Newfoundland Prospect Given Chance To Join TFC Academy
You are forgiven if you have never heard of a small Newfoundland soccer club called the St. Lawrence Laurentians before reading this post. But if a youngster by the name of Jordi Slaney has his way you might be hearing a lot about his current club, and about him, in future years.
Slaney is a sixteen year old hailing from the small outport of St. Lawrence on the south coast of the island of Newfoundland. He has been invited by Toronto FC to town for a two week tryout with a chance at the end of the fortnight here in Toronto to potentially be offered a position with the TFC Academy’s under 17 squad. No Newfoundlander has ever been offered a tryout with a professional club in the last twenty years.
St. Lawrence is a small town that has like many in Newfoundland has seen its fair share of trouble and loss over its history. Twenty years ago the Federal government dealt a hammer blow to the town when it shut down the Northern Cod fishery which saw many fishermen and fish plant workers lose their jobs permanently. A fluorspar mine, now long closed, also took its toll on the economic and physical health of the townspeople. Suffice it to say the folks who call St. Lawrence home are used to tough times. Out-migration rather than immigration has been the order of the day for the past two decades. And as one of the windiest and relatively speaking more desolate spots on a generally windy and rugged island they are getting a huge wind farm installed in the next few years to take advantage of a very tough climate.
Yet the town is perhaps most famous in Newfoundland for the Laurentians Soccer Club, which has won more titles and participated in more national Tournaments than any other club in the history of Newfoundland Soccer. Founded in 1904 by Irish immigrants, the club is perhaps one of the more storied and yet unknown clubs in Canadian soccer history. St. Lawrence has roughly just over 1,200 people (in total) living there. St. John’s, the provincial capital and largest city, has a current population of roughly 150,000 and yet the St. Lawrence club has historically dominated the Provincial soccer scene. This would be like Timmins with a population of 42,000 beating Toronto year after year after year in the same way.
And without a doubt Jordi is perhaps one of the best prospects to come out of that part of the country in a long time. He has already been part of setup at the CSA’s National Training Center-Atlantic in Halifax for the past two years and in 2011 Jordi was captain of the Under -16 Atlantic Team playing in a central midfield position.
Now it’s up to a young kid from a small town out east to impress Thomas Rongren, Paul Mariner, Jimmy Brennan and Danny Dichio amongst others and if he does so perhaps we might see him suit up in TFC Red later this year at the new Academy facility in Downsview.
I was tipped off back in the fall by a senior Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association executive that Slaney might be getting this invitation and I am happy to report that he has indeed been given a chance of a lifetime. Hailing from a small town in Newfoundland myself I am very pleased/proud that this kid is being given a chance to prove that there are good soccer players out there in this country that do not live within driving distance of BC Place, BMO Field or Stade Saputo or don’t play for a rich club or attend some expensive Academy. And I for one want to congratulate Toronto FC for casting their nets wider than just the GTA and for giving what appears to be a very deserving candidate a chance at fulfilling his dream.