Even as Woolwich Youth Soccer teams were putting on a strong showing in various tournaments last weekend, the program’s most notable alumnus was earning kudos in a Toronto FC match. Tyler Pasher helped his team battle to a 1-1 draw against Liverpool July 21.
It was the young prospect’s debut in a match televised by Sportsnet, joining a lineup of other young players given a chance to show their skills on the pitch at the Rogers Centre. It was a game that afforded Pasher with the highest profile to date.
Pasher came in as the first substitution in the 28 minute of the game and, according to a Sportsnet report, contributed a much-needed burst of energy. He managed to impress Toronto coach Paul Mariner and was given the captain’s armband in the second half.
“It went pretty well, I was a bit nervous at first but I enjoyed it in the end. You kind of get groomed for it so I wasn’t really worried, just tried to say the right things,” Pasher said in a phone interview regarding his appearance in front of over 30,000 fans in his first Toronto FC game.
A public online poll on the Toronto FC website named Pasher second in a lineup of fellow players for the honorary title of Carlsberg Man of the Match against Liverpool, ahead of Quincy Amarikwa, another debuting player who scored the goal against the English Premier League opponent.
Now a prospective Toronto FC player, and part of the TFC Academy, Pasher is staying with a family in Toronto while continuing his daily training. Though he doesn’t know how long his training will last, he feels confident about his chances of succeeding. He explains that he is not fazed by travel or the pressures of continuing his career in Toronto.
“I don’t mind it; it’s pretty nice, easy to get around. You just get used to living in the big city and travelling back and forth, sometimes Greyhounding it. If you really want to be what you want to be, you have to do it right,” he said.
Pasher is no stranger to being in the public eye. He has never thought of himself as an example for younger generations, but still hopes to help other aspiring soccer players as he tries to make the Toronto FC team.
The Woolwich Youth Soccer alum is not the only one making progress in the local soccer forecast. Current WYS players have had a productive run this summer despite losses. Four Woolwich teams made it to championships in Owen Sound last weekend. The U10 boys, U11 boys, U15 boys and U15 girls all went home with consolation prizes, but together with wins in Milton’s tournament by U13 girls and at the Cataraqui Tournament in Kingston by U14 boys, coaches are impressed by a show if initiative by the teams in difficult situations.
Steve Sider, coach for the U15 girls’ team, explained that despite losses his team played well against remarkable odds.
“It’s quite a weekend of soccer for Woolwich teams. To think that’s six teams that either won championships or won the consolation championships in three different tournaments, is pretty remarkable.”