Home NASL & USL More NASL & USL PEI’s Mozzi Gyorio is one of NASL’s top Canadians

PEI’s Mozzi Gyorio is one of NASL’s top Canadians

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In NASL, FC Edmonton and the Montreal Impact don’t have a monopoly on the league’s best Canadian players.

Stratford, PEI’s Mozzi Gyorio has been a big part of FC Tampa Bay’s surge up the standings. Gyorio, who is currently part of the national U-23 player pool, is a playmaking midfielder who can play in the middle or out on the right. He scored a key last-gasp free-kick marker in last week’s 3-3 draw in Montreal.

After a stuttering start to the season, FTB is now third in the NASL table.

“The team has really come together,” said Gyorio. “We’re really fighting for each other, on and off the field. From the start of the season, we tried some different thingsm and we have found something that can work.”

One of those things is a subtle move to shift Gyorio from the middle of the park to the right side; but he’s given a free role and can drift back to the middle if the situation calls for it. Gyorio is given a lot of freedom in coach Ricky Hill’s system.

But it’s a long way from Stratford to Tampa. The fact that Gyorio is a Prince Edward Islander forced him to overcome a lot more obstacles than, say, a player growing up in Ontario, Alberta or British Columbia. Yet, both he and his best friend, FC Edmonton forward Paul Craig, have got to Division-2.

“The hardest thing about playing in Prince Edwards Island is that no one is watching you play,” said Gyorio. “Really, the only chance you have is when you go to nationals. I got scouted when I was playing as 15, 16-year-old at nationals and got a chance with the U-18 national team. I got lucky, I got scouted.”

Both Craig and Gyorio got to attend the National Training Centre in Atlantic Canada. Gyorio also got a handful of appearances with the U-20 national team.

After spending a year with the U-19 wing of Dutch side NEC Nijmegen, Gyorio went to San Jacinto College and was also part of the Houston Dynamo’s academy. Coach Paul Dalglish left the academy to take over FCTB, and signed Gyorio — who remained with the club after Dalglish left in 2010.

Gyorio said he hopes to return to FCTB in 2012, but “nothing is settled” yet in terms of a contract extension. But this has been a breakthrough year for the Canadian — as he’s made himself a regular part of the starting lineup.

“Last year was a little frustrating because I wasn’t playing all the time,” admitted Gyorio. “But this year I feel more secure —no player can always feel totally secure —because I am playing every game and getting the minutes, which is crucial to my career.”

Long-term, Gyorio would love to get another shot in Europe.

“I really enjoyed my time in Holland; getting back to Europe would be a dream. I think playing in a place that is more technical would be really good for me; I’d love to get the chance to try Spain or Portugal.”

Gyorio was born in the former Yugoslavia, in the northern Vojvodina province — an area near the Hungarian border that has, like Gyorio’s family, many ethnic Hungarians. His dad, Csaba Gyori (the family added the “o” to the surname after they came to Canada) played professionally in Yugoslavia. Later, he would coach both his son and Craig in Prince Edward Island.

When Gyorio was a toddler, the family left Vojvodina for Hungary — and later moved to Canada.

But, despite his colourful ethnic background, Gyorio hopes to play for Canada again. National coach Stephen Hart has said that he will continue to scout the NASL for potential men’s senior call-ups.

“Right now, I am in the U-23 pool, so that’s where the senior team really begins to start looking at you. I would love to the chance to play for my country. Playing for a national team is a huge honour.”

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2 Comments

  1. Mary

    August 22, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Mozzi is fantastic! We’ve been cheering for him all through last season as well and are very excited to see him finally getting his chance. If you can’t find the ball, look for Mozzi–he’ll be right there with it. He’s a true force with which to be reckoned!

    Reply

  2. LWalker

    August 22, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Mozzi is a truly exciting player, and we love him here in Tampa Bay. No Mozzi, No Party!

    Reply

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