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Friday, Jun. 22, 2018
To sustain and grow the goal for Politi
by Randy Pascal

Cambrian Golden Shield soccer master coach Giuseppe Politi is not one to rest on his laurels.

The latest in a string of record-breaking seasons has just barely been put to bed, as the ultra-passionate soccer devotee turns his attention to the fall of 2017.

And he does so armed with the knowledge of some key factors that played into the massive turnaround in the fortunes of Cambrian soccer since he first took over the program in 2010, including the additional financial backing the college contributed beginning three years ago.

“I don’t think it’s the only variable, but it’s certainly a big variable, that we are able to offer student athletes scholarship money in order to get them to college, to study and to play,” said Politi. “Not having those resources would have meant that we would not have accomplished what we did.”

“The scholarship program was critical in terms of attracting certain players to commit to Cambrian. It eases the financial burden for those student athletes.” Not all that far removed from his own playing days, a point in time that would see the gifted striker pursue his on the field dreams in Florida, Politi knows that the impact of a scholarship can run deeper than simply the dollars and cents.

“There is that psychological buy-in, where the program is willing to invest in the student-athlete, and that in turn gets them more fully invested in the project, and our vision of what we want to do,” said Politi. “It’s not a lot of money, but I think it’s still a material amount that we are able to offer.”

Understandably, it’s one facet of the current Cambrian soccer success that those most closely involved with the program wish to see extended. “I do think that when we do try to recruit, it certainly opens a potential student’s eyes, or their parents’ eyes, that we’re able to offer something, especially for people out of town.”

“Having a good program and good coaching helps, but it’s not enough,” he continued. “The costs are just too much. I think that it’s important that this support not only continues, but grows.” Thankfully, if the proof is in the pudding, Politi and company are able to present themselves at the table of college administrators, armed with bowls that are over-flowing with proof-filled pudding.

In the course of a relatively short span, the Golden Shield soccer teams have gone from earning a post-season berth for the first time ever, to perennial contenders. “The last three years, if you objectively look at the results, you can see that the investments have paid off,” said Politi.

“We’ve made the playoffs each year, we’ve achieved some sort of record-setting results, whether it’s medals, or consecutive playoff appearances, or consecutive home playoff appearances.” Fair to say they have likely surpassed even the most optimistic of projections on the potential impact of scholarship monies for athletes taking to the pitch for Cambrian College.

“We were confident that we could improve things,” noted Politi. “The extent to which we could improve things, however, we weren’t sure. There are a couple of other dynamics in play. While our college was starting the support soccer (and other varsity sports), the overall realm of OCAA soccer has gotten that much better, the quality of soccer is better, especially in the girls game.”

“It’s so much better than it was in 2010, when I first started. That is because the girls, especially from out of town, are coming from clubs that have bought into LTPD (Long Term Player Development), and following the coach education guidelines, and have year-round facilities where they are developing all of these players,” he continued. “Eventually, these players need a place to play.”

Somewhere in there, you will note another pet peeve for Politi. It comes to the surface again, as I offer him the option of filling out his Cambrian College soccer Christmas wish list. “More money to do some recruiting, and more money to attract athletes,” he said. “Also, the consideration of running an indoor program.”

“But you need a facility in the City to do that, so why not build one at Cambrian?,” he asks, suggestively. “And even with all of that, there still needs to be an improvement overall in soccer in Sudbury. We rely heavily on the local base of talent.”

“Should we be delighted with what we’ve done?,” Politi added. “Yes – given the resources and the player pool and the population of our school. But once you taste success, you want to replicate that on a yearly basis, and then take one step further. It would be extremely disheartening now to have a season where we don’t make the playoffs.”

My, how far they have come.

In addition to the team success achieved this year, individual honours were plentiful. Here is a brief outline:

Tiffany Johnson: All-Time Leading OCAA goal scorer – 62 goals; single season record – 28 goals; CCAA All-Canadian; OCAA All-Star

Sarah Cholewinsky: OCAA Rookie of the Year; OCAA All-Star

Tamara Johnson and Alexandra Ross: OCAA All-Stars

Greater Sudbury Soccer Club
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