By Chris Lewis | July 29, 2021
Football is becoming an increasingly popular sport in the province, and these boys are proof of that.
Nathan Froggatt of Hant’s Harbour, Matthew Drover of Spaniard’s Bay, and Reilly Allan of Bay Roberts are three of 15 young men who just returned to the province after a stint in Nova Scotia playing football at an Atlantic Canadian level.
The boys, alongside the rest of their team, are the only U-16 team in the province. After months of training, they managed to earn themselves a spot in the 2021 Atlantic Bowl, held at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish.
Football NL (FNL) has been active in the province since around 2016. However, the team that Froggatt, Drover and Allan were on was actually recruited back in 2019 as the province’s first U-16 team.
According to Allan’s mother, Diane, the team was originally supposed to take part in the tournament back in 2020 but was unable to make the trip due to complications from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year though, the crew were able to make it and have returned home with silver medals.
“They went up there and honestly, they didn’t think they had a hope in hell,” Diane said. “The teams (outside of the province) are huge, you’re talking sometimes upwards of 60 players. We were very lucky to reach the minimum 15 to make the trip. They had a lot of odds stacked against them when they went, but they went over and ended up in the gold medal game.”
The first game the boys played was against New Brunswick. This game was a success for them, which automatically bumped them up to the gold medal game against P.E.I.
Although P.E.I came out on top, the Newfoundland boys were over the moon about their silver medal win.
Diane said the training the boys went through prior to the tournament is quite intense, surprising even her.
“We practiced usually two nights during the week, and then again on Saturdays. Sometimes, it’d be even four times a week,” she said. “They had trainers, doing weight training, a lot of cardio, and of course all the strategies … Even in the winter, it didn’t stop. We’d train indoors at the PowerPlex in St. John’s. It was a lot of work, but we’re all very happy and proud to see it pay off.”