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Tournaments Oct 12, 2013

SoccerWire Q&A: North Mississauga SC coach Dean Spokes talks WAGS and Canadian soccer

By Charles Boehm
One of the top teams in Canada, North Mississauga SC Panthers 98, a U-15 girls squad, had a great start to the WAGS tournament after its long journey from Ontario.

Coach Dean Spokes sat down with to participate in a Q&A after his team’s opening win over Annandale Arsenal (Va.)

SW: So a big win over Annandale United to start the tourney. What did you take out of the result?
Dean Spokes: It’s a fantastic result to start off. We have three new girls out there. We are just wrapping up our season. One of [the new players] got a hat-trick.

SW: Obviously it is certainly colder in Canada right now than it is here in Virginia. What is the current schedule for your team with the winter approaching?
DS: There is a lot of snow where we are. The girls get four weeks off just to rest [after this and some] fitness components. Middle of November, we start up again four days a week…We are heading to the P.A. Classic in the middle of December. We are heading to Disney in January and then February we are back down here again with two showcases in Cincinnati.

SW: This obviously isn’t the shortest trip in the world for you. Why do you come to Northern Virginia to participate in this tournament?
DS: This event here, WAGS, is a high profile event. We are the top team in Canada, and so we feel we need to be testing ourselves against the top teams in the US. That is one of the reasons we are here … We have been coming down here [to the states] consistently a couple times a year for years now. We have a good sense of who the top clubs are.

SW: How would you describe the soccer style in Canada and your team’s?
DS: We have very diverse styles of play in Canada. We have [lots of] European influence and South American influence in our country. Our specific style of play, we play a 4-3-3, very much a possession game with the ability to play long balls into our wingers, which is a lot of what our regional and national teams [use].

SW: Does your club have any issues finding enough competition in Canada or is the sport popular to the point where the quality is adequate? 
DS: We play in what is called the Ontario Youth Soccer League. We are 12 teams, six in the east and six in the west. Ontario has got a population of over 12 million people. Toronto alone is 7 million. Half of the registered soccer players in Canada are in Ontario.