High school all-stars shine
Team Blue MVP Juan Plata had a great time competing in Niagara College’s Eighth Annual Niagara Region Soccer Showcase.
“It was a good experience just to have a little bit of fun but also to show what we have,” the Grade 12 student at Denis Morris said. “It was more individual here but we also can show that we can combine with any other player and play as a team.”
Plata had a simple approach coming into the game which ended up in a 6-5 victory for Team Blue.
“It was just to do my best at the beginning because I played as a right back which is not my usual position. I gave 100 per cent and in the second half I switched back to my usual position (centre midfielder).”
Plata started playing soccer at age 10 when he was in Columbia and continued on in the sport when his family moved to Canada four years ago.
Soccer in Canada was different compared to his homeland.
“It is a little more simple plays: one twos; give and go; moving a little bit quicker; not holding the ball more than three touches; and, more of a physical game.”
He has enjoyed Canada and its soccer style.
“I like it a lot.”
Plata has been considering playing soccer in the fall at either Niagara College or Brock University and it is looking like Niagara College will be his final destination.
“I think that I will go to Niagara College for my first year and then move into Brock,” Plata said. “I didn’t get accepted for the program I wanted at Brock and going to Niagara College will open more gates for me.”
Niagara College head coach Frank DeChellis is excited to have Plata joining his program.
“Juan brings stability when his opponents bring chaos and he causes chaos when the other team is looking for stability. He’s physical, intelligent, technical and a good teammate,”
Plata was presented with his MVP plaque by Ron Sutherland. Sutherland has officiated every soccer showcase since its inception but had to take a pass this year as he continues to recover from a broken leg. He is hoping to be back officiating this summer.
JOSEPH NAMED TEAM WHITE MVP
Zachery Joseph was a star among stars Monday night.
The 17-year-old, Grade 12 student at Blessed Trinity scored a pair of goals and was named Team White’s Most Valuable Player.
“I played in this last year and it’s a great experience to play against a lot of players you normally face,” the Grimsby native said. “It’s all fun and it’s a great event.”
Joseph said the strategy was to treat the exhibition like a normal game.
“Since we don’t have a lot of chemistry, you just have to keep it simple,” he said. “I tried to be vocal and to kind of keep the guys in order. I know a couple — most of them I’ve never even seen before —most of them I’ve only played against.
“The main thing coming into a game like this with a lot of talent and a lot of familiar faces and a lot of different faces is stick to the basics. There were a lot of goals, a lot of shots today.”
Joseph, who plays for the Windstar Soccer Academy in Vaughan, has high hopes for his future.
“To hopefully get a scholarship, to hopefully go pro,” he said. “My parents always tell me to stick to the books but my main goal is to become a better person with soccer while at the same time continuing my education.”
Lucas Vetere of St. Paul had a pair of goals for the winners as did Isaac Friend of A.N.Myer. Jacob Avelar of Notre Dame and Seansy Lovrics of Myer, with the winner, rounded out the scoring.
Joshua Salonen of Saint Mike’s, Cristiano Colamartini of Saint Paul and David Ospini of Centennial also scored for Team White.
Below are the complete rosters for the event:
Boys Blue Team
Anthony DiGioa, (Notre Dame College School); Logan Dickie, (Port Colborne HS); Juan Manuel Plata Cruz, (Denis Morris CHS); Owen Bradford-Andrew; (Holy Cross CHS), Luis Bondi, (Westlane SS); Julian Van Hooydonk, (Heritage Christian School); Ryan Johnson, (St. Francis CHS); Juan Arrango, (St Michael CHS); Lucas Vetere, (St Paul CHS); Nathan Joseph, (Blessed Trinity CHS); Seanesy Lovrics, (A.N. Myer SS); Jacob Avelar, (Notre Dame CHS); Matthew Coates, (Governor Simcoe SS); Demitriy Klapchuk, (Sir Winston Churchill); Adian Astudillo, (ES Saint-Jean-de-Brebeuf); Isaac Friend, (A.N. Myer SS).
Boys White Team
Aiden McIntosh, (Welland Centennial SS); Liam Armstrong, (A.N. Myer SS); LeBron Owusu, (Sir Winston Churchill); Stefan Candeloro, (St. Paul CHS); Jeremy Talsma, (Smithville Christian HS); Lucas Pronik, (Greater Fort Erie SS); Austin Cracknell, (Lakeshore CHS); Matthew Bogusat, (Governor Simcoe SS),;Mateo Grousso, (St. Paul CHS); Zachery Joseph, (Blessed Trinity CHS); Joshua Salonen, (St. Michael CHS); Nathan Deluca, (West Niagara SS); Jack Pritchard, (Eden High School); Cristiano Colamartini, (St Paul CHS); David Ospina, (Welland Centennial SS); Matthew Schirru, (E.L. Crossley SS).
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