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Colin Jose
Colin Jose is a Canadian who has been writing about soccer in the United States and Canada for over 40 years. During that time his painstaking research and writing has resulted in a body of work acknowledged to be the definitive history of soccer in North America.

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  Pro Game: Team America Reborn In Toronto
Posted by rhi on Friday, December 21 @ 09:40:03 EST (1852 reads) ( | Pro Game | Score: 0)
Leagues Courtesy Bill Ault, CanadaKicks

Expect Toronto FC to add a star to their jersey in 2008 and perhaps a hit of blue striping as well. The star emblematic around the world of championships won will in this case not be reflections of achievement on the field but along with the hint of blue a nod to the Americanization of Canada’s only Major League Soccer side.

From MLS Announcement yesterday:

During the 2007 season, teams were allotted seven international spots per team, four Senior International and three Youth International slots, with the exception of Toronto FC who were awarded seven Senior International slots (three of which could be used only on domestic US players) and five Youth slots. Each team has been awarded one additional international player slot, the distinction between Youth International and Senior International has been removed and all international player slots will be tradable. Toronto FC has been awarded two additional international player slots, which they may use only on domestic U.S. players.

With the rule changes announced yesterday by the league Toronto FC is now capable – if we’re reading all the roster regulations correctly – of fielding 15 internationals in their line-up in 2008. A third of those, five, would have to be U.S. domestic players or at least U.S. resident status.

It appears that Mo Johnston has found the answer to his major complaint of last season – that there were just not enough quality Canadian players available to round out his roster – at this rate he won’t have to field any. It probably also explains why most of the Canadian players on his roster were exposed during the recent expansion draft and there was little effort to retrieve Chris Pozniak lost in the draft to San Jose – Toronto FC will be replacing them in 2008 with internationals from elsewhere.

This leaves Canada’s only Division One level soccer franchise of being in the rather awkward spot of having more Americans than Canadians in their line-up and with Jim Brennan being the sole Canadian that will likely be a regular starter. Not exactly what the Canadian Soccer Association likely had in mind when they helped Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment bring the first MLS franchise north of the border.

Now I’m on the record as saying players should have to earn their way on to a professional roster no matter where they are born that after all is what competition is all about and what most, if not all, players at this level would expect. But is it just me or does it not seem a little strange that five Americans are virtually guaranteed spots on a “Canadian” franchise but Canadians are guaranteed none?

Would it have really been that difficult for MLS or Toronto FC to designate at least one or two of those domestic U.S. player spots to Canadian players and at least pay lip-service, like the rest of the country, to the development of Canadian talent.

Hopefully the academy program recently announced by the club – and originally scheduled for more in depth explanation at a since postponed press conference today – will go a long ways to eventually bringing some Canadian talent into the team. The reality is that academy’s at the highest level do well to produce one or two players every couple of years for the first team even for the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United so expecting this route to fill Toronto’s roster is little more than wishful thinking.

What does it all mean? It means Mo Johnston has no more excuses – if anything according to the rules Toronto FC has access to a greater talent pool, the world, than any other team in the league. Given that advantage there can only be one expectation even for a second year team – “Just win baby.” Nothing else given the circumstances is acceptable.


  News: Germany Hosts Women's 2011 Cup, CSSU Calls For CSA REview
Posted by rhi on Tuesday, October 30 @ 16:37:37 EDT (1620 reads) ( | News | Score: 0)
<meta http-equiv=refresh content= Canadians shouldn’t be surprised that this country’s bid to host the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup was rejected today.

By selecting Germany, despite all-but promising the tournament to Canada four years ago, FIFA is sending the Canadian Soccer Association a clear message—get your house in order.

Canadian Soccer Supporters United, the group that organized last month’s successful Black Wednesday T-Shirt protest at the National Soccer Stadium, has learned that, following a thorough audit of the CSA constitution, FIFA advised the CSA that their constitution was outmoded and needed to significantly updated in order to fall into line with FIFA governance standards.

Specifically, FIFA has taken issue with the CSA’s failure to institute a one province, one vote policy. Currently, the CSA’s voting structure gives greater voting power to the largest provinces, which FIFA objects to.

“While disappointed that this tournament will be held in Germany rather than Canada, we can’t imagine that FIFA would want to grant another major tournament to a country that is unwilling to adhere to FIFA’s most basic governance rules,” CSSU co-founder Dino Rossi said.

“FIFA has asked the CSA to fix it, but the CSA has told us that the Board of Directors will not approve such an amendment to the constitution.”

Rossi and members of his group learned of FIFA’s reform request during a meeting between representatives of the CSA and CSSU last week. He said that it is disappointing to learn that the CSA would not take a direct request from FIFA more seriously.

“Canadian soccer, and Canada itself, has lost a tremendous opportunity here,” Rossi said. “One can only imagine what impact the Women’s World Cup would have had for Canadian soccer, especially to the women’s program.”

“Hopefully, the leadership at the CSA can fix this problem and refocus its efforts at landing this tournament in 2015.”

Rossi reiterated the CSSU’s call for an independent review of the CSA, with an eye for reforming the organization. He pointed to Australia’s Crawford Report as a template that Canadian officials could follow in undertaking the review.


  Pro Game: Two Games For CSL 2007 Title
Posted by rhi on Wednesday, October 24 @ 08:20:16 EDT (1633 reads) ( | Pro Game | Score: 0)
Leagues TORONTO – Tuesday, October 23 - It will take two games to win this year’s CSL Championship.

The previous one game affair has become a 2-leg total goals aggregate championship with both games at Esther Shiner Stadium this coming Saturday and Sunday.

The first game will be for Toronto Croatia fans only, no Serbians allowed.

And it’s restricted entry on Sunday. That’s Serbia day with no Toronto Croatia fans allowed in the stadium.

The change in format is seen as the answer to the CSL’s attempt to accommodate with safety the unusually high number of fans interested in seeing Serbian White Eagles and Toronto Croatia clash for the title.

The two teams met last year and there were problems, twice. The first time at Lamport Stadium in Toronto’s west end and at the return match played at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton. But that was largely overcome this year when the two regular season league games were used to separate the fans – Serbia’s home game restricted to Serbian fans on September 14 and it was Croatia’s turn on October 2. The experiment was successful with both games well attended.

The smaller community stadiums are just not big enough for the event, so the league attempted to put this year’s one-game championship in the BMO Field where all fans could witness the same game yet be separated using the two main stands. But Toronto FC’s home ground is closed for a bubble installation for the upcoming indoor soccer season.

Toronto Croatia will take the first leg on Saturday, a 5 p.m. kickoff at Esther Shiner and Serbian White Eagles have been handed Sunday’s game, which starts at 3 p.m.

Security will be the order of the day, on both days. All fans will be checked at the entrance for flares, fireworks and anything else that might spell trouble. Any fan support showing signs of hostility will be ejected from the ground. There will be a strong security and police presence.

“It’s our hope that next season we can return to having all fans join together to see what are great games on the field, but we’re just not there yet,” explained league commissioner Cary Kaplan when the decision came down Tuesday.

In semifinal games played last weekend, Serbian White Eagles defeated Trois-Rivieres Attak 2-1 and Toronto Croatia edged St. Catharines Wolves, 3-2.

Current CSL champions Italia Shooters were eliminated in the quarterfinals.


  Opinions: Ben Knight Petition
Posted by rhi on Monday, October 01 @ 13:18:11 EDT (2674 reads) ( | Opinions | Score: 1)
Grassroots Courtesy InsideSoccer Magazine

On rumour that Sportsnet's Ben Knight Column may be dropped

I have thoroughly enjoyed Ben Knight's columns. His style of writing is unique, while the content is refreshing. A must read for anyone who is involved in our game.

I sincerely hope Sportsnet decides to maintain Ben's weekly commentary. It will be a great loss if they don't.

Alfons Rubbens
InsideSOCCER Magazine

On how do get Ben back in broadcasting

benknight I would LOVE to do it. Put some passion in there. Give the games a bit of edge -- enfused with deep, genuine love of the sport. I called all the Lynx games in '97, I've done the national team, two seasons of Toronto Italia and Milan-Porto at Varsity Stadium in the nineties.

Also, I very nearly got the colour job on Toronto Rock radio lacrosse broadcasts on Fan 590 a year ago, but the plug got pulled before the season even started.

I very much want to start broadcasting again.

FYI // Ben

PETITION Sportsnet HERE (feedback@sportsnet.rogers.com)


  Pro Game: Soccer In Toronto: CSL Result 09.09.07
Posted by rhi on Tuesday, September 11 @ 08:57:39 EDT (1729 reads) ( | Pro Game | Score: 0)
Leagues Courtesy Rocket Robin, Soccer In Toronto

Sept 9, 2007
The Soccer Centre, Vaughan 8:00 pm
Italia Shooters [0] Toronto Croatia [0]

Attendance was about 80 on this warm night. There had been rain the night before and it looked like rain from earlier in the day but nothing fell while the game was on.

Play was pretty even throughout the night with one patch between 15 and 21 minutes when no ball was inside the 20 yard lines of either team yet the passing was great, just one pass too short of getting a clear shot or a break in the box. Many of the shots throughout the game were blocked or saved by defenders rather than the goalies although they were both called on to make a few stops.

Camilo Benzi for the Shooters and George Azcurra for Croatia earned the shutouts for each team. Benzi had a tougher time lucky to stay in the game when he was crunched by a Croatia player when he charged to the edge of box to punch a ball away.

Shooters defender Rick Titus asked me after the game if I thought the game was boring. I didn’t think that because this was a close, hard fought game. Referee Steve Cahoon stopped the game in the first half to warn Croatian head coach Milodrag Akmadzic and in the second half on Shooters assistant coach Sam Medeiros to stop complaining from the sidelines. He never lost control of the game and kept the cards to a minimum. One of his cards though was at 68 minutes to Croatia’s Mario Pupic when Shooters Chris Turner suddenly went to ground while a group of players stood waiting for a cornerkick into the Croatia box. Shooters physio Stella Makcis examined his injury then came back off the field to tell their bench. “Nothing I can do for him, he got hit in the balls”.

Croatia coach Milodrag Akmadzic was very upset at the usually reliable Hayden Fitzwilliams who held back on some rushes and made some offside passes breaking up Croatian rushes. Tihomir Maletic and Hugo Herrera were the forwards for Croatia.

Shooters coach Tony DeThomasis answered me before the game to explain how they were beaten 4-0 by Croatia on Friday. They had three starting defenders at a Footsal tournament in South America. Fitzroy Christie was back for tonight’s game and Denny Velastegui and Alvaro Yaques will be back and ready for the next game. Midfielder Bill Androutsis was suspended for the rest of the year by the league for getting into a fight after already being subbed off. Forward Jason DeThomasis is serving a suspension for being ejected from the Open Canada Cup semi-final last weekend.

With a tie tonight, this showed that Shooters could rebound from their 4-0 loss, the Serbian White Eagles jumped into first place in the International Division with a 5-1 win over North York Astros. That game started an hour before this one and announcements were made during the game about the score 2-0, 3-1, 4-1, and 5-1 as the evening went on.

Next game for Toronto Croatia is against the White Eagles on Thursday night at Centennial Stadium in Etobicoke. This game was sold as a ‘home’ game for White Eagles with tickets only being distributed through Serbian ethnic shops and clubs. There are no tickets available on the night of the game and one reason for the game being on Thursday rather than the weekend is to stop any travelling rowdies from out of the city from causing trouble. A game later in the season will be treated as a ‘home’ game for Croatia.


  Cold Articles
Sunday, September 09
· Toronto Scoreless Draught Continues (0)
· Impact End Season In Third Place (0)
Saturday, September 08
· Caps-Galaxy Game Postponed Until November (0)
· Caps Give Up Late Goal To Tie Atlanta (0)
· SAAC Senior Development All-Star Teams Announced (0)
· Soccer In Toronto: CSL Result 09.07.07 (0)
Friday, September 07
· Perhaps The Time Has Come (0)
Thursday, September 06
· Black Is Black Sept 12 (0)
· Impact 1 Atlanta 0, Leduc Score Wins It (0)
Wednesday, September 05
· 2007 Women’s World Cup Preview (0)

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