Archive for January 23rd, 2013

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USL-MLS deal still leaves many unanswered questions

The USL and MLS have made their rumoured partnership official.

The leagues have announced a plan which will see MLS reserve sides play interleague matches against USL-Pro teams. USL-Pro is recognized as the third division of pro soccer in the United States.

MLS and USL will hold a joint conference call Thursday to announce more details. But, from the release issued Wednesday: “For 2013, the partnership will include interleague play between USL PRO and MLS Reserve League teams, and the establishment of several exclusive team affiliations.”
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Yellowknifer Torindo earns himself a look at FC Edmonton

When you think of Canadian soccer hotbeds, Yellowknife isn’t first on the list. Heck, it’s not 100th on the list. Or 500th.

But Yellowknife’s best prospect is with FC Edmonton, auditioning for a spot with the Eddies. Midfielder Dillon Torindo has been training with the club after getting himself down south to the Alberta capital on his own dime, then impressing the coaching enough to stick around for awhile.

Torindo’s name isn’t completely unfamiliar in the lower divisions of pro soccer. He’s had auditions with the Whitecaps, the Portland Timbers and Minnesota Stars.
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Whitecaps make three low-risk signings

Tom Heinemann

When the Vancouver Whitecaps spend big dough on players, they’ve produced their share of misses — their Designated-Player signing record is not great.

But when coach Martin Rennie has mined the lower leagues or took on project players, he’s had some success. Brad Knighton wasn’t a top MLS keeper when he went to NASL to get minutes, now he’s Vancouver’s No. 1. Matt Watson and Jun Marques Davidson gave the Caps valuable minutes in 2012.

The Whitecaps announced the signings of three men Wednesday who fall very much into the “project player” category: Paulo Jr., Tom Heinemann and Corey Hertzog.
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Northern Irish players confirm they’re headed to play in Canada

Daryl Fordyce

Northern Irish side Linfield FC have confirmed that two of its players are leaving the club and are moving to Canada.

But Linfield didn’t confirm to which Canadian side defender Albert Watson and striker Daryl Fordyce will be heading.

FCE coach Colin Miller was recently in the United Kingdom scouting talent. And, it’s hard to see two players from Northern Ireland’s league both making the jump to a Canadian MLS club, but to NASL? FCE will not confirm that any new players have been signed, though more announcements are expected leading up to February’s training camp.

Fordyce has scored four times for Linfield this season, while Watson has scored once. They have both appeared regularly in league play this year, including Linfield’s qualifying-round matches of the UEFA Champions League.
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TFC gets a lot of good news, but does its fan base even know how to deal with good news?

Toronto: The city that just might not know how to handle success (at the sporting level, at least).

Toronto FC media day, 2013 edition, could be renamed “Wow, Nothing Bad or Controversial Happened Day.”

New coach Ryan Nelsen will start with the Reds on Feb. 1, as he’s come to an agreement with Queens Park Rangers to end his playing career; Eric Hassli, who was rumoured to be unhappy in Toronto, said he’s happy and looking forward to the season; TFC hired well-liked Canadian Pat Onstad to take over as head scout; the Reds took a couple of players in the Supplemental Draft — Ashton Bennett and Jose Gomez — who have large upsides but fell in the later rounds.

But President Kevin Payne and Nelsen will now have to get used to what more than a half-decade of mismanagement has done to a city that’s always struggled with its self-image (more on that later). Instead of a day of success, they’ll find the reaction they get is one of a fan base that’s still waiting for a shoe to drop.
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Weeks after backing out of Edmonton deal, Barbara joins Campos in Minnesota

Etienne Barbara

Etienne Barbara was freed of his commitment to join FC Edmonton — and now the 2011 NASL MVP will join the rival Minnesota Stars.

Also joining the Stars is 2012 NASL MVP Pablo Campos, who led the San Antonio Scorpions to a regular-season title. The Stars have also finally confirmed the signing of midfielder Bryan Arguez, who spent the last half of the 2012 NASL season with FCE, on loan from the Montreal Impact. The Eddies had publicly stated their desire to get Arguez on a permanent deal. The Stars loaded up, also nabbing former Scorpion and Puerto Rico Islander Aaron Pitchkolan and Daryl Sattler, the top NASL keeper of 2012.

As teammates in Carolina back in 2011, Campos and Barbara paired to create one of the greatest offensive juggernauts second-division soccer in North America has ever seen. Barbara scored 20 and Campos scored 15.

Barbara rejoined Carolina coach Martin Rennie with the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps in 2012, but spent most of an injury-riddled season on the sidelines. FCE stepped in with what sources reported was a lucrative offer, and Barbara signed a letter of intent to join the Eddies, who were the league’s lowest-scoring squad in 2011.
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LeBlanc: Canadian women drawing their NWSL battle lines

Karina LeBlanc

It’s fair to use the term “frenemies” to describe the members of Canada’s women’s national team.

A little less than two weeks ago, 16 members of the women’s national program found out where they would be playing in the new NWSL, including keeper Karina LeBlanc. Each of the eight teams got two members of the Canadian national program, whose salaries will be paid by the Canadian Soccer Association.

And, as soon as the women found out where they’d be spending the summer, the jawing began.

“We were in China (for the Yongchuan Cup), so we didn’t find out live,” said LeBlanc, who was on a media conference call Tuesday promoting her upcoming visit to Edmonton with national teammates Christine Sinclair, Rhian Wilkinson and Diana Matheson. “But we all looked at our e-mail to find out where we were going, and then the trash talking started right away.”
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