Holyrood soccer program making a splash in metro league

By Mark Squibb

The Holyrood Hurricanes may be newcomers, but they’re making quite the name for themselves in soccer.

The Hurricanes are based out of the Holyrood Soccer Academy, formed just about a year ago by Phil Barnes and his daughter Stacey Sullivan.
Barnes, who has previously run soccer clubs in Port aux Basques and Fogo, said the program allows youths to build upon skills they learned in the Town-run Timbits Soccer program.

“I love the game,” said Barnes. “And I played the game well, and I understand the game. And I said, ‘I can bring that enjoyment to kids.’ And that’s why I’m passionate about it. Soccer is such a good sport to learn. It’s probably the most inexpensive sport to play, and it’s played all over the world. It’s probably the most popular sport in the world. And it takes very little to play — all you need is a pair of shin pads and a pair of cleats.”

Barnes, originally from Fortune, grew up with the game, and played on a number of different teams, including a stint with the MUN Seahawks. He’s passed down that love of the game to his daughter Stacey, who helps him run the soccer academy while also competing with a number of other teams.

Last summer, Barnes and Sullivan introduced basic soccer skills, and were able to secure an indoor space to continue training children during the winter months. This spring, they’ve decided they’re ready to compete: The U10 Hurricanes have competed twice now in metro league competitions. Most recently, they competed in the Fieldians Soccer Association’s 125th Anniversary Tournament.

“When we saw the tournaments coming up, we thought we would be good enough to compete,” said Barnes. “It would at least give us an idea of where we stood. And we proved that we can compete here in the Metro League.”
The boys earned silver medals at both tournaments.

“To place second in both tournaments, out of six or seven different teams, isn’t too shabby,” said Barnes. “Both of us are dedicated and the parents are behind their kids, so there’s a lot going on, and it’s going to get better.”

The club boasts between 60 and 70 children from kindergarten to Grade 6, and Barnes said they are learning skills important on the field, and off.

“Youth playing soccer learn to appreciate what a team is all about, and about the camaraderie of teamsmanship and what it means to support one another,” said Barnes. “And I’ve been told that some of the kids in our program are becoming better students in school… A good team spirit carries over into your personal life.”
Barnes said the group is looking for sponsors to help buy equipment, as registration fees only cover insurance costs and tournament costs.

“We need equipment, we need balls, we need field equipment, and so on,” said Barnes. “So, it would be nice if some businesses in the town could reach out and say, ‘Yeah, we can donate a few hundred dollars here and there.’ We need to grow financially to carry on the program.”

Barnes said the program is open to all youths in the region, although he suggests that those with no experience begin with the Timbits Soccer program.

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