England Archive

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Derby County’s Calgary partner is confident his team will move to the Premiership

Brett Wilson

Brett Wilson

Brett Wilson will jet from Calgary to London on Wednesday night. On Saturday, he’ll be at Wembley Stadium to watch Derby County and Queens Park Rangers fight for the right to get the final ticket to the Premiership.

Wilson made his fortune in the energy sector, is a former member of the Dragons’ Den cast and a prominent angel investor. But he sounds anything but angelic when he talks about this weekend’s match. He is confident that the Rams will book their tickets to the Premiership by beating QPR on Saturday.

“I’ve been going to sleep and waking up with increasing levels of confidence,” Wilson said before getting on a plane. “It’s not corny, as someone who doesn’t observe one single faith, it’s not prayer. But I have a very good feeling about the game. We are going into the game with a high level of confidence. I’d rather be going in with a 6-2 aggregate win, which is how we beat Brighton, than coming in on a 2-1 score after extra time that you had to claw and scratch to win, like they did over Wigan. They are going to have the mindset that they’re happy to be there, while we feel that we have shown we deserve to be in the Premiership.”

Wilson owns a quarter of Derby County; he’s part of a U.S.-Canadian consortium that also includes North Vancouver-born Jeff Mallett, a Whitecaps’ investor and principal owner of the San Francisco Giants. This trip will mark the fourth time this year he’s headed to England to watch the club.

Derby County finished third in the Championship table, which put the Rams into the playoffs for a spot in the Premiership. In England, the top two teams in the Championship each earn automatic promotions to the Premier League, while teams three through six play in a bracketed playoff system, with the winners of the first round going on to play the sudden-death match at Wembley.
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Ameobi joins FC Edmonton on trial; could see minutes against TWU

Tomi Ameobi trains with the Eddies in Vancouver.

Tomi Ameobi trains with the Eddies in Vancouver.

The Ameobi name is well-known to those who follow the English leagues; Shola Ameobi has made more than 300 appearances for Newcastle United. Sammy Ameobi has made close to 30 appearances for the Magpies.

The middle of the three soccer-playing Ameobi brothers, Tomi, has decided to try and take his game across the pond. He is expected to get minutes on Wednesday, as FC Edmonton faces Trinity Western University in a friendly in Langley, B.C. Ameobi joined the Eddies on trial on Tuesday, as the club shifts its NASL preseason training to Vancouver.

Tomi Ameobi most recently played with VPS of the Finnish League, where he scored nine times in 2013. He’s also played for Icelandic sides Grindavik and BI/Bolungarvik.
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Marcus Haber finding his form with Notts County

Notts_County_LogoCanadian striker Marcus Haber has taken on the role of super sub with his new team, Notts County.

And, judging by the returns over the last few weeks, he is making the case for more playing time.

Haber came in to the match as a second-half sub and headed home the cherry-on-top goal as Notts County thrashed Crewe Alexandra by a 4-0 scoreline. For Haber, it was his second goal in as many home games. Two weeks ago, he scored shortly after he came on in a 2-0 win over Tranmere Rovers.
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QPR confirms Canada call-ups for Petrasso and Carreiro

Michael Petrasso

Michael Petrasso

Queens Park Rangers have confirmed (CLICK HERE) that its two Canadian youth players, Dylan Carreiro and Michael Petrasso, have got the call to join the national team ahead of the Oct. 15 friendly against Australia.

It makes a lot of sense. If new national-team coach Benito Floro is going to have a long hard look at the London, England-based pair, it’s logical that he do so when he will be in London with the national side. The match against Australia will take place at Fulham’s Craven Cottage.

While neither have broken into QPR’s senior side, Petrasso did score the last-gasp winner for the U21 side last week in a match against Charlton Athletic’s youths.
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Canadian Matt Lam plays over an hour for Kitchee against Manchester United

Matt Lam

Matt Lam

In 2012, Matt Lam played against the likes of the Carolina RailHawks and Puerto Rico Islanders. On Monday night, the former FC Edmonton midfielder got to play for more than an hour against Manchester United.

Lam came on in the 30th minute of Kitchee SC’s friendly in Hong Kong against the Premiership champions. Lam moved to Kitchee this past winter, under the regime of previous manager Josep Gombau. He now has to use Kitchee’s preseason to impress new coach Alex Gomez, who moved to Hong Kong from Barcelona’s youth system.

You cannot have any better experience then playing one if the best clubs in the world,” Lam wrote in an e-mail to The 11 after the match. “It was a day that I will never forget. You can truly see the class of these players when you are up close and personal.”

When Lam came into the game, United was already leading 3-0, on goals from Danny Welbeck, Chris Smalling and Fabio. The score finished a respectable 5-2. And, Lam set up what should have been Kitchee’s third marker. Late in the second half, he showed outstanding control to corral an awkwardly bouncing ball at the offensive end of the pitch. He kept the ball from going out of play, then squared a perfect cross for teammate Deshai Xu to head home. When it was easier to score than it was to miss, Xu missed.
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TFC does some housekeeping: Ephraim finally placed on waivers

HoganEphraim_0The news has been out there for a few days — but on Tuesday, Toronto FC finally made it official: Midfielder Hogan Ephraim is no longer on loan to the club.

The loan deal that had sent the midfielder from Queens Park Rangers to Toronto FC is done. Ephraim has been placed on waivers and is likely on his way back to England.

Ephraim and John Bostock, who had been on loan from Tottenham, were brought in to add creativity to the midfield. Both were major disappointments. Bostock’s loan deal had already been terminated, and now the move of Ephraim at least allows TFC to open up a roster spot.
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England gets late goal to earn well-deserved win over the Canadian women

Ellen White

Ellen White

England got an injury-time header from Ellen White, giving the home side a 1-0 win over Canada in a friendly in Rotherham.

But, troubling for followers of the Canadian women’s program, is that this scoreline clearly flattered the visitors. It used to be that a match against the English was pretty well in the territory of “automatic win” for Canada. But the English beat the Canadians in the Cyprus Cup final and dominated Sunday’s friendly. That’s right — dominated. Sure, the English left it late, but the truth is that the English bossed the match by a wide margin. And, if not for the heroics of Canadian Erin McLeod and some help from the woodwork, the score would have (deservedly) been far more severe.

Now, before we smack a bunch of red warning buttons, some context: Canadian coach John Herdman is in the midst of teaching his team a new way to play, a passing game that, like fruit on the vine, needs time to mature. The maturation date for the Canadian new system is 2015 — when we host the Women’s World Cup.

And, the English side is an older, experienced team that’s played together for years. And, in a telephone conference held before the Canadian team left to play its friendlies in France and England, Herdman warned that the English side isn’t working in young players — and has yet to show it has a new generation of footballers who can pick up from the likes of veterans White and Rachel Yankey.
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Bostock can try to rebuild career with Toronto FC

John Bostock

John Bostock

It’s a symbiotic deal: Toronto FC desperately needs attacking options, and midfielder John Bostock needs to get his career moving in a positive direction.

TFC announced Friday that Bostock, who has been in the team’s camp for weeks, has officially come to the team on a loan deal from Tottenham. Bostock, previously auditioned for the San Jose Earthquakes, which makes sense as Spurs and that MLS club have an official partnership agreement.

But Bostock now comes to TFC, which badly needs someone to link up striker Robert Earnshaw with the rest of the team. In last week’s season-opening 1-0 loss to Vancouver, the Reds were well organized and compact in the back, but played such a conservative game that Earnshaw was often left to fend for himself up top. If TFC wants to make such a conservative game plan work, it will need to capitalize on the few chances it does create — which means it needs an experienced attacking mid to get balls to Earnshaw or to create space for Earnshaw by drawing defensive pressure.
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Haber’s goal helps Stevenage snap six-game skid

Marcus Haber

Marcus Haber

When it comes to soccer, most of the world’s fans had their eyes glued Tuesday to the Manchester United-Real Madrid Champions League Clash.

But, in front of a home crowd of 2,794 — an attendance number that included the 882 away supporters — Canadian Marcus Haber ended Stevenage FC’s six-game losing skid in England’s League One. Stevenage stabilized itself in 15th place with a 1-0 win over Brentford.

Haber poked the ball home after it was headed by teammate Mark Roberts. Haber’s goal allowed him to atone for an earlier miss — a headed effort crashed off the bar earlier in the match.
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English veteran Darel Russell to try his luck with TFC

Darel Russell, in his Norwich days

If Darel Russell impresses TFC coach Ryan Nelsen enough to earn a contract, the stability of an MLS club might be a welcome change.

TFC announced that the English midfielder has joined the club for a trial.

At the end of January, after signing a series of one-month contracts, Russell left Portsmouth — a team that’s been forced to sign many players on rotating, short-term deals as it tries to survive being forced into administration, and is still searching for an owner.
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