Gauss looking ahead to brighter City future
Posted on Sep 28, 2001, 3:53 AM
By Jim Kernaghan, Free Press Sports Columnist
For a minute there, it sounded as though Harry Gauss would welcome back all the gifted maniacs and malcontents who ever passed through his soccer team in exchange for a few more wins.
But no, on second thought, the general manager of London City would prefer going into the final weekend of his club's Canadian Professional Soccer League season with the young team he's got. Well, OK, maybe he could live with a couple crazies from the past.
London plays at North York Astros tonight and winds up the season at Cove Road Field with a matinee Sunday against York Shooters. Two wins would double their season total, against three draws and 17 losses.
Gauss admits he wouldn't mind seeing past talents such as Nathan Davies or Charlie Doerfel trotting out with the 12-team league's youngest team. Mind you, the coach of the similarly young football Mustangs, Larry Haylor, would welcome the sight of Mike O'Brien and Blake Marshall lining up for him, too.
"The coaching staff and I would have sat on the bench and paid admission to watch Nathan," Gauss said dreamily. "You just let him go. He was incredible. He had the ability to beat everyone in sight."
Davies, alas, was incapable of beating the good life during his skyrocketing time with the club six years ago.
Doerfel, a free spirit whose unobstructed personality sidelined him from the German national team, probably could have altered the standings on behalf of City, as well. It's been 23 years since the colourful and imperious Doerfel, who usually managed to have a spectator carrying his bag for him, was on the scene.
These and other high-maintenance heroes come to mind when a season goes the way this one has but Gauss has been around long enough to know reality always intrudes. The team chemistry is not quite the way he'd like it but at least it's not toxic.
"What we need is four very professional players who know what it takes . . . and a Curtis Joseph in goal," Gauss said.
He wasn't rapping his goaltending. Scott Mueller "is getting better all the time" but at 23 is seven years shy of a soccer goalie's best years. And you can't knock a team for being young.
London City has developed a rapport with other teams, notably Grimsby Town of the English First Division. Tyler Hemming, 17, was sent over for experience with that club's youth organization and will return next year to play and receive his schooling. Short of winning the league, developing players is next most gratifying thing for a guy raised in the shadows of goal posts.
It's not as though Gauss's club is entirely fuzzy-cheeked. Striker Sandro Costantin from Wallaceburg, Gauss says, would have made a difference had he been with the team all season. He's 33.
Captain and stopper Gerald Gallacher, 32, helps bring order to a back line often beleaguered by opposition attacks. He's an architectural intern whom Gauss hopes to have back, possibly as a playing coach.
While he's looking ahead, Gauss was looking back as he gazed out the window of the German-Canadian Club's dining room. He's had other valleys in the 32 years he's been involved in club soccer and thought the same things.
There's always a mountain somewhere ahead and for guys with passion, it's not always atop the standings. London City is part of a league that may have established some sort of mark by having all the same owners for two straight seasons. There's the development of players.
And always, there's next year, when those four mistakes that led to three opposition goals are eliminated and you pot two yourself. That's when guys like Gauss don't look back at past stars much.