LAVAL – For Alex Bunbury, a return home to Laval, Que. as trial lead coach is an opportunity to give back to his hometown’s soccer community in a meaningful way. But the 51-year-old former Canadian international was a little more giddy on this second stop of the Canadian Premier League’s coast-to-coast #GotGame Open Trials.
As he and the rest of the league’s head coaches watched the 58 returning players compete in shorter 11-v-11 matches, Bunbury let slip on the sidelines that he yearned to be 18 again, and back on these familiar fields, competing alongside the talented players he has now been tasked to oversee.
When his wish was reiterated to him, Bunbury cracked a smile, and explained to CanPL.ca: “Rarely do I speak like that, because when I’m done, I’m done. But when you see them, you’re like ‘Wow, I wish I could be out on the field playing with some of these kids here.’
“I’m telling you, this place has talent,” he continued. “It’s exciting because it’s my hometown, but take that out of the equation, you just have talented players in Quebec.”
Indeed, the pace of play and quality of passing had the league’s head coaches more than impressed in Laval on Day 2 of the Open Trials in Quebec, and each shared notes and observations among one another, and with Bunbury, as the final list of 28 players were selected and then announced.
For Bunbury, that communication process is only getting easier with each stop on this seven-city tryout tour.
“We’re more liberated now, because we’re getting a better feel for each other,” Bunbury said, of his peers. “We want to communicate with each other. They want to give me their feedback and vice-versa. I think we have a good combination, collaborating to make sure we get the very best players to be exhibiting their talent, and we’re doing a pretty good job of that.”
The CPL’s #GotGame trials next head to Hamilton (Oct. 1-2), before making stops in Toronto (Oct. 11-12), Winnipeg (Oct. 18-19), Calgary (Oct. 25-26) and Vancouver Island (Nov. 5-6). Think you’ve #GotGame? Register at CanPL.ca/GotGame.