Monday, September 29, 2003

Tie costly for Portuguese

KATHY RUMLESKI, Free Press Sports Reporter
2003-09-29 03:58:58

It was a result befitting the two teams. A 1-1 tie with London Portuguese, who had held the title for the past four years, was enough to give AEK Olympic the Western Ontario Soccer League Premier Division championship yesterday.
A close game was expected and that's what fans saw.
Undefeated AEK, ahead by one point in the standings, only needed a tie.
An unexpected loss to Exeter earlier in the season gave Portuguese its first loss since 1999. In the end, it cost the club the title.
As the rain fell and nearly 1,500 spectators looked on, the AEK players chanted, danced and hugged as the team won the WOSL Premiership for the first time.
"This is the happiest and greatest season ever," beamed AEK manager Tom Kouzounas. "Portuguese played amazing, especially at the end."
Portuguese was sparked by defender Jon Hasson's goal in the 61st minute.
Captain Andrew Loague lobbed in a corner kick that Hasson popped into the right corner of the net.
Hasson joined the team in the second half of the season after returning from teaching in England. He showed no fear on the field, tussling with former Western teammate Martin Painter and then, in injury time, getting sent off for hauling down Tim Balatsoukas as he closed in alone on the Portuguese net.
There were plenty of physical moments, Patrick Painter's boot to the head from Frank Neiva, which the referee deemed unintentional.
AEK made CPSL history as the first amateur team to beat a pro side by defeating Mississauga Olympians in the open Canada Cup.
"The Canada Cup gave us more experience for these big games," said AEK captain Giscard Degourville.
Martin Painter, who will take the under-14 boys' team he coaches to the national championships on Thanksgiving weekend in Halifax, scored AEK's goal in the 28th minute with a shot that hit the crossbar and bounced down and in.
This was the second time the two teams have tied this season. They also beat each other once. Portuguese won in overtime in a Premier Cup game while AEK's victory came in a shootout.
in League Cup play.
Yesterday's result means nothing was really settled between the two teams.
Degourville said the rivalry will continue next season.
"We wanted the win . . . but we're still happy."
"With something on the line, you're going to have the emotions running," Loague said. "There are guys putting their all into the tackles and frustrations come out on both teams."
AEK's captain Giscard Degourville is friends with many of the Portuguese players as he played on that team up until three years ago.
He said he switched sides because he didn't feel at the time he was up to the hectic schedule of the Portuguese, who enter Ontario Cup competition every year.
But this year, AEK played in the Ontario Cup and the Canadian Professional Soccer League's Canada Cup.
AEK made CPSL history as the first amateur team to beat a pro side when they defeated the Mississauga Olympians in the open Canada Cup.
Degourville said playing in that competition gave his team an advantage in WOSL play.
"The Canada Cup gave us more experience for these big games."
Martin Painter, who will take the under-14 boys' team he coaches to the national championships on Thanksgiving weekend in Halifax, scored AEK's goal in the 28th minute with a shot that hit the crossbar and bounced down and in.
This was the second time the two teams have tied this season. They also beat each other once. Portuguese won in overtime in a Premier Cup game, while AEK's victory over Portuguese came in a shootout in League Cup play.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Anthony Vassallo Joins Pro Team

September 25/03

Former Greater London Red Devil's Player Anthony Vassallo (16) has joined the Youth Team of Professional Men's Club Birkirkara of the Maltese Premier League. Anthony's first game is set for Sunday.

Friday, September 12, 2003

London soccer venues praised

09/12/2003 London Free Press News Article :

London soccer complexes shone this weekend at the annual John Henderson tournament, in its 26th year. Ed Lauterbach, president of the London United Competitive Soccer Club which runs the tournament, said he had many compliments about the excellent soccer complexes and fields in London.
"You will not find any venues that match up like we have here in London," Lauterbach said.
"The city has taken some rap (over a lack of good fields in the past), but the mayor's office can take a bow and parks and rec has really supported us a lot."
Lauterbach said the North London complex, the London Psychiatric Hospital fields, the pitches at Adelaide and Windermere, Stoneybrook and the Ted Early fields were all in top condition for the tournament.
He said a number of teams have already promised they'd be returning next year, including about 20 from Ohio and Michigan.
More than 650 games involving 200 teams were played on the fields.
Convener Laurie Workman said 20 more teams were added to this year's tournament compared to last year.
"It was a good year," she said.
Ten London squads came away victorious after finals were played yesterday at the LPH fields.
In the girls' divisions, winners included: London United under-12, North London u-13, Forest United u-14, London United u-15, North London u-16 and the North London Meteors under-16 girls won the under-19 division.
On the boys' side, champions included: London United u-9, London United u-10, North London u-14 and London Portuguese u-15.
This is the second year the tournament has had the designation of being a SuperClubs regional qualifier.
That means the top four teams in each division of the Henderson qualify for the 2004 SuperClubs final tournament in Orlando, Fla.
There are only 10 SuperClubs qualifiers in North America.
"Some clubs went last year," Workman said. "There's a good chance you'll see some packing up and going again. It's a great tournament and an awesome opportunity."
Workman said teams usually have about nine or 10 months to decide if they will travel to Florida for the tournament. She said this gives them time to raise funds.
KATHY RUMLESKI, Free Press Sports Reporter

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Gauss deserves Cup glory

Morris Dalla Costa, Free Press Sports Columnist
2003-09-03 03:35:11

Harry Gauss was ecstatic for his father Max. He was thrilled for his players.
And, as expected, his thoughts were never far from his son Paul, who died at the age of 19 almost five years ago.
Gauss might have wanted to dedicate London City's Canadian Professional Soccer League open Canada Cup victory Monday to all of them. No one could fault him for doing just that.
But he should take a little time over the next few days to look at what he has brought to the table and what his contribution is to this team.
"My dad is it," Gauss says. "There's no London City without him. It's his money, his passion. He inflicted this on me."
That may well be. But, truth be told, Harry, without you hanging in when just about every other sane person in the world would have quit years ago, there would be no London City, either. It wasn't just the constant financial battle or the constant political wrangling that seems such a part of soccer, it wasn't just the stress of having to work so hard when there appeared to be so little return for that investment.
There also was having to survive the personal tragedy of his son's death.
"When they tell you that time heals, that's a lie."
It was a very emotional Gauss who watched his team win the tournament.
"Nothing this team does is easy," he said. "We get eliminated from the tournament and then we get to hold the tournament. We play three games in four days. We win with 10 men on the field. From the time Tonino Commisso was sent off, I was a mess. I was an emotional wreck. I was happy for so many people."
London City completed a most improbable run to the trophy and $10,000 prize. Eliminated early in the tournament, they were granted a berth when the league decided to hold the tournament in London.
That decision began a series of events with the Ottawa Wizards at the centre of the controversy. The defending CPSL champions were supposed to hold the event, but couldn't reach agreement with the league. The league removed them from the tournament after Ottawa voiced concerns, among them having to play three games in less than 48 hours. An injunction to stop the tournament failed, but that doesn't mean the legal aspects are done.
"I'm trying to correct what's wrong with the CPSL, not tear it down," said Wizards owner Omur Sezerman.
In fact, on learning of London City's victory, Sezerman extended an invitation to London City.
"We play them on Sept. 14 in Ottawa and the game is already sold out," Sezerman said. "We have enough to double sell the tickets. But I would like to challenge London City to another game between us with the date, location and referees to be mutually agreed upon."
The prize for the winner shouldn't come as much of a surprise. It's $10,000.
It seems there's more confrontation in the offing. The Wizards are holding an OZ Optics invitational tournament in October. The five CPSL teams who originally qualified for the Canada Cup are invited.
That leaves London out.
Sezerman said he doesn't need the CPSL's permission to run the tournament.
This is what Stan Adamson, the league's administrator said: "The Ottawa Wizards can conduct their own tournament if they wish, if it meets the rules and regulations of the CPSL. We'd certainly want to take at look at that. Omur has to get approval by the league to hold the tournament. We would frown on them leaving out one team if it's done for vindictive reasons."
None of that really troubles Gauss. He plans to tell Sezerman what he can do with the winner-take-all invitation. Gauss is going to let the players enjoy the money as they travel for games in Ottawa and Montreal. He isn't worried about the criticism his team heard about getting into the tournament through the back door.
For once, there is a real return on the investment of time and effort Gauss put into soccer.
And well deserved it is.