Munster the Real Deal
for London City in the Canadian Professional Soccer League is
probably the best thing that ever happened to Paul Munster.
three years ago he was a rising soccer star with Cliftonville,
a club in Northern Ireland's premier league, before an injury
nearly ended his career. While on a six-week sport and school
exchange that brought him to coach in Kitchener Ontario, Munster
tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a pick-up
I remember was twisting my leg and then feeling intense pain,
it felt like I had broken my leg," said Munster.
he returned home to his native Ireland, his club had got wind
of the news and they subsequently released him.
basically told me that they didn't want to deal with me,"
said Munster. "I lost my opportunity and I wasn't sure
if I'd ever be able to play again."
told him that his chances of returning to competitive soccer
were slim and that he would require extensive surgery to repair
his knee. Then the bad news continued to get worse when he learned
that it would take five years to get the proper surgery under
public health care. With his career on the line, Munster decided
to go private and paid out of his own pocket. He spent the next
eight months of his life in intensive rehab and then began to
train everyday on his own for the next two years.
eventually the pressure of being a spectator in a country obsessed
with football was becoming too much to bare. "In Ireland
soccer is everywhere, so the idea of not playing just drove
me nuts," said Munster.
grown up in a family with deep soccer roots didn't make it any
easier. His grandfather, dad and brother had all played professional
soccer and he desperately wanted to follow in their footsteps,
so he was determined to rediscover the game no matter how long
an opportunity came up to return to his coaching job in the
Great White North, he didn't hesitate to accept it. After all,
he wanted to remain in soccer in some capacity in the hope of
kick-starting his career.
"I had been playing since I was a youngster and I knew
that I had the talent to go somewhere," said Munster. "So
I knew with a fresh start and hard work I could make a comeback."
his arrival his life took a dramatic turn for the better. As
a coach with the Doon Soccer Park Group, he hooked up with former
pro player Eddie Edgar. Edgar had a contact with London City
and this led to an invitation to join London's reserve squad.
Three games and 12 goals later, team owner Harry Gauss promoted
Munster to their first team.
away he began to score and as his leg got stronger, so did his
following of fans. He became known as the "Real Deal",
a nickname given to him by team owner Gauss and he eventually
had his own booth set-up to sign autographs.
fans were terrific, people actually lined up just to get a chance
to meet me," said Munster.
the end of the season he had become a household name and had
all the makings of a superstar. He not only captured the CPSL
scoring title with 25 goals, but had outpaced the nearest competitor
by 10 strikes. By all accounts his game was certainly back with
his stellar play he caught the eyes of a few scouts and has
since accepted an offer to tryout for Slavia Prague, a division
one club in the Czech Republic. Word is that they are eager
for another scorer and that's exactly what Munster is looking
for. All his efforts to date have now rejuvenated a career that
was in shambles not long ago.
had no idea that my career would turn around so quickly,"
said Munster. "I'll never forget what Harry Gauss and the
CPSL did for me."
the odds stacked against him from the beginning, I guess it
must have been the luck of the Irish that it all worked out.