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HomeSportsSoccerNew soccer tournament aims to boost competition for Maritime players

New soccer tournament aims to boost competition for Maritime players

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Some of the top young soccer players from the Maritimes are showcasing their skills in Nova Scotia this weekend in a new tournament aimed at increasing competition.

The Maritime Super Series has been created as a stepping stone toward a possible Atlantic league.

Talks have been happening around the launch of a league for men and women next year involving teams from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I., and possibly Newfoundland and Labrador.

The goal would be to provide players a pathway toward higher levels that would include professional soccer, such as the Canadian Premier League.

“We’re looking to bridge the gap with youth soccer to amateur soccer to the pro level,” said Jessie Burgins, the executive director of the Suburban F.C. soccer club, which is hosting the event.

A female soccer goalie in a yellow jersey with black shorts and yellow socks kicks the ball while a player wearing blue chases after it.
The Winsloe Charlottetown Royals, in blue, played to a 1-1 tie against the Fredericton Reds at Weir Field in Upper Sackville in the Maritime Super Series. (D. Winston Photo)

Those competing in the inaugural tournament are 17 and up.

Burgins said that is the age where many promising players drop out of the game, but he believes a new level of competition could change things.

“We’re getting better and better on the Canadian level,” he said. “We see the Canadian national team doing well, but then the players in the Maritimes, it’s almost like you get stuck.”

Men’s and women’s teams from Suburban are part of the event, alongside teams from the Winsloe Charlottetown Royals F.C. and Fredericton Reds.

The players like the sound of a potential new direction for the sport.

Professional teams scouting for talent

“Getting the chance to play against other girls that are just as good or better than you, you really get the chance to improve,” said 22-year-old Madi Fisher, a midfield player for the Royals.

Her team played to a 1-1 tie against the Reds on Saturday at Weir Field in Upper Sackville.

“It’s a super great experience and I think that there’s a lot of talented athletes,” said Reds midfielder Ginny Phillips, who is 19. “It just provides something different that we never really had before in Fredericton.”

Even though it is the first time for the tournament, the calibre of players on display attracted some representatives from pro teams.

Jamar Dixon, manager of football and player personnel for Canadian Premier League team Pacific F.C. in B.C., watched the action.

“I’m always looking, both on the male and female side,” he said.

A man is standing by a soccer field with a stand of fans behind him as he watches the game.
Former Canadian International Jamar Dixon, who is now with Canadian Premier League club Pacific F.C., was at the event scouting for players. (CBC)

Burgins said the standard of play is proving there is a need for a new level of play in the Maritimes.

“If there are more opportunities, you’ll find that these players might have more of a drive of wanting to actually go further in the sport,” he said.

The Maritime Super Series continues in New Brunswick in June. P.E.I. will get the chance to host matches in July.

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