Friday, September 06, 2002

London's Ontario Cup runneth over

By KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

Four Ontario Cup titles in one year is a pretty remarkable feat for one city. Last year, the North London Rockets under-13 girls, the Forest United under-18 girls, Sport London Benfica under-17 boys (Tier 2) and the North London under-12 girls all won the coveted championship. Beginning tomorrow and running through the next two weekends at the Vaughan Grove Soccer Fields, eight London teams will be trying to improve on that number. They advanced to their finals during a record Ontario Cup year in which 663 teams entered the draw. The record for a district association is seven Cup titles, attained by Peel-Halton in 1995 and 2000. But the Peel-Halton district includes the cities of Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington and Brampton. Robyn McComb, competitions and events manager for the Ontario Soccer Association, which runs Cup play, called London's representation "significant." "It's a big achievement for any district association," she said. One of the interesting stories of this year's Cup quest is that a father and son have led separate London teams to finals. Geoff Painter made history two years ago when his North London under-15 Shooting Stars won London's first girls' national club championship after winning the Ontario Cup in 2000. Painter's North London under-12 girls will try to give him another Ontario Cup on Sunday. Painter's son, Martin, has marched his North London under-13 boys' team into the final next Saturday. There's also one coach with two teams in the finals. Antony Camacho, who won an Ontario Cup last year with the under-18 girls, will attempt to win two Cups this season in under-18 and under-13 girls action. "I feel great, especially for the under-18 girls," Camacho said. "Nobody gave us a chance to get back there. But the work is not done."


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