Archive for December, 2012

2

Former Eddie Paul Craig finds his groove with the Rochester Lancers

Paul Craig, in Rochester Lancers’ colours.

Paul Craig is a rookie all over again.

The Prince Edward Islander was one of many players cut by FC Edmonton at the end of the team’s 2012 campaign, after it finished at the bottom of the NASL standings. And even though Craig — who scored the final FCE goal of the season in a rousing last-gasp 2-2 comeback draw with Fort Lauderdale — was a fan favourite, he was on the way out.

But Craig didn’t remain unemployed for very long. Despite having no real experience in the indoor game, he went down to Western New York for a trial with the Rochester Lancers of the USL-owned Major Indoor Soccer League, and earned himself a one-year deal.

Now, Craig is learning a new game, taking the skills and experience from a solid CIS career and two years of life in the NASL , and applying it to the indoor game. And he’s still trying to wrap his head around some of the rules, formations and strategies that come with the MISL.
Read the rest of this entry »

Share
2

More and more outlets report TFC’s Peralta purchase: But how much will he cost?

As more and more media outlets report that Honduran midfielder Arnold Peralta is on the move to Toronto FC, a main question remains. How much is the fee?

Soccer Italia, Honduras’s La Prensa and other Central American outlets have reported that CDS Vida has agreed to its attacking midfielder leave the club for TFC in January. But while some of the reports differ on terms, they all agree on one thing: That the Peralta deal will bring some badly needed cash to CDS Vida. And Vida President Carla Dip has been reported to say that a condition of the Peralta sale will be that the Honduran club gets a percentage of any future deal.

What’s interesting is that D.C. United was also reportedly interested in Peralta last year. And the man at the helm of DCU at the time? Then-president Kevin Payne. Now, Payne is the president of the Reds.
Read the rest of this entry »

Share
1

Bringing MLS-style playoffs to Europe? Wouldn’t that be fun!

Over the years, in various publications, I’ve had fun with reversing the criticisms often tossed at North America’s soccer makeup.

What does that mean? If you’re a follower of MLS or NASL or USL or university-level soccer in North America, you’ve heard the criticisms of the playoff structures. You’ve been told that deciding champions through straight tables is far better than Cup finals. You’ve been told that allowing multiple teams into the playoffs rewards mediocrity. And you’ve been told that the table system is sooooo much better, even while you watch a late-season meaningless match between eighth- and ninth-place EPL teams, or see Barcelona make pretty well half of the La Liga season meaningless (same with Celtic in Scotland) because Messi and co. have taken such a large lead over the rest of the field.

So, I offer this response: Wouldn’t European leagues be so much better with playoffs? Yes, the tongue is in the cheek. It’s the holiday season and this is written in the spirit of fun, not malice. But, instead of withering over your pint when you are told North American leagues just aren’t legitimate with their playoffs and championship games, respond with this: Having a playoff system is far more preferable than watching Barcelona and Celtic decide their leagues with months to go in their seasons. A league that’s wrapped up with months to go is, well, well, well…

Boring.
Read the rest of this entry »

Share
0

More than 4,000 entries submitted for Ottawa NASL, CFL name contest

The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group has confirmed that it received 4,107 entries into its name-the-teams contest.

From Dec. 6-16, fans were invited to submit their suggested team names for the Ottawa NASL expansion franchise, which is set to kick off in 2014, and the capital’s new CFL team. The only caveat? Neither the soccer or football teams could carry the names of two long-gone Ottawa CFL teams: Rough Riders and Renegades.

Because of copyright and legal issues, OSEG cannot reveal the most popular names chosen for either the NASL or CFL franchises. More news is expected in January — but the only thing about the contest that the new NASL owners could confirm at this time was the number of entries received.
Read the rest of this entry »

Share
1

The 11’s Top 11 stories of 2012

Sports fans are natural-born stats junkies. And at The 11, we love to look at the analytics for this site, too — to continually check what stories are resonating with readers.

So we went under the website’s hood and looked at the numbers. And, we were able to rank our 11 most-read stories of the year. Now, we present them in reverse order.

Of course, as the authority on second-division soccer in Canada, we skewed very heavily to FC Edmonton and Ottawa NASL expansion stories, as these are the kind of items you won’t find anywhere else. There are other excellent sources for NASL news, but our uniquely Canadian perspective gives us a niche all to our own.

So, here are the Top 11 stories of the year:
Read the rest of this entry »

Share
1

Islanders won’t play in NASL spring session

The Puerto Rico Islanders will not play in the NASL’s spring session — but have pledged to rejoin the league in the fall.

A confirmation on the news first reported by IndyWeek (CLICK HERE) was confirmed by NASL Friday afternoon.

“The NASL continues to grow and improve and as such our teams must also continue to grow and develop,” said NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson. “This reorganization will give the Islanders an opportunity to rejoin the NASL and contribute to its growth while proudly representing Puerto Rico around the world. It is our intention to have the Islanders back on the field as soon as they have completed the process and we will provide whatever assistance is necessary to help them.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Share
2

CMISL to take one-year hiatus: Plans to return for 2013-14

The Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League will not have a 2012-13 season. But league president Mel Kowalchuk is hopeful the circuit will return for 2013-14.

Kowalchuk said he was working on bringing new teams into the indoor soccer league, when he ran into health problems. While he is now almost back to 100 per cent, his health issue forced him to put the league on the back burner.

“We are looking at coming back next season,” he said. “But nothing is going to happen this year. It’s far too late to put anything together.”

Last year, the league was reduced to just two teams, Calgary United FC and the Edmonton Drillers, after the Winnipeg Alliance informed Kowalchuk it would not field a team for the season.
Read the rest of this entry »

Share
3

FC Edmonton made move for Barbara, but releases him from pre-contract

Etienne Barbara

FC Edmonton was extremely close to signing 2011 NASL MVP Etienne Barbara, but that deal has been aborted.

FCE Director of Soccer Operations Joe Petrone confirmed Friday that Barbara had previously signed a letter of intent to come to the Eddies. The letter of intent is a form that comes before an official contract offer, which indicates a player is set on negotiating terms with a specific team.

But, due to undisclosed personal and family issues, Barbara was forced to change his mind. And FC Edmonton said it has allowed him to be released from any obligation to the club.

“Due to certain personal issues, we have decided to allow Etienne Barbara to pursue other options,” said Petrone.
Read the rest of this entry »

Share
0

Are the losses of Canadian W-League teams the unintended consequences of CSA’s NWSL subsidy?

Sometimes, ideas that begin with the best intentions have unintended negative consequences.

As the United States Soccer Federation announced the formation of the NWSL, the new tier-one pro league for that country, the Canadian Soccer Association chimed in with the news that it would fund the salaries of 16 players. Coach John Herdman would select the players from the women’s national program who would get their golden tickets to get paying jobs playing pro soccer in America.

No doubt, the intentions were just: Help develop Canadian women and boost the women’s pro game, which has been plagued by false starts and financial failures.

But, since that announcement, both the Vancouver Whitecaps and Victoria Highlanders have confirmed that they are withdrawing their women’s programs from the W-League, which had been the top tier of soccer available to women in Canada. And there is the very real connection that the establishment of the NWSL has made it less feasible to run a W-League program.
Read the rest of this entry »

Share
13

TFC claims the Boss, but no one in MLS will make offer for NASL’s Canadian CB star

The Boss, in Carolina during the 2012 NASL season.


If there is anything that shows the flaws in the relationship between NASL and MLS, it’s the lottery for former United States U-20 striker Gale “The Boss” Agbossoumonde.

Now out of his contract with Traffic, the massive Brazilian sports marketing firm that represents NASL as its agent, owns the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and has interests in the Carolina RailHawks and Atlanta Silverbacks, the Boss struck a deal with MLS. Toronto FC won his rights in a lottery held Thursday morning.

The Boss is a raw prospect, and he took his lumps last season while on loan to the RailHawks. He was a regular on the defence that tied for the worst goals-against mark in the league. In an 8-0 loss to San Antonio, The Boss endured arguably the worst game of any CB in NASL in 2012. And the book on The Boss is that while he has plenty of raw talent — and worked with Toronto FC’s Thomas Rongen while with the U.S. U-20s — he makes a lot of mental and positioning errors. He needs to be more assertive as a centre back.

As anyone who covers NASL will tell you, The Boss is a project player. He has the tools, but considering that he struggled at the Division-2 level last season, he will need lots of time before he’s ready for an MLS match.
Read the rest of this entry »

Share