be monitoring their progress throughout 2018 and there is no question that the forward-thinking REX program gives NT players a dream to shoot for.
Coach Marc Maunder, who guides the club’s U13 and U15 girls squads, stressed: “We have those three players in the REX program now and they are role models to our younger girls throughout the NT programs from recreational to competitive.
“Before in OPDL, for instance, your target may have been to aim for being a Provincial player but now there is another dream there to make it into REX.
“Why shouldn’t the girls have the same aspirations as the boys? They can one day leave NT and make it to another level just as the boys can when they go to the Toronto FC Academy.
“There’s another step there for them and something more to achieve.”
This weekend the 2005 girls continue their development journey as they take part in the Jefferson Cup in Richmond, Virginia.
Marc is eager to see how the players deal with this next challenge and he said: “This team starts OPDL in May and I believe they can uphold what we are seeing develop as the North Toronto style of playing.
“Potentially, we have a lot of players who can move towards the provincial screening process but they have to keep working hard.
“I think the 2005 squad has what it takes to do well this season and next season. When scores and standings become part of it we will be very competitive.”
To find out more about the REX program and its aims click here.
MARC'S GIRLS OUT TO STRIKE IT RICH-MOND
NORTH TORONTO NITROS 2005 Girls squad are in Virginia this weekend primed to impress in one of the top 10 tournaments in the USA.
Marc Maunder’s U13 side take part in the Jefferson Cup in Richmond with high hopes of continuing their excellent road trip form.
The 2005 girls have already competed in a tournament in Ohio and last year they triumphed when they travelled to play in the Fall Ball Classic in Cincinnati.
Now they head to the States to test themselves against challenging opposition when the tournament kicks off on Saturday.
Coach Marc, who won last season’s Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) Charity Shield with his 2003 Girls side, is relishing the challenge ahead of his younger group.
And he said: “There are 14 tiers in this tournament and we have been granted entry in Tier Seven which shows the scale of the competition.
“The majority of the players are flying down to meet us there but my assistant coach Bill Sutherland and I will head down Thursday and use that 11-hour drive down there to talk about what is ahead of us.”
Nitros Assistant Technical Director Marc has six years of Canadian coaching experience behind him since he emigrated to Toronto from Wales.
He is in no doubt of the value of Nitros teams taking trips together to develop as players both on and OFF the field.
Marc stressed: “I feel the travel tournaments are vital. Just from speaking to the parents this week the excitement levels for the girls travelling is like nothing else.
“They are so happy to be going away as a team and to get the chance to compete together.
“This is now their third trip away together, they started off on the road in Ohio and then last year they won the Fall Ball Classic in Cincinnati in the top bracket.
“That was their first experience with scores and standings and the sight of our captain lifting the trophy will live with me for a long time.
“We won convincingly 3-0 against FC Carmel in the Final and it was an amazing experience for the girls.”
HAVIN' A BALL IN THE FALL...the 2005 Nitros girls squad who won the Cincinnati Fall Ball Classic
Nitros kick off against North Carolina Premier on Saturday morning before their second group clash against Western New York Flash in the afternoon.
The NT Newsdesk will keep you up to date with their progress here on the website and Marc feels a good showing from the girls can pave the way for other Nitros teams to make the trip to Virginia.
He pointed out: “This is an important trip because it is well-known how difficult it is to get into the Jefferson Cup.
“We are the first NT team to travel to this tournament and if we do well this could be another step for the club building on their reputation in the States.
“That has happened in North Carolina and in the Disney tournaments where we have done exceptionally well.
“It all helps to spread the name of North Toronto SC. We asked for the top bracket here but the highest we were given was seventh out of the 14.
“That shows the strength in depth and the level of soccer in Virginia and right now we are an unknown quantity.
“The Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) is only five years old right now and we have to help to establish the reputation of the league now too.”
BILLY SETTLES INTO THE NT FAMILY
NEW North Toronto Nitros Technical Director Billy Wilson is relishing the task ahead after a hectic first week in the job.
The former Manager of Player Development at Ontario Soccer took over the reins on Thursday March 1 and has been blown away by the potential he sees at the club.
Billy kicked off his time at Nitros by meeting the coaching staff at the Eglinton Park clubhouse.
RELISHING THE CHALLENGE...Billy is settling in at the Nitros after moving from Ontario Soccer
And he said: "It was was great to sit down with the staff to introduce myself, answer some questions, and together set some objectives for the coming months.
“Going forward the whole staff will meet on Thursday afternoons which will not only promote better communication and collaboration on technical programming, but will also serve as an additional opportunity for coach development.”
Billy was then joined by other members of the technical staff at the Ontario Soccer Summit held over the weekend.
This week it was tracksuit time in the evenings, getting to know the practice set-up and meeting players and parents alike during a string of sessions at Downsview.
And Billy stressed: “It has been great getting on the field and observing the staff and players doing their thing.
“I must say the highlight has to be my undefeated performance when I was asked to join in the Boys U8 2v2 games last week!”
Coach mentorship is a vital area of development for the club in 2018 and Billy kicked off the efforts there by overseeing some key staff practice sessions as we seek to bolster the already impressive qualifications of our technical staff.
With such a vastly experienced coaching roster to call on, Nitros are keen to use that bank of knowledge to develop the emerging talent.
Billy pointed out: “Coach development has to be a priority for all youth clubs.
“All coaches require ongoing mentorship and accessible development opportunities to ensure the successful completion of professional Licensing but more importantly to promote a learning culture.
“There is already mentorship going on at the Club with some of our younger staff shadowing their more experienced colleagues, however we will now be working towards formalising a Coach Development pathway.”
VOLLEY GOOD SHOW GIRLS!
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN...Katelyn Reid, Grace Breen, Avery Rogers, Maggie Atkinson, Ally Naccarato, Laura Kelly and Sammy Boone shone for John Fisher's volleyball side
SEVEN of our North Toronto Nitros 06 Girls Pre-OPDL squad switched sports to do their club and school proud as John Fisher reached the last four of the Volleyball City Finals.
Katelyn Reid, Grace Breen, Avery Rogers, Maggie Atkinson, Ally Naccarato, Laura Kelly and Sammy Boone all starred as the JF girls went down narrowly to Cornell in the semi-final.
The girls have been integral parts of the two Nitros 06 squads who have been impressing over the winter season.
Their U12 Girls Head Coach Iain King was in the crowd at Humber College to cheer the girls on in an exciting match-up.
And he said: “It was terrific to see what gifted multi-sport athletes we have in the squad.
“I found it fascinating to watch the coaching tactics of another sport and was really proud of the effort all the Nitros put in on the court.
“They came up just a little short against a really strong Cornell team but they have had a superb season in volleyball as well as soccer.
“They were disappointed to lose just one step from the Final but were all back at Nitros practice smiling and ready to learn the next night. They are a pleasure to work with.”