Hi all, Jack here. Happy New Year! It's been a little busy with new soccer academy schedules and tryouts for me, but I'm happy to be back!
I've missed CPLFever and the Canadian Premier League in our short break, so now it's time to jump back into what will be an exciting few days (think U-Sports Draft and all the new signings and club announcements!)
With a busy interview schedule moving into the next few weeks, my Dad and I have got a new and updated focus for the new year that we're excited to share with you.
Now, before we go on, I just wanted to think about the past year and everything that has happened.
Actually, this past year and a half has been crazy for many reasons, and thankfully, all of them good.
The Last Year and A Half
Even though 2020 had its challenges, a lot of good things have happened to me in the latter half of 2019, and 2020.
A highlight of my past year has been starting CPLFever, going into the pre/post-game press conferences at the Island Games, and just learning more about the Canadian Premier League and the great players in general.
A couple of years ago when I first started hearing the rumors about the Canadian Premier League happening, I thought they were just rumors until I heard an official announcement.
As soon as the league was officially announced I knew that I would be a huge fan, and maybe I would get lucky enough to walk the players out onto the field with my club.
What I did not guess was that in the league’s first two years I would be a ball boy for the Halifax Wanderers as well as someone who hosted his own show about the Canadian Premier League – interviewing professional soccer players who play in the CPL has been a dream come true!
That said, I want to thank all of you who were open to being interviewed by a kid! I know you took a chance sitting down with me, an unknown kid who just loved to talk soccer. It meant a lot to me.
If you told me two or three years ago that I would have:
- My own show talking about the CPL and I would be interviewing pro soccer players and one of my first interviews would be with Angus McNab, managing Consultant from York United
- Covered the Island Games in the press room
- Had the chance to interview Cavalry FC Head Coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.
- Had a few articles written about my reporting and been invited on CBC to offer my soccer predictions for the Island Game final
- Had the amazing opportunity to interview the Commissioner of the Premier League David Clanachan
- and nominated for a CPL Award...
I would say you were crazy and if I believed you I would get a little giddy!
I've had such nice things said about me, and I just really appreciate how great everyone has been.
Halifax Wanderers Ball Retriever
I want to delve into my time as a Canadian Premier League ballboy a bit more, because everything really started there and I loved being a ballboy! I would rate it among being one of the best experiences in my life.
Watch this cool video, you can totally feel the energy in the air – that's me who ends up running to the other side!
When the CPL started, my Dad and I started doing commentary on the games because we were just so into it. We were so excited that we had a league in Canada and that we had one in Halifax – my backyard! Prior to the Halifax Wanderers and the CPL starting up, my Dad and I would do commentary on Champions League matches and that's how right before the very first home game for the Halifax Wanderers, we got an invite to be interviewed for One Soccer for a segment because they liked the dynanic between my Dad and I.
Unfortunately, I missed the interview and my Dad did it alone because I was a ball retriever and by the time they called us for the interview, I had to carry the Canadian flag out onto the field, but that's how it started. Doing commentary on games we enjoyed and CPLFever grew from there.
So back to being a ball retriever – I loved watching the games up close, it was almost like watching soccer in a whole new way. You notice things that you would not notice on TV or even in the stands. I was so close to the action and I loved it! I saw how they passed the ball, how the coaches directed their teams, and how they moved into positions.
One of my favourite things about being a ballboy was handing the ball to the players. I loved giving the ball to the players. It makes me have a small burst of pride, and sometimes the players would say something like “Thank you, bud.” when I handed them the ball. They are all so nice. I also loved hearing the fans cheer their team on with so much heart and passion. It is a fantastic atmosphere to be a ballboy in.
I had such a fun time being a ballboy. And I have so many great memories.
The People I've Met
I also have met so many amazing and wonderful people since starting CPLFever. And the crazy thing is that I probably would have not gotten close to, talked to or even met some of them. I’m so happy that I did start CPLFever, and I'm excited to continue my journey in the CPL.
For a list of those that were so kind to grant me an interview, you can find them here. I am excited to watch them and their careers as they continue to grow and play this beautiful sport.
To our special friends at Down The Pub Podcast who had me on their show at the very beginning of it (you can hear the episode here) and continue to support and serve as inspiration thank you.
You can check out their podcasts here:
On a final note I just want to thank everybody that I have met while on this journey and everybody that has helped me on this journey so far.
Also, I want to say thank you to the Canadian Premier League, for making such an impact on my life and for providing so many opportunities to grow and develop the beautiful game in Canada
Here's to another season!