Archive for January, 2011

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FC Edmonton still waiting on NASL combine lists

The NASL combine is set for this weekend. FC Edmonton is looking to stock its roster.

But the team has yet to receive a list of which players are eligible for selection.

“I don’t know who is on the players’ list,” said FCE coach Harry Sinkgraven. “There is no players’ list available at the moment.”

Sinkgraven said he has targeted a couple of key areas where the club needs to improve, but he’s not going to address them publicly. Right now, FCE has 19 players in camp, and wants to bring the roster up to 26 in time for the NASL opener against Miami FC on April 9. The team is expecting to see a list of players available for the combine in the next couple of days.
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Canadian striker Pisanjuk asks Ferencvaros to set him free

Igor Pisanjuk

Mississauga’s Igor Pisanjuk has asked Hungarian side Ferencvaros to set him free.

Pisanjuk, who signed with the Budapest club in 2007 as a teenager right out of the Erin Mills Soccer Club, could not get back into the first team over the past two seasons. Last season, he was loaned out to second-division side Szolnok, where he scored nine times in 13 games. At the start of the 2010-11 season, “Fradi” decided to loan him out again.

“I asked for my release from Ferencvaros, so, for now, I’m waiting on try outs.” Pisanjuk said via e-mail.

Pisanjuk was hopeful that his performances would convince Ferencvaros, which is owned by Sheffield United magnate Kevin McCabe and has a developmental arrangement with the English side, to bring him back into the club’s famous green and white stripes in January.

That didn’t happen.
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Bas Ent back as a trialist with Toronto FC

Bas Ent

Judging by his status as a trialist at Toronto FC’s training camp in Turkey, Dutch winger Bas Ent will need to start over in his quest to join the Reds.

Ent, who came into his own with the Dayton Dutch Lions of the PDL in 2010, earning a trial and a 45-minute appearance with Toronto FC in a friendly against Bolton, revealed to The 11 on Jan. 7 that the Reds had pledged to offer him a three-year contract. The Columbus Crew had also shown some interest in Ent last season.

His status as a trialist has to lead to the conclusion that the three-year deal is off the table, for now at least. The club announced Saturday that Ent is one of five more trialists to join the team for its camp in Turkey. Ent, former Ajax Academy prospect Javier Martina, Ghanian midfielder King Osei Gyan, who had a spell in the Fulham side but never got into a game, Uruguayan forward Santiago Gonzalez Areco and 23-year-old Dutch striker Nick Soolsma join the three Canadian trialists named on Friday.
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Houston Dynamo makes the move East

The Houston Dynamo will spend the next season in the East.

MLS announced that, to keep the conferences balanced at nine teams apiece and, with two Pacific Coast teams, Vancouver and Portland, joining in 2011, the Dynamo will be the team on the move.

In terms of scheduling, it means little. MLS will have a balanced schedule, with each team playing every other club in the league once at home, once on the road. So, the Texas rivalry between FC Dallas and the Dynamo won’t be disturbed. If you leave the Texas teams together, then you’d have to move Colorado. Geographically, that makes no sense.

“This change is something we are comfortable with,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti said in a release. “As the league grows, these changes are sometimes necessary, and we accept that. With a balanced schedule, we don’t believe this will have a significant impact on our season.”

Realignment was coming. We knew that as soon as the league announced before the kickoff of the 2010 MLS Cup that it was committed to preserving the conference system and the playoff model. Commissioner Don Garber admitted that one of the Texas teams would likely have to move East for one season, before Montreal came in for the 2012 campaign and allow the Lone-Star State club to move back to the West.
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MLS relaxes Canadian-content rule, but agrees to work with CSA

Major League Soccer and the Canadian Soccer Association will work together on a plan to develop Canadian talent. That announcement came Friday, at the same time the league announced it was dropping the number of Canadian players its Canadian-based teams would be required to carry to three each.

Last year, before trades, allocations and the like, TFC needed to reserve all but 13 of its senior-roster spots for Canadian talent. From the 2010 MLS rulebook: “Each team is allotted eight (8) International slots, with the exception of Toronto FC who is allotted 13 International slots, five (5) of which may be used on domestic U.S. players. All International player slots are tradable, therefore a team may have more than or less than eight (8) International players on its roster.”

U.S. players will now be considered domestic players on Canadian teams.

Three is a drop, but it isn’t as bad as it seems. That’s because of the new MLS rule that doesn’t restrict the number of players a club can bring up from its academy —these players can be plucked from any area within 50 miles of the stadium. So, the league knows that any player the Whitecaps or TFC, or the Impact in 2012 and on, bring up from their academies will be Canadian.

By giving teams all of these slots that don’t constitute cap hits, there still should be plenty of Canadians on the roster.
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Sidra’s speed could be a major boost for TFC

Eddy Sidra

Could Eddy Sidra be a difference-maker for Toronto FC?

Sidra is currently out of contract after leaving Energie Cottbus, the German side that signs so much Canadian talent, last year. TFC announced that he is one of three confirmed Canadian trialists who will join the team for its preseason camp in Turkey.

Of the trio that includes goalkeeper David Monsalve, who enjoyed a brief spell with the Reds in 2007 (anyone who follows Monsalve’s Twitter feed knows that he’s remained a devoted TFC follower during his time in Finland) and midfielder Gianluca Zavarise, who couldn’t break into the lineup with Greek side Iraklis, Sidra is the most interesting option.
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Crisis? What crisis? NASL releases 2011 schedule

FC Edmonton GM Mel Kowalchuk. PHOTO: ANDREAS MORSE, FC EDMONTON


Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.

The North American Soccer League did its best impression of an organization NOT in crisis Tuesday, as it released its full 2011 schedule, and announced that six of the circuit’s eight teams will make the playoffs. The top two teams get byes in the first round, while seed No. 3 will play No. 6 and No. 4 will play No. 5.

There was no mention of the fact that the league is scrambling to try and assure the United States Soccer Federation that it is worthy of official division-two status ahead of the USSF’s Feb. 10-11 vote. Last week, the USSF stripped the league of provisional divison-two status.

So, either league president Aaron Davidson is exceptionally confident that this whole USSF skirmish is just a small bump in the road, or he’s showing off his poker skills.

In today’s release, there was no mention of the USSF situation.
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Canadian women beat Sweden, but can’t claim tournament

Christine Sinclair at the Yongchuan Cup, PHOTO: CSA

Christine Sinclair beat three Swedish defenders and then calmly scored her 115th career goal for Canada, as our women’s national team defeated Sweden 1-0 in each team’s final game Tuesday at the Yongchuan Cup in China.

The win was Canada’s first triumph over a top-four ranked nation in women’s soccer in just over four years.

Canada finishes the tournament with a ledger of two wins (over China and Sweden) and a loss to the world No. 1 American side. But, the Americans, who lost to Sweden, won the tournament by beating China 2-0 in their final game. All four team entered the final stage tied in the standings, a win and a loss each. The Americans earned a gritty win against Canada, but are still showing the inconsistencies that forced them to win a playoff against Italy in order to qualify for this year’s women’s World Cup.

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California Cougars split Alberta road trip

The California Cougars only accomplished half of what they set out to do on their trip to Canada.

Following a thrilling 8-7 overtime win in Edmonton over the Drillers on Saturday night, the Cougars suffered a disappointing 6-5 setback to the Calgary United at the Subway Soccer Centre on Sunday afternoon.

“I don’t have to lie to you, we needed this game big,” said California captain Nelson Santana.

The Cougars (3-9) currently sit in last spot in the Western Division of the Professional Arena Soccer League and with just four games left in the regular season, their playoff hopes are fading.
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Hoilett scores again for Rovers in EPL win


Junior Hoilett is enjoying the best form of his career.

The 20-year-old from Brampton, Ont. scored with a unstoppable thunderbolt of a shot, as Blackburn Roves beat West Bromwich Albion by a 2-0 score. And, what made it even more special was that his dad, David Sr., was in attendance.

“He gave me the shirt from the game,” David Sr. said via e-mail.

Hoilett, who re-signed with Rovers last year after then-manager Sam Allardyce flew to Brampton to make an impassioned appeal to his family, has thrived under new manager Steve Kean’s system. Under Allardyce, despite his overtures that Hoilett had a bright future with Blackburn, the Canadian youngster had spent most of his time with Rovers away from first-team duty.?
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