Saskatoon SK Impact FC provincial winners en route to St. John's 2016

Special to Canada Soccer by Lee Kormish

Saskatoon SK Impact FC have qualified for the 2016 Sport Chek National Championships as Saskatchewan's women's provincial winners. The first-year club will represent their province from 5-10 October in St. John's, Newfoundland Labrador.

Saskatoon SK Impact FC won the Saskatchewan Cup by acclamation after the only other contender, FC Regina, withdrew from the competition. The home-and-away weekend series was canceled.

While Saskatoon SK Impact FC are a newly-registered club in Saskatchewan, many of their players previously reached the Sport Chek National Championships with Saskatoon Hollandia Impact. That club was the first and only Saskatchewan club to win a medal at the Jubilee Trophy finals - a bronze in 2012 after Elizabeth Hudon struck for a hat trick against Royal-Sélect Beauport.

The 2016 club now have their sights set on St. John's. Leanne Mylymok, one of the leaders that transferred from the 2015 Hollandia Impact team, is looking forward to the competition. In the group phase, Saskatoon will face teams from British Columbia (Richmond FC), Alberta (to be determined), Nova Scotia (to be determined), and New Brunswick (Fredericton Picaroons Reds).

"It’s always interesting to go to different parts of Canada," said Mylymok. "It’s neat to play provinces all across, especially to play a team like (Richmond FC) way out on the other side of the country. I’m sure (Newfoundland Labrador) will host this well."

From the beginning of the season, Saskatoon's focus has always been the Sport Chek National Championships. After much of this group of players finished fourth at Calgary 2015, the new team opted to play in the Saskatoon Adult Soccer League against men's recreational teams.

"Playing in a men’s league this year, the speed and physicality is exactly what we were going for. It’s been good. I mean we’ve lost every game, but last game it was only 1-0. Technically we are better, but in the end it's men scoring more goals than girls. We’ll now play a couple exhibition games against the Huskies and Lakeland College in the run up (to St. John's)."

Alongside the core group from last year's Saskatoon team, SK Impact FC added a couple University of Saskatchewan graduates to bolster up their roster. It is no doubt the team will be stronger with Kelly Cerkowniak and Erica Parenteau, both of whom represented Saskatchewan select teams as teenagers.

In 2016, Saskatoon SK Impact FC's roster has featured Theresa Bodnar, Kelly Cerkowniak, Codi (Corrigan) Ens, Sara Downing, Daniela Fuenzalida, Molly Glass, Elizabeth Hudon, Michelle Keene, Sarah Keene, Jayde McFee, Alicia Middlebrook, Nicholle Morrison, Leanne Mylymok, Jenna Newton, Anna Ogenchuk, Erica Parenteau, Megan Schenher, and Kathleen Schneider.

"It’s always exciting," said Mylymok of representing her province of Saskatchewan. "It’s good to have a good showing for our province. Saskatchewan (teams are) a lot better than where (they) used to be."

Canada Soccer’s Sport Chek National Championships have served as our nation’s premier amateur competition for more than 100 years, with the men’s competition inaugurated in 1913 and the women’s competition inaugurated in 1982. At all age levels, the Sport Check National Championships provide a meaningful soccer experience for host cities and participating teams, as well as the players, coaches, support staff, officials, and volunteers. These competitions are complimented by both the Futsal Canadian Championship (since 2015) and the Amway Canadian Championship featuring Canada’s professional clubs (since 2008).