Toyota National Championship kicks off

Three N.L. teams will play for the national championship in Challenge Cup and Jubilee soccer.

Anna Murphy 
The entrance of King George V Park. The field will host 18 teams in the Toyota National Championships. Anna Murphy/ Kicker

This week Newfoundland Labrador will host 18 teams from across the country vying for glory in the Toyota National Championships.

The men will play for the Challenge Cup and the women for the Jubilee Trophy.

Newfoundland and Labrador has three teams participating this year. Holy Cross FC will represent both male and female provincial teams. Also, Feildians AA will face off in the female division.

More than 300 players will take to the pitches in Mount Pearl, St. John’s, Conception Bay South, and Portugal Cove-St. Phillips. The tournament kicks off on Wednesday and will end with championship games on Monday, Oct. 14.

Jake Stanford, the coach of both Holy Cross FC teams, will lead both his daughter and son through the tournament. However, it will not be a unique venture for the family. They have collectively attended 50 national championships.

“To be coaching both teams is fantastic,” said Stanford. “Our Holy Cross club is well represented. We go to Nationals to compete and win. I expect nothing less from my players.”

Holy Cross FC player Noelle Stanford prepares for the Toyota National Championship. Stanford is one of three in her family participating in the tournament. Anna Murphy/ Kicker

Noelle, Jake’s daughter, is playing in her eleventh Jubilee Cup. In the past, she has successfully taken home silver in the Toyota National Championships. However, this year she is hoping for gold.

“It’s almost not quite describable what it means to play at home. […] This year we have the complete package of a team,” said Noelle. “We’ve added a few veterans who are deserving of a medal, and we want gold.”

While the Northeast Avalon will host the men’s and women’s championships this week, the under-17 championships will be held in Charlottetown, P.E.I., and the under-15 tournament will be held in Edmonton, Alta.

The Challenge Cup has been held for 97 years, while the Jubilee Trophy has been awarded for just 38 years.

“The Toyota National Championships provide an impactful experience for our sport and our host communities, helping to build an important legacy for sport in Canada,” said Peter Montopoli, general secretary Canada Soccer, in a news release.

Game results and schedules for the Toyota National Championship are available on the Canada Soccer website.

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