Saturday, July 21, 2001

CPSL All Stars announced

CPSL All-Stars Roster - for Maritimo Game
by Bill Spiers


TORONTO—Saturday, July 21—CPSL coach Tony La Ferrara of North York Astros has announced his pool of 25 players from which a final roster of 20 will be chosen to represent the CPSL against Maritimo of the Portuguese First Division at Cove Road in London next Wednesday, July 25, a 7.15 p.m. kickoff.

It’s a wide ranging selection all the way from one of the most experienced veterans in 32 year-old former Canadian National Team goalscorer Eddy Berdusco of the Toronto Olympians, to the league’s youngest player, 16 year-old Southwestern Ontario standout Tyler Hemming, a defender with London City. Hemming has been scouted by Glasgow Celtic of the Scottish Premier Division, but is expected to go to Blundell Park in England for a trial later this year with Grimsby Town of the English First Division.

Last year’s MVP in the CPSL, Willy Giammarra, is in the pool and so is Bayete Smith, voted the league’s best defensive player in 2000. Both are with Toronto Olympians.

“I feel confident we are going to come up with a very strong side as we get closer to game time on Wednesday and we assess one or two players with slight injuries and others needed by their clubs for a key mid-week game,” explained Ferrara in announcing the pool.

Ferrara led the CPSL Selects to an impressive 1-1 tie against a strong Morocco under-23 squad on July 6, a team from which that country selects its World Cup players.
Goalkeepers: Dino Perri (St. Catharines Roma Wolves), Brian Bowes (Toronto Olympians).
Defenders: Bayete Smith, Tony Marshall and Danny Sanna of Toronto Olympians, Tyler Hemming (London City), Kurt Ramsey (North York Astros), Danny Gallagher (St. Catharines Roma Wolves), Dave McDonald (Glen Shields Sun Devils), Payvand Mossavat (Toronto Supra).
Midfielders: Willy Giammarra (Toronto Olympians), Lucio Ianiero (Capt.) (St. Catharines Roma Wolves), O’Neil Brown (Durham Flames), Gentjan Dervishi (London City), Marcelo Garcia (North York Astros), Orlando Rizzo (York Region Shooters), Leo Incollingo (Montreal Dynamites), Samir Karaga (Toronto Croatia), Phil Ionadi (Brampton Hitmen).
Forwards: Eddy Berdusco (Toronto Olympians), Carlo Arghittu (St. Catharines Roma Wolves), Ryan Gamble (Toronto Supra), Semir Mesanovic (London City), Sanjeev Parmer (Ottawa Wizards), John Matas (Toronto Olympians).
Head Coach: Tony La Ferrara (North York Astros), Assistant Coaches: Lucio Ianiero (St. Catharines Roma Wolves) and Jurek Gebczynski (London City).

Players and coaching staff will be assembling at the German-Canadian Club at the Cove Road ground in London on Tuesday morning. There will be a training session at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. that day and again the next morning, on game day, Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Friday, July 13, 2001

City's Hemming sees U.K. camp as a challenge

Friday, July 13, 2001
By STEVE GREEN, Free Press Sports Reporter

It's been four days now since he got the news and the smile still hasn't left Tyler Hemming's face. The 16-year-old prodigy with London City of the Canadian Professional Soccer League will head for a two-week trial in early September with the youth squads of Grimsby Town of the English First Division. It's a feather in the cap for both City and the London Soccer Academy. "I just want to go over there, have a good time, train hard and learn as much as possible," Hemming said. "I'll be learning a different style of play -- how they play in the big leagues. I'm nervous about going but I'll take it as a challenge." Grimsby's youth director, Ian Knight, spent a week in London looking at Hemming and other academy players in action with their respective club sides. "From our point of view, the only cost to (Grimsby) is my time here," Knight said at last Friday's CPSL game between City and Brampton at Cove Road Field. "If we pick up just one boy and get him into the professional ranks of the club, then this arrangement (with City and the academy) will have been worth it. "Boys within the academy structure need to be pushed in every way possible. It's all about passion, and drive, dedication and commitment. And that's something the players have to put in themselves. "What we have to do with these players is show them the possibility that it does work." It's a possibility Hemming didn't dare dream of when the season began. He only turned out for City's open tryouts to get in some extra training. "I thought maybe I'd get into a couple of games. I certainly didn't expect to start any, and I didn't expect to score a goal (June 24 at Durham). I thought I might get looked at by some teams but I never thought I'd actually be going over to England." He agrees that playing against men much older than he is has helped. "I'm used to playing against faster and stronger guys," he said. "I know all the tricks. "I've always been able to play all the positions, but playing defence (in the CPSL) has made me more confident against players of that age and skill level. There's a lot of weight on your shoulders." City general manager Harry Gauss sounded even more pleased than Hemming, if that was possible. "I'm just so happy for the kid," Gauss said. "I was ready to cry in the dressing room when Ian told him. This kid deserves it. Sure, we'll be losing the kid, but the negative of that is so very minimal compared to the positives. "He knows he has to be better than anything they have over there if he's going to stick and Ian said from what's he's seen of him, he believes he is. If Tyler does two years over there, you'll see him on TV some day."

Saturday, July 07, 2001


Timbers scores big with soccer manager

Harry Gauss says a good restaurant meal can be compared to a goal in soccer -- the key is the buildup.
The general manager of London City of the Canadian Professional Soccer League doesn't get out that often -- he also runs his own soccer store (London Soccer Shops) and is involved with the London Soccer Academy -- but when he does, he looks for the complete package.
"For me, it's a comfort issue. You want to be relaxed," he said over a leisurely lunch at Timbers Chop House.
"It's a service-oriented business -- you need to size up the customer, know when to approach and when to leave alone. A lot of my dealings in restaurants are meetings, where we'll spend a couple of hours or more.
"Everything's important -- the atmosphere, the personnel. The food is the cherry on the cake."
Or the goal, so to speak, and Timbers scores a nice one, starting from the aromas wafting over the outdoor patio as you approach the front door.
Opened in November 1999, replacing the former Musselini's, the two-floor restaurant owned by Jim and Tracy Chioros has a mountain lodge motif -- hence the name -- and a menu that can satisfy any mountain man.
The lunch menu alone can easily be confused for the dinner menu with its considerable range of items. Chops -- veal, lamb and pork -- are the specialties of the house, but there is everything from pasta to fish, steaks, prime rib, lobster, crab and ribs.
Lunch entrees range from $6 to $17, while the dinner entrees range from $10 to $29. A pound of king crab legs will set you back $22.
Gauss chose the filet mignon with baked potato and while he ordered it well done -- something not recommended with that particular cut of meat -- it was done exactly to his liking.
For his salad, he chose a subtle raspberry vinaigrette that didn't overwhelm the greens.
His Free Press interviewer opted for a nicely sized Greek salad, followed by an Angus sirloin that despite its width was perfectly done to medium-rare. His lunch came with mushroom rice, while both had grilled vegetables.
On a recommendation from their server, the two shared a warm cheese crab dip starter that was hot, cheesy and had a decent amount of crab.
Served with corn chips and pita bread triangles, it's a meal in itself.
The wine list is huge, with excellent variety. Tracy Chioros said stocking so many varieties allows more of them to be sold by the glass, further adding to a diner's already plentiful choices.
Topping it off from the dessert tray was a Bailey's Irish Cream cheesecake that bordered on decadent.
While Gauss admitted that's not the normal fare of a soccer player, he said food is still a prime concern for players and managers alike.
"Part of the problem in North America is nutrition isn't as big a part of the game as it is in Europe," he said.
"We're a fast-food society. And quite a few of the injuries we're getting (at London City) are because of nutrition. Soccer in Europe is based on a seven-day cycle.
"Over here, we butcher that by playing three times in five days. When you ask that much of the muscles, they look for something to stabilize.
"A vegetarian diet is great, to a point, but for a soccer player it's tough to be a vegetarian. And carbohydrates can be overdone, too. You like a balance."
On balance, Timbers is a winner.
855 Wellington Rd.
Hours: 6:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday;
8 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday; open for Sunday brunch, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. ($11).
Lunch: Appetizers and salads, $3-$12; entrées, $6-$17; side orders, $1-$7
Dinner: Appetizers, sides and salads, $1-$22, entrees, $10-$29.
Information: Extensive variety on menu and wine list. All major credit cards accepted.
In Table for Two, people well-known in London are invited by Free Press writers to dine and talk about food at one of their favourite restaurants. Steve Green is a Free Press sports reporter.

London Soccer Academy gets down to basics

By STEVE GREEN -- London Free Press - July 7, 2001

The Canadian Soccer Association likes to point out 800,000 people play the game in Canada, but one of the knocks at the developmental levels is they're playing too much.
The theory is youngsters don't practise enough, leaving them short of basic skills when they reach the elite levels.
The London Soccer Academy is trying to change that.
Started in May 2000, the academy, based at Cove Road Field, already has a working arrangement with Grimsby Town of the English First Division. Grimsby's youth team coach, Ian Knight, is in London now to see the academy's players in action with their various club sides.
His last trip, in December, saw four academy players head to England for two-week trials in March.
While none stuck, just getting London and area players the chance at such opportunities -- even at the U.S. university level -- is what the academy is all about, said director Cam Vassallo.
"We're not promising them they'll be pros, we're just trying to open the door for them," he said, adding it takes a special player to adopt the practise-first mentality.
"It's not just about all-out ability. The ones who have the passion for soccer love to practise," he said. "We've got one kid who's missing games to be with us."
But Vassallo stressed the academy's intentions aren't to take players away from club teams. It's to give those club teams improved players. Academy players train every other week, geared as much as possible to their club teams' schedules.
"It's always a battle of changing people's attitude to just coming out to train instead of training for a trophy," he said. "The (minor) hockey system in London is far more advanced than soccer, and very few players in London will make it to the pros, yet everyone buys into the same system."
Vassallo said while some clubs resisted having players attend the academy, the results have eased that.
"One coach told me, 'This is a practice I don't have to have.' The thing is, we have to be here for the kids, not for ourselves and our own egos."
While Vassallo said he received some responses from bigger clubs such as Middlesbrough and Inter Milan when he set up the academy, but with them it was more a case of getting older youth players right away instead of developing them from a younger age, which Grimsby wants to do.
"It adds a lot of structure to the academy," Vassallo said of the affiliation with Grimsby. "It gives us insight to what the kids are up against over there. It's not easy to get there, even to get a trial, because obviously our kids will have to be better than what they have over there already.
"The thing is, a kid who signs with Grimsby is likely going to play. And mission accomplished would be getting a kid signed."
Technical and coaching aspects of the academy are handled by London City, with City player-coach Jurek Gebczynski the head intructor.
"It's taken a lot of the burden off me knowing someone like Harry (City general manager Gauss), who has a passion for soccer, is part of this," Vassallo said, "and I'm definitely happy with the technical aspects and City's coaching. The kids respond well to Jurek. He gets as much as he can out of them."
City benefits as well. One academy product, 16-year-old Tyler Hemming, is already acquitting himself well on City's back line in CPSL games.
"I really admire the fact someone else had the intestinal fortitude to do something like this," Gauss said, adding it was a "natural progression" for City and the academy to hook up.
"For us, in our open tryouts, we'll see some promising players but they aren't proficient in the basics. And at our (CPSL) level, we shouldn't be teaching the basics. Seeing the ball and passing the ball, for example, are two things (Canadian youth players) are not comfortable with."
That, Gauss said, is attributable to that "games over practice" train of thought. "We're too winning- oriented," he said, noting that those in Grimsby's youth program don't play a game until they're 16.
Such thinking may be heresy for youth sports organizers in Canada, but it may also be why players such as Jason deVos of Dundee United, Tomas Radzinski of Anderlecht and Owen Hargreaves of Bayern Munich are so much the exception to the rule.