A note on KW United from Jeff Hughes

Editors note:
This letter is from the venerable Jeff Hughes. We had heard he gave a great speech to some coaches at Kitchener Soccer Club and we had asked him to write it up for us. Jeff’s support of KW United goes back to the first meeting of supporters when many of us chose the name “Forsyth’s Machine”. He was influential then in helping to build community support. So much so that United ended up appointing him Community Liaison for the team. This is a voluntary position that Jeff occupies and really is just a title for much of the work he was already doing and continues to do to build a soccer culture in this community.

The Premier Development League was created to help expand the game into more urban areas of USA and Canada, and to provide a league for NCAA and CIS players to play in their summer breaks without losing their college eligibility. For 2017 there are 75 teams in 10 divisions.

By supporting KW United, you are not just supporting one team, you are helping to grow the soccer culture in our region. We have opportunities for youth to be involved on games days as ball kids and player escorts, and we take bookings to bring a player or two out to one of your practice sessions to help out or just demonstrate and participate.

Every player (and coach, and parent) that we have had the pleasure of being involved with enjoyed the experience. I am sure we have helped inspire players to continue in the game and move to the next level and challenge themselves in their own development. For every fan of the sport that has been concerned about what we have – or do not have in our national programmes, we need to understand that the basic youth game and overall soccer culture is what needs to be developed and expanded to drive change upward. KW United has been helping this grow when they brought this team here. This is a high level of play that is tangible and realistic for our youth. There have been players from various countries playing here, and each year there are more local players involved. This is great to see. This is real.

In four seasons, KW United has seen over 20 of its players move on to professional contracts in MLS, NASL, USL and leagues overseas. KW did not create these players in the short PDL seasons, but this is sure a testament to the quality and level of player and league in our own back yard.

KW United FC is heading into their 5th season in our region, and now, more than ever, needs your help. KW United has been in talks with the ownership group for the coming Canadian premier league and has some large investors keeping an eye on the 2017 season. Fan, community, and corporate support will be key in helping KW United FC move to the next level. The CanPL would not only take us from high level amateur sport to a pro league, it will allow for a longer season for us to enjoy. Soccer is the most played sport in our region based on youth registrants, but unfortunately seems to be the least supported. Let’s get together to help change this.

Thank you,

Jeff Hughes
Community Liaison
2015 USL PDL Champions

Four in a row

Despite the constant threat of rain all week, it turned out to be a beautiful day down on Seagram Drive with the sun shining brightly on the stands and the United players showing even brighter lights on the field. The scoreline flattered Dayton, who could barely cross the half way line without being intercepted, tackled, and generally haggled off the ball. It lead to our Hamilton supporting visitor, James Hutton, to remark that the whole thing looked like a training match.

This game marked the return of Mathieu Laurent, and showcased the incredible depth that United has this year in the back line. Justin Springer has been arguably one our best defenders all season, but he was dropped for the returning Laurent. Mathieu didn’t put a foot wrong for most of the match. He was equally matched by the impeccable Tomlinson, Miller and Callahan (who recorded another assist).

Dayton stuck 5 players on the backline and they often lined up right on the edge of the 18, looking like an impenetrable wall. But that was broken by the acrobatic Wesley Cain. Liam Callahan and Sameer Fathazada hooked up on the left hand side, with Liam delivering a fantastic ball that was just asking to be knocked in, two United players were waiting but it was Cain who lept highest to open the scoring. Dayton was shocked and 14 minutes later, Wes would repeat the trick. peeling off the back of his defender just as Sameer Fathazada, again looking extremely tidy on the ball, delivered a fantastic cross to the back post. More back flips ensued.

The rest of the game was about damage control for Dayton and seeing if Wes could get this hat trick. Both Callahan and Sameer continued to deliver teasing balls to Cain with a couple of shots flashed just wide and Dayton starting to ensure they had two people covering at all times. The game didn’t, thankfully, dissolve into the sort of battle that transpired against West Virginia.

Cain picked up yet another well deserved Man of the Match award. He is tied for third in the league for assists while now adding in two league goals. Although a quieter game than against Virginia, Kitchener’s Saleh was again a destroyer in midfield, breaking up attacks and covering expertly. Jiro Barriga, a native of Japan whose father is from Colombia, also slotted in and showed some incredible feet throughout the game and looks like a solid addition to the midfield.

All in all, it was hard to see how the Bucks lost to Dayton. In K-W’s only loss, the Bucks looked like the clear champions, yet somehow they lost to this same Dayton side that United, quite frankly, handled expertly. There is still the nagging issue, despite all of the goals, of needing a truly great striker but with depth in midfield and their shutdown defense United should go far. That loss to the Bucks on opening day may prove crucial but coming out of this week with two more wins will set United up nicely for their home game against Michigan on July 2nd.