Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Tyler Rosenlund is apparently off to a very good start at AIK Stolkholm in Sweden. AIK's coach considers him an interesting prospect. For those who believe he may make his way back to MLS options later in the year - I have word that there are a few more teams lined up to take a look at him in Scandinavia first. The link below is an interview conducted in English with Tyler after practicing with AIK.


Early indications have Carl Robinson of Norwich City and Wales on his way to Toronto FC in a very late transfer move. Sir Mo did say it was a lesser known player he was looking at last week, and you pretty much can't get any lesser known than Robinson. Johnston most probably had a good look at him while in England last month so he knows what he is getting here. The journeyman international from Wales looks to have had difficulty staying in one place for very long during his career, but was probably had on the cheap. That said it will be very interesting to find out what type of salary Robinson commands and what type of allocation Toronto used for him. Only time will tell if Robinson is markedly better than the players currently on the TFC roster or comparable domestic players available to play his position, and whether he justifies taking up a coveted Senior International spot. A couple of things he will bring is experience and versatility as he can play as a defender as well.

It is largely assumed that he will be announced at a presser tomorrow along with the official beer sponsor for the team - thought to be Carlsberg.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


No word on the expected foreign player signing from Toronto FC as of yet. Speculation continues to circulate largely based on comments made by Sir Mo in the media. Whoever it is, Sir Mo has made it clear that he is a lower profile player with leadership ability, as he expects him to become a co-captain.

The Dwight Yorke rumour brought about by comments made by Phil Scheon on GOL TV have circulated as a possibility, though I have my serious doubts given his position and age. Miami based Phil Scheon had ample opportunity to speak to Mo Johnston, as they know each other from Scheon's days at ABC covering MLS, while Mo was down in Florida for the National team camps and the MLS Combine. Or Scheon may have speculated based on what he read on the Internet about Mo watching Sunderland play in early December. Sunderland however has just signed yet another Trinidadian in Stern John so it would appear that they are assembling Soca Warriors not sending them away.

I would suggest my earlier suggestion of former Toronto Olympian Densil Theobald, the current T&T Captain, can be ruled out given the player Mo speaks of is coming from Europe. Theobald is back plying his trade in the T&T domestic league after ending his contract with Scottish team Falkirk (still worthwhile to take a look at considering his play in the World Cup and that he may come on the cheap). As for Europeans, Jacek Bak of Poland, a player Mo had gone on record stating was a target of his last year while coaching New York is a possibility, as is Martin Andresen of Norway. Andresen however would require a transfer fee and is highly regarded in Norway by both fans and the club making him less likely. Of course Scottish player Charlie Miller, apparently a friend of Sir Mo, has played alongside Andresen for a couple of years now at SK Brann in Norway so there could be a link. Another name floating around was Miroslav Karhan of Slovakia who has been with VFL Wolfsburg of Germany for several years. Although his contract status at the moment is being discussed, he has gone on record stating he would rather stay in Germany because he does not want to uproot his family who are very happy there. It is also not known whether he can speak English - certainly something a potential Toronto FC captain would require given the makeup of the roster.

As reported yesterday AIK Stolkholm will be taking a close look at Canadian Tyler Rosenlund. Rosenlund will be on trial until February 11th. If not successful at AIK, Rosenlund may have other opportunities elsewhere in Scandinavia. As I reported back in December MLS apparently tried very hard to secure Rosenlund to no avail after the College Cup in St. Louis.

DC United and the Houston Dynamo opened training camps yesterday. Of note Dwayne De Rosario was present and apparently well ahead of teammates due to the head start received during the National team training camp in Florida. Looks likely now that Dwayne will accept the big raise in pay and stay put in the MLS for the coming years. According to Kevan Payne DC United will probably not use a Designated Player this year.

Kansas City are getting close to finalizing a deal to play out of a small expanded community/high school field for the next two MLS campaigns. The seating capacity will be between 6500-8000. Not that the Wizards were ever a good draw in MLS, yet the reduced capacity will surely have an impact on the overall MLS attendance averages that so many soccer fans and basher's alike will be following closely to measure the David Beckham impact. The Wizards as an organization however are doing many great things on and off the field, and we should see stadium development plans shortly. The new local ownership group have already doubled the team staff to nearly 40 employees.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Scandinavia looks to have stolen another top NCAA Soccer prospect. Canadian midfielder Tyler Rosenlund of defending NCAA champion UC Santa Barbara moreover, will be heading to Sweden for a trial with AIK Stockholm.


With the draw for the tournament to be held here in Toronto only a month away, the 24 team field became much clearer this past weekend. The tournament will be held in 6 Canadian cities this coming July. Toronto will host the final.
North America - Canada, USA, Panama (2 more to come)
South America - Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay
Africa - Nigeria, Gambia, Congo, Zambia
Asia - South Korea, North Korea, Japan, Jordan
Europe - Scotland, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Austria, Czech Republic
Ocenaia - (1 spot to be decided)

Sunday, January 28, 2007


If you missed it on Thursday night, an unusually tight lipped Mo Johnston answered call in questions from TFC fans on the FAN 590 Sports Radio Station. Apparently Sir Mo has decided on carrying two Captains - one will be domestic the other will be arriving soon from Europe. Perhaps lost in all the discussion about TFC were his thoughts on Canadian Soccer in general. He encouraged fans to be more optimistic about the quality of player being produced in Canada and believes the next Canadian National team coach should be Canadian (or someone familiar with the program). One has to wonder if Sir Mo has ambitions of taking over the Canadian National team in the future himself? After all there won't be too many coaches out there as familiar with Canadian players as Sir Mo with the level of scouting he has performed since taking over Toronto FC. Scroll down to the January 25th Soccer Show and have a listen.

Not just another David Beckham story - this one has a local touch and goes well beyond the field.

Toronto's Jonathan De Guzman is making headlines in the Dutch league again.
The big question is how does Canada get De Guzman to commit to play for his country. Perhaps a transfer to another European league would be beneficial so he falls off the Dutch National team radar but chances are that he will turn his back on the country he was born and raised so to play international soccer for a traditional power.

After my rant last week, its nice to see the following release come from the CSA communications department. While brief, the release provides fans with a wrap up of the National team camp held in Florida. With the lack of soccer coverage dedicated to our national team (did they even have a single member of the media down in Florida?) the CSA has to be more creative and proactive in getting the word out about the Mens National Team program.
Link to my rant from Wednesday:

A great interview of Toronto FC & Canadian International Jim Brennan was conducted by the Go Toronto FC Supporters Group while he was in the National team camp down in Florida.

Canadian Riley O' Neill who was selected in the MLS Supplemental Draft by the Colorado Rapids and last week by the Vancouver Whitecaps in the USL Draft continues to explore European options in Germany with Kaiserslauten & St. Pauli as well as in Denmark with Ob Odense.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Ajax looks likely to have secured Edgar Davids services for the next 18 months according to his agent. Its too bad as I was really looking forward to watching Davids work his magic in the MLS (more so than David Beckham to be honest). Dallas coach Steve Morrow has dug himself a wee bit of a hole as he elevated expectations at the Dallas side considerably with his admission that he was close to a deal for the Dutch star. With the Beckham announcement it has become increasingly difficult to deal with player agents who have higher expectations in terms of salary demands. Dallas are now said to be looking toward South America.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Toronto FC TV News.

Beckham Reality TV

Hollywood Stars buying Galaxy tickets. Looks like Drew Carry is getting some company at Galaxy games. Hey come to think of it isn't Toronto native Mike Myers a soccer supporter ?


Toronto FC trade a draft choice to the New York Red Bulls in exchange for the rights to Abbe Ibrahim a 20 year old Togo native and favourite of Mo from two seasons ago at the Metrostars.


Former Toronto Lynx player Niki Budalic has been invited to Pre-season training camp.


Former Vancouver Whitecaps Mike Toshack has been hired by the Houston Dynamo to be their goalkeeper coach. Toschack has been involved with the Canadian National team program in the past.

Nigel Marples, Riley O'Neill, and Brampton native Claudio Dias taken in the USL Draft by Canadian USL teams.

Defending USL Champions Vancouver Whitecaps continue plans toward building a Soccer Specific Stadium prior to 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Geordie Lyall has signed on to play in England.

Canadian International Richard Hastings looks like he will stay in Scotland.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Interesting read about MLS player Jack Stewart of Real Salt Lake and his journey playing for the Canadian National team and finally some basic coverage of the men's national team camp .

It is truly incredible that until this article there has been next to no coverage on the Canadian Men's National team camp in Florida. How can the powers at be in Canadian soccer expect people to take Canadian Soccer seriously with limited coverage of the Men's Senior National Team? At a minimum the CSA should take advantage of their website to keep fans posted and up to date. If we can't afford to dedicate any media or communications people, have one of the players or coaches provide daily reports. Anything, anything at all is better than the silence and half ass media releases we are now all accustomed to.

The World Youth Championships can be a tremendous opportunity to raise the game to even higher levels of popularity in this country. Unfortunately, in Toronto we have had very little discussion and information surrounding this important world event. Sure with World Cup fever last year and the 500,000 dancing Canadians of Italian ancestry in downtown Toronto, together with the buzz about Toronto FC have made it difficult to get the message out, it is still no excuse for a lack of exposure for such an important event. To boot I understand that the Toronto organizing committee is in total disarray and that Toronto is well behind the other host cities in terms of ticket sales and preparations. To top things off the controversy over the CNE Grounds being doubled booked in July with the FIFA World Youth U20 Soccer Championship matches and the Toronto Indy Car Race, has not been resolved (and doesn't look to be at this point).

Pathetic and desperate attempts recently to get the word out about this tournament through a flurry of media interviews have gone unnoticed for the most part. This is actually a good thing, as the spokesperson involved, well intentioned he may be, is making a fool of himself. Of course the last ditch attempt to sell soccer in this market is to focus almost entirely on the hundreds of thousands of Toronto residents connected to qualified countries such as - Portugal, Korea, and Poland to sell tickets. In other words the Toronto organizers are pushing to ensure South Korea are based in the GTA along with Portugal. So don't expect to catch Canada play much in our "National Soccer Stadium" come July. In addition, the non qualification of the Italy has devastated the local organizers.

Sadly without a voice in the media willing to address real issues and expose the obvious inadequacies found within the highest levels of Canadian soccer, change (hopefully positive change) will be very slow in coming. It is apparent what ever so called soccer media we have in this country are concerned with providing fluff pieces, careful not to upset any of the associations, and power brokers in charge of the sport. A few short months before what has the potential to one of the most important soccer events in the history of our country (FIFA u-20's + FIFA Congress), Canada has an association without a CEO, Technical Director, or Mens National Team Coach.

As I was told once by a high ranking official involved in Canadian soccer, too much media coverage is not necessarily the best thing for those running the sport in this country. Accountability is something none of the top officials were ever very interested in, especially those collecting the very generous pay cheques, travel, and other perks. Lets hope this legacy of poor media coverage too, goes flying out the window with the cronies being cleaned out of Canadian soccer recently.

Those in the Canadian soccer media that frequent this blog, you have a duty to ask the difficult questions, expose those that need to be exposed and get the ball rolling on positive change in Canadian Soccer. We the long suffering Canadian soccer fans demand and deserve more. Ask the tough questions it is your duty to your readers, and your chance to leave a legacy to our much loved sport.


Dwayne De Rosario has been offered a new contract including a substantial raise by the Houston Dynamo. MLS has a tendency to undervalue some of their top players, and then quickly turn around and award players like Tony Sanneh or Clint Mathis lucrative deals simply because of their reputation and past glory, and others for anticpated glory Eddie Johnson and Josh Wolff who rarely have put up the numbers and more importantly helped their teams to any level of success that would justify their pay. De Rosario is a proven winner in this league and should be rewarded as such (MLS has done this to Taylor Twellman and Carlos Ruiz as well). If Houston are not ready to provide him with a top level salary, I suggest that they send the three time MLS Cup Champion home to Toronto where he will be taken care of and surely appreciated for the winner that he is.

While I have always rooted for and enjoyed watching Claudio Reyna play, I can't help but suspect that the often injured former US International captain may experience the same fate as another former New Jersey product Tab Ramos and finish his career at home in Giants Stadium in the MLS quietly spending more time in re-hab than being a productive member on the field. One thing is for sure, if the Metrostars/Red Bulls franchise had invested in players like a 20 something Claudio Reyna a few years ago, as it has on high profile, high priced coaches they may have actually won something since 1996 (Eddie Firmani, Carlos Quiroz, Carlos Alberto Perriera, Bora Milnutovitch). Reyna should be announced today at a press conference.

Very interesting interview with Chris Bosch of the Toronto Raptors stating he is a soccer fan. Rumour has it a a couple of Raptors have purchased TFC season tickets.

When I read stuff like this I usually think people are crazy, but when it comes from an MLS GM I really don't know what to think anymore. MLS teams have looked at Zidane apparently.,1,3935657.story?coll=cs-sports-print


The Soca Warriors lost in the final of the Digicel Caribbean Championship game last night against Haiti 2-1. Toronto FC Supplemental draft choice Darryl Roberts was apparently kept at bay by Haiti's defense. Interesting to see former Chicago Fire player Alexandre Boucicaut was one of the goal scorers for Haiti.


ESPN Soccernet will be conducting an online chat with Alecko Eskandarian - fans have an opportunity to send in him questions.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Colorado Rapids supplemental draft pick Canadian Riley O'Neill is currently on trial in Germany with St. Pauli - looks like he scored a couple to boot. There may also be interest in Denmark and Belgium for the former University of Kentucky striker.


Often rumored Toronto FC target, Canadian International Jaime Peters is quoted as saying he would like to stay in England.


Often rumored Toronto FC target Patrice Bernier of Montreal is by all accounts being shopped around Europe at the moment by his club team in Norway. The latest suggestions are that FC Koln in the German Second Division have been interested.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Excellent Breakdown of the Toronto FC roster together with salaries based on 2006 from the Red Patch Boys Supporters Group Fan site. While Jim Brennan's salary looks to be a tad on the high side in my opinion, the article is a thorough breakdown of the current situation. I would suggest Brennan has some sort of personal services arrangement with MLSE from the summer as a spokesman for the team - his true contract is probably in the $150,000 range.
Check it out its a great breakdown:

We should expect an announcement about the Toronto FC pre -season training camp schedule and competition this week. A stop in Carolina has already been confirmed for a tournament featuring the Charleston Battery (USL), Houston Dynamo, and New York Red Bulls.

Hopefully a player signing or two will be confirmed this week.

I cannot believe how many fans interested in Toronto FC do not know that MLS has been around since 1996. The folks over at TFC need to do some major work on educating their fan base now that they have one.

On commitment to the local soccer scene alone for the past 20 years I would have to think the folks over at Toronto FC will be smart enough to award Alf De Blasis the opportunity to be the voice of this franchise for their local broadcasting. He is passionate about the local game and has the background required to be a credible voice for this team. Be it television or radio, Alf has to be involved with TFC at some level in my opinion. If you missed it, Alf (who also speaks Italian fluently) called the Hockey Night in Canada game last week on Telelatino (TLN), the first ever NHL game - as far as I know anyway, in a language other than English or French in Canada.

Soccer Central on Sportsnet had a breakdown of season ticket sales for local Toronto Pro Sports teams yesterday showing Toronto FC third on the Toronto sports scene. TFC season tickets as of late last week were hovering around 10,200 a few hundred short of the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball and ahead of the Toronto Rock of MLL, the Argos of the CFL and the NBA's Toronto Raptors of the NBA.

Although I can't confirm it, there may be a Canadian involved in the MLS Draft(s) this year who may go on trial in Europe (perhaps Belgium) in the near future. I'll keep you posted when I hear more.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


It appears that Toronto FC Supplemental Draft pick Darryl Roberts from Trinidad has not yet committed to MLS. He is considering an offer from a Dutch side, most probably Roda JC. T&T national team coach Dutchman Wim Rijsbergen may be promoting T&T talent in his homeland in order to get his players playing in Europe.

More on Roberts.

Friday, January 19, 2007


As far as I can tell the first and only game related information concerning a Toronto FC player showcases Darryl Roberts. Roberts is currently playing for Trinidad & Tobago in the Digicel Cup. Roberts was selected yesterday in the MLS Supplemental Draft looks to be very active in the T&T squad.

Liberty University and Trinidad & Tobago International teammate Osei Telesford, who had claimed Toronto FC and the Kansas City Wizards were interested in his services, was also selected yesterday by the Chicago Fire.

Liberty U Release:
Pre: Tournament:,50601.html
Pre Tournament:,50525.html
Pre Tournament:,50420.html

Thursday, January 18, 2007


MLS drafts are always full of surprises. Today's Supplemental draft was no exception. Other than the selection of ASC player of the year London, Ontario product Tyler Hemming of Hartwick College, all other Toronto selections were well off the radar. Sir Mo Johnston focused on offence today with the selections of Forward Jarrod Smith of West Virginia now the second New Zealand footballer on the Toronto FC books, Trinidad native Darryl Roberts a forward from Liberty University, Hunter West from South Florida University and the aforementioned Hemming.

With the players added today Toronto FC has created a backlog of eligible Youth Internationals - Toronto is allowed 5 (considering these players make the final cut). There are currently 7 out of 20 players who would qualify as YI. Paulo Nagamura, Rod Dyachenko, Maurice Edu, Andrew Boyens are the others on board.

Interesting note Canadian Riley O'Neill was selected at #36 by Colorado, with Toronto picking at #40.


Informative interview with MLS Commissioner Don Garber. No new news to report. (click the Prime Time link at the top of the page and look for January 18th)


If your keeping track I have speculated on Densil Theobald of Trinidad (my suggestion), Jacek Bak of Poland (linked through Mo's New York days and theories floating on other blogs), Dwight Yorke of Trinidad (Mo's visit to Sunderland + GOL TV report), and now Martin Andresen (fits description). That said I do not have confirmation about any of these players.

While the David Beckham signing coupled with the talk about Ronaldo, Edgar Davids and even Robbie Fowler has created new levels of expectation from fans unfamiliar with MLS, I caution you as a long time follower of this league to be realistic in your expectations. Sir Mo has made it clear that the signing won't be a big name, and this league can be won without big name players on a roster.

History shows Canadians on an MLS roster however can help teams toward MLS Cup success - Alex Bunbury (KC Wizards), Geoff Aunger (DCU), Pat Onstad (San Jose/Houston), Dwayne De Rosario (San Jose/Houston), and Adrian Serioux (Houston) have all won MLS Cup.


Major League Soccer (MLS) is holding their annual Supplemental Draft today. One of Toronto FC's major areas of need at the moment is their lack of a suitable backup keeper. Chris Konopka of Providence in the NCAA is a highly touted prospect not taken last week. He is apparently reviewing offers for trials in Europe which may have hindered him with many MLS coaches last week at the draft. By all accounts he was very respectable at the combine.

Available Canadians not selected at the MLS Super Draft last week include: forward Riley O'Neill, defender Nigel Marples, and midfielder Tyler Hemming of Hartwick College.

To date, Toronto FC have 16 players on their roster, from all accounts most have signed contracts for 2007 with Edson Buddle signing just the other day. Sir Mo hopes to head into training camp with approximately 32 players. In addition to the aforementioned players, Toronto has officially invited Jamaal Smith a defender from York University, based on his performance at the local tryouts held in December. It was also rumored at the local tryouts that several players were asked informally to attend training camp, yet Smith would be showcased for marketing purposes to the media.

While it can be said that on paper, Sir Mo and his staff have compiled a good base of players for the coming season, success will very much depend on the depth at each position come summer. Depth is what usually hinders expansion teams and separates them from the established teams in any sports league.


* Former MLS player Ramiro Corrales (I always thought of Ramiro as an undervalued talent in the MLS) has made a move to SK Brann the runner up in Norway's top flight from smaller side Ham Kam. Corrales has established himself as a quality player in Norway football circles.

* Interesting that the Captain of SK Brann is also Captain of Norway's national team - Central Midfielder Martin Andresen. Before you get too excited (and I'm not saying this is the player TFC is looking at- just that he fits Sir Mo's description) consider that a transfer fee would be required for this player. Now if Corrales cost Brann $350,000 (not sure the currency being referenced here) how much would a player like Andresen command?

* Former Kansas City Wizard (played under coach Bob Gansler) and Jamaica National Team player Khari Stephenson has made an apparent $1 million transfer to AIK Stockholm in the Swedish top flight.

* Former highly touted NCAA player and Liberian International defender Chris Gbandi of FC Dallas is also looking to make a move to Scandanavia and will be on trial at IK start in Norway.

* The Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire have lost out on signing Brian McBride as he is apparently set to sign an extension at Fulham on Thursday.

* Columbus revealed they were interested in a striker Michael Chopra. (I stand corrected on this one - upon further reading I discovered that Chopra was a Crew target last year and that he signed a deal last summer to play for Cardiff)

* Alexi Lalas claimed in one of the local Los Angeles papers yesterday that the Galaxy are attempting to sign an international player with the allocation money they have acquired. As I reported earlier indications are Eddie Lewis may be returning home from Leeds United. Los Angeles Galaxy Head Coach Frank Yallop was interviewed today on the FAN 590 Sports Radio in Toronto. (scroll down and have a listen)
* If you missed it Grant Wahl at Sports Illustrated conducted a great interview with AEG head honcho Tim Liewike. The Galaxy are in fact changing colours, uniforms, and their logo - a more traditional look is in store. Black and Blue appear to be the colours they are leaning towards. 3 Major Sponsors are negotiating for the right to advertise on the jersey. It will be a strange to see the Galaxy without their Budweiser sponsorship logo on the back - a staple in MLS since its inception.

* Toronto FC Coach and "Director of Soccer Operations" Sir Mo Johnston also appeared on the FAN 590 on Tuesday. (scroll down the list to listen)

* Preki was named Chivas USA coach today. We have to assume that the delay was because Chivas made attempts to sign someone else . Strange that a league that covets and targets the Hispanic audience, has only one current head coach Fernando Clavijo in its coaching ranks of Hispanic descent. Funnier still, the team that was created to represent and highlight the US Hispanic community has never had a Hispanic head coach. That said Preki will do just fine - after all the last coach to takeover a team at this late stage of the "pre" - pre-season was Frank Yallop at San Jose.

* Sad to hear that former US National team keeper David Vanhole passed away this week. Vanhole had served as a goalkeeper coach for New England and various US National team programs recently.

*Aston Villa player Patrick Berger is being linked to a summer MLS move in this article. Looks like every agent in the world will be playing the "offer from America card".

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


If your keeping track I have speculated on Denzil Theobald of Trinidad (my suggestion), Jacek Bak of Poland (linked through Mo's New York days and theoires floating on other blogs), Dwight Yorke of Trinidad (Mo's visit to Sunderland + GOL TV report), and now Martin Andresen (fits description). That said I do not have confirmation about any of these players.

I can safely assume however that Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Del Piero, and Barry Fergusson are not coming anytime soon. I say this only because after reading through emails on this topic I've received, I realize that many readers are too optimistic in their expectations. While the David Beckham signing coupled with the talk about Ronaldo, Edgar Davids and even Robbie Fowler has created new levels of expectation from fans unfamiliar with MLS, I caution you as a long time follower of this league to be realistic in your expectations. Sir Mo has made it clear that the signing won't be a big name and this league can be won without big name players on a roster. Toronto FC will be the first MLS team to enter into the MLS without some sort of "high profile gimmick" player singing.

Of course history shows Canadians on an MLS roster is all that is required towards MLS Cup success - Alex Bunbury (KC Wizards), Geoff Aunger (DCU), Pat Onstad (San Jose/Houston), Dwayne De Rosario (San Jose/Houston), Adrian Serioux (Houston).


Will the Kansas City Wizards ever reveal where they are going to play their home games this year? The Wizards have played at Arrowhead Stadium since its inception in 1996, however with renovations beginning soon, the Wizards have been forced to look for a new temporary stadium. Unfortunately the Kansas City Area does not have many suitable alternatives on either side of the state line (Missouri or Kansas). While some discussion has surfaced that Arrowhead Stadium itself may be functional depending on where the actual renovations begin, the possibility of not returning is more likely. Kansas City's new ownership group has focused their search on high school and recreational facilities. Unlike many cities in the United States, the KC area does not have an abundance of university/college stadium alternatives with adequate seating.

When the Chicago Fire were placed in a similar situation several years ago they made a successful transition to a small college facility in Naperville, Illinois upgrading the seating capacity and turning the football stadium into a cozy home field. Any of the Kansas City facilities being discussed will require a major upgrade in order to reach a 10,000 seat. While not likely discussed one has to wonder if the ownership group have considered a temporary move to Wichita, Kansas (once home to a very successful MISL team) or even St. Louis .

So with many people accusing the MLS of not releasing their schedule in order sell season's ticket packages and capitalize on the Beckham news last week, a schedule is not possible until the Kansas City Wizards establish a home facility for the 2007 MLS season. One has to wonder what the reaction will of the world media & local media here in Toronto will be when they find out that Kansas City is playing out of a high school facility.

Monday, January 15, 2007

RUMOUR: Is Jacek Bak Toronto FC Bound???

This was brought to my attention earlier tonight. Sir Mo Johnston provided a similar hint about a captain of an international side when coaching the Metrostars/ Red Bulls last year, which led to the speculation in New York that he was looking at Jacek Bak of Poland. My only reservation about this rumour is that Sir Mo has specifically said the player he is looking at is a "midfielder". He did mention at the press conference today that the player was a great distributor ("passer") of the ball which by all accounts Bak is.

Sir Mo confirms Bak was the player he was after last eason in New York in the following interview:

Again Mo has said he was looking specifically for a midfield player and has stated several times Toronto FC will not sign an ageing mid-30's type. Also of interest is the list provided at the very end of the article includes Marc Bircham - is that Canadian Marc Bircham at Queens Park Rangers (QPR last time I checked anyway) he was referring to?


* The Chicago Fire have been clearing some of their higher salaries this off season (Tony Sanneh, Zach Thorton, Andy Herron, Nate Jaqua), leaving many with the idea that something big is in the works. A return of Brian Mcbride to his hometown has been mentioned, as has a move for Pavel Nedved from Juventus.

* DC United is apparently set to sign Luciano Emilio a Brazilian forward based in the Honduran League. Apparently DCU have shown interest in the past but did not secure his signing. The signing of Brazilain right back Ruy has apparently stalled.

* US International Frankie Hejduk was rumoured heading back to Germany to play for FC Koln a couple of weeks ago may be close to re-signing a contract with Columbus.

* There is talk that the LA Galaxy is looking to "rebrand" - change their logo & uniforms. Lets just hope MLS looks at simplicity for once in their uniform design. The best sellers on a world level are never very fancy (R.Madrid, ManU, Chelsea). Keep it simple.

* The LA Galaxy collected $250,000 in allocations on Friday leading some to suspect that they will be making another move or two. Eddie Lewis currently with Leeds United has been mentioned as a target. Lewis once of the San Jose Clash of MLS has roots in the LA Area. I wonder if Frank Yallop has any interest in bringing back former Beckham mates Jovan Kirovski (a former Galaxy player) or Terry Cooke both now playing with the Colorado Rapids, both played alongside Becks with the Manchester United youth teams.

* What will become of US International John O'Brien. Injuries have slowed his career but one would think the former Ajax player too good not to be on roster come April (perhaps an incentive based contract is what will be required).

* Throw Ecuadorian Augustin Delgado into the New York Red Bull rumour mill. New York was said to be making a play for the likes of Brazilian Ronaldo, however interest appears to be coming from the middle east and Seria A. Regardless of what Bruce Arena mentioned about the Ivan De La Pena possibility the Red Bull organization has shown interest in him. Whether it was for their Salzburg team under coaches Trappatoni / Mattaues or for New York is unknown, however it was confirmed by a Toronto native who has close ties to the Austrian league.

* The New York Bulls have gone Dutch with the move for Dave Van Den Bergh (who may not count as a SI because he is married to an American), and the apparent signing of Ronald Wattereus. One has to wonder why Bruce feels the need to bring in a over the hill keeper in a country full of promise at that position. Notable foreign keepers who have played in the MLS over the years Thomas Ravelli, Walter Zenga, Jorge Campos, and perhaps one of the biggest flops in MLS history Englishman Chris Woods. Hold on I missed Canadian Pat Onstad - one of the best keepers in MLS history.

* Manchester City's Claudio Reyna is also said to be close to heading home to play in New Jersey.

* I have been informed that Honduran Samuel Cabellero is apparently looking to come back to MLS. The former Seria A player who was with Chicago a couple of years ago, and was training in Colorado last spring, is currently in China. Cabellero like Paulo Wanchope is said to hold a US Green Card which makes him attractive as he would count as a domestic player. Who would be willing to pick Cabellero is unknown. Cabellero was once regarded as one of the top defenders in North & Central America.


Edson Buddle has signed a contract and Toronto FC announce 10000 season tickets sold as of Monday.


As reported here last week Toronto is sending Sutton, Braz, Pozniak, Brennan, and Reda to the Mens national team camp in Fort Lauderdale beginning today.

Jack Stewart of Real Salt Lake, Dwayne De Rosario of the Houston Dynamo, and Ante Jazic of the Los Angeles Galaxy are all scheduled to attend.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Several readers have sent emails asking about my opinion on the International Player Sir Mo mentioned on Friday. We should be realistic in our expectations as it will most likely come from a country in Central America, the Caribbean, Africa or perhaps Eastern Europe. Don't expect a player from a traditional soccer powerhouse .

Its Soca Time!!!!

When Sir Mo went to watch Sunderland in December I thought former Soca Warrior Dwight Yorke may have been one of the players he was interested in on the Sunderland roster. Yorke although on his last legs had a great World Cup and had previously looked for new experiences in the Australian A-League before heading back to England. A coaching career is most likely next for Yorke. The new Soca Warrior captain Densill Theobald however is a different story.
(note I've found his name spelled differently on a few different sites)

See if it is Theobald he has already played semi-professional soccer in Toronto. Moreover, he spent some time playing in the CPSL in 2001 with the Toronto Olympians prior to moving to Scotland. Theobald is currently looking for a club and it has been stated in the past that MLS have shown interest in him. On that note Bob Gansler has been one MLS coach that has signed Trinidadian players (Scott Sealy + and Gary Glasgow) in the past. Theobald who played in Germany last summer is interestingly enough the T&T player that marked none other than David Beckham in that fantastic showing during the World Cup. If indeed Theobald is the player Toronto FC is focused on he won't be overly expensive and would create a buzz in the large Caribbean community in our city.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


In December Toronto traded Nate Jaqua to the LA Galaxy for a partial allocation ($125,000). At the time I thought Sir Mo and Bob Gansler made off pretty well considering Jaqua had made everyone aware he wasn't going to report to Toronto after being selected in the expansion draft. At the time Toronto was compiling a load of allocation money. I was under the impression the allocation money would be used to bring in some proven talent - be it Canadians playing in Europe or solid international players. Yesterday Toronto trades back a partial allocation ($125,000) to the same LA Galaxy for the 10th overall pick in the MLS Superdraft - Andrew Boyens. So as the dust clears on these two trades it ends up that Nate Jaqua was traded for Andrew Boyens.

MLS allocations are prioritized so I'm not sure which allocation Toronto received for Jaqua, nor which one was traded back yesterday to the Galaxy, however even a minor allocation for a player that has declared he would not report to an American based team is somewhat confusing. how many MLS teams would have taken the chance on Boyens (who cited immigration restrictions as a reason) in rounds 1 or 2? The question is would Boyens have been available in round three?

MLS does have a tremendous track record developing NCAA players from New Zealand Ryan Nelson, Simon Elliot now at Fulham and to a lesser extent Duncan Oughton at Columbus have all done extremely well in the MLS. Boyens has been capped by his National Team and by most accounts is a tremendous prospect. Allocations however are extremely valuable and very scarce in MLS, using one on an unproven College player concerns me (not that Toronto has anything to trade with at this point of course).

Nate Jaqua's career may be the biggest benefactor of the David Beckham signing. As a target forward moreover, he can expect to be on the end of many Beckham crosses and set pieces. With the eyes of the world watching the Galaxy this coming summer, Nate Jaqua has a tremendous opportunity to be amongst the leading scorers in the league - which could mean a big payday for the son of a former American football star.

Although we fans now understand the need for a Jaqua style player in LA given Alexi & Frank knew Beckham was on his way, it was the general consensus back in December that the Galaxy overpaid in the trade with Toronto. With the trade made yesterday at the draft, I would suggest LA has turned the tables by collecting the partial allocation back from Toronto and getting Jaqua at the same time.

For now Alexi & Frank get the overall advantage on these two trades.


Another unpredictable MLS Super Draft. It didn't have as many trades as some previous versions. Unlike other NA professional leagues where scouting is much more organized and developed, MLS does not have the luxury of a Central Scouting System. Much of the leg work is conducted by the coaching staffs of each respective team. This leaves fans with very little concrete information of the vast NCAA ranks. What limited coverage exists is usually conducted by fans or internet junkies with limited resources.

NOTE: The Andrew Boyens pick came about because of immigration issues surrounding the status of his girlfriend in the United States. Boyens apparently told MLS he would not play for a US based team even though many teams rated him highly.

Toronto Media coverage has been great- the Beckham story is a top story in our country right now from all the sports networks, to talk radio, to many newspapers. It has heightend the exposure of the league and the draft coverage saw a positive spin off. The Edgar Davids rumour to Dallas was being reported over NHL stories on some radio stations. It kills me though listening to so called soccer experts putting MLS down. These guys have never watched a minute of MLS soccer yet feel they have the ability to comment on the quality of play.

Here is breakdown of some of the draft related stories from some of the major papers:

Friday, January 12, 2007


Sir Mo has revealed that Toronto is set to sign an International midfielder who is captain of his National Team. Let the Speculation Begin. Stay tuned.


Very interesting to see MLSE update their luxury suite sales at BMO yesterday. Only a few left.


Morning papers with their non-Beckham MLS Superdraft Coverage.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Well the rumours have been flying for so long about Becks - our small MLS world just got a little bigger today. I'm kinda of scared when people like Bob McCowan are positive on our sport for once. It strikes me today how much education MLSE still needs to do today to get people to truly understand what this league is all about.

- The Beckham signing makes the DC United Sale look like a Dollar Store Bargain

- Toronto FC claim the Galaxy will be in Toronto after Beckham arrives

- Quite the incentive for potential owners to want to jump on the bandwagon now I would guess.
- I would think the Canadian television rights fees just went up.

- LA Galaxy Head Coach Frank Yallop on Canadian TV Sportsnet Network just revealed he is extremely excited, and anticipates he will be under the careful eye of tremendous amount of media from around the world. Frank's response - "first thing I'm doing is getting my teeth fixed."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Pondering Friday.


OPTION 1 - US Under 20 Chris Seitz of Maryland is my personal pick for first overall. This however is contingent on Seitz being designated a YI . If the US qualify for the World Youth Championships Seitz will be away for a long stretch between training camp and the tournament. Toronto would therefore require a Canadian MLS caliber backup in the event Sutton gets hurt (he spent part of the 2006 USL campaign injured btw) - and this won't be easy to find. The only available domestic based Canadian keeper that has had some success at the USL level is Theo Zagar formerly of the Toronto Lynx. I doubt any of the foreign based keepers will make the journey back. BTW, Carmine Issaco the TFC goalkeeper coach is a Maryland alum.

OPTION 2 - US Under 20 Maurice Edu again another Maryland product. Like Seitz I am under the assumption that he will count as a YI in Toronto as I can't see Toronto using a SI or USA SI on unproven players.

OPTION 3 - A local product Jeffrey Gonsalves would be great from a local Public Relations stand point. Gonsalves however is not a # 1 overall pick type of player in my opinion so a trade down may be in the cards if they go this route.

OPTION 4 - Mo likes to wheel and deal and was involved in the trade for the first overall selection last year. Mo has stated he would like to have two picks in the first round. He has also gone on record stating the decision about the first pick was made a couple of months ago. However with local media coverage bound to be pretty high, and the Score Network covering the first round live nationally I'm thinking Toronto would like to keep the top pick or minimum come out of the first round with newsworthy additions to the team. If they out right trade the # 1 pick, the compensation will have to be pretty darn good. Lets not forget other than McBride and Adu who were taken under special circumstances at # 1 overall, and Eskandarian, the first pick overall has been unlucky for most teams.

Some theoretical trade scenarios:

Mo trading the first overall pick to old buddy Alexi for the two Galaxy first round picks (Mo also covets Ante Jazic and Nathan Sturgis from LA although the later is very unlikely to be moving anywhere anytime soon).

Even though I've admired Ritche Kotschau over the years I'm not convinced Mo intends to keep him here. Sir Mo has made little reference to Kotschau since selecting him in November and more importantly he is the third and final US International designated player allowed on the current roster. If TFC can free up the Kotschau USA SI spot they can use it on Ronnie O'Brien who has a Green Card which will free up another SI spot. U-25 Americans are attractive to TFC as they can be designated as YI (3 YI Spots are open at the moment). We know Sigi likes Ritchie so a move back to Columbus may be possible.

I would be heart broken if Jose Cancela leaves as I feel he will prove his worth in this league with consistent playing time. Mo has mentioned that Jose will play for TFC yet has also suggested that teams have made inquires regarding his availability. I can see Colorado making a play for him - but for what or who?

Rod Dyachenko has one year remaining as a YI and Mo has gone on record stating that DC wanted him back after the expansion draft. While Mo may appreciate Dyachenko, my take is that Mo looks at him simply as a valued commodity. A commodity that may be able to pry a late first round draft pick or be packaged in a trade. I have a hunch he ends up back in DC or in New Jersey with the Red Bulls.

ROUND 2: Traded Pick to Dallas in Ronnie O'Brien trade

ROUND 3: If I am overestimating the value of Jeff Gonsalves (especially as he did not take part in the combine) and he is still available, he has to be taken here. My gut says Riley O'Neill will be selected in this slot though.

ROUND 4: Riley O'Neill if Gonsalves sticks around to round 3, or Tyler Hemming from Hartwick College.

*** From the various combine reports I'm thinking Richard Asante and Nigel Marples may be better suited for the Supplemental Draft.


Atlantic Soccer Conference Player fo the Year and London, Ontario native Tyler Hemming of Hartwick College will be eligible for the MLS Draft on Friday. Tyler joins Richard Asante, Jeffrey Gonsalves, Nigel Marples, and Riley O'Neill as eligible Canadians in the MLS Superdraft player pool.


It was just announced the Score will televise the first round of the MLS Superdraft Live from Indianapolis starting @ 11:45 on Friday.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

NEWS: Canadian National Team Camp to be held in Florida

The North American based Canadian National Team players will come together next week in Florida for an 11 day training camp. This is an excellent opportunity for the Toronto FC players to begin training and perhaps an opportunity for Sir Mo to observe how his TFC players stack up with some of the USL and MLS based players that may attend. For players like Jim Brennan who has been out of action for a prolonged period it will be a much needed return to top level training.

Am I the only one who thought that the Stephen Hart era had ended with the Jamaica series? With all due respect to Mr. Hart, some players (including Dwayne De Rosario) have spoken against him becoming national team head coach because of a lack of experience. I am hoping the CSA will be bold in their selection of a new National coach as it is critical to the future of the program in my estimation.


SPECULATION: Trinidadian linked to Toronto FC

Must say I've never heard of Trinidad & Tobago native Osei Telesford, yet according to the following article Toronto FC and the KC Wizards apparently have. Perhaps a jewel floating under the radar in the NCAA ranks that may be a late pickup in the 2007 Major League Soccer Superdraft on Friday.,50420.html

Sunday, January 7, 2007

NEWS: Local Combine News

Dean Mcnulty at the Toronto Sun comes through today with a more accurate account of the goings on in S. Florida at the MLS Combine vs. his article on Saturday.

Saturday, January 6, 2007


Often rumored sale of DC United is a go.
Lets hope that the team is sold for good this time.

Red Bull player Steve Jolley announces retirement:

Often rumored Red Bull target Ronald Watterus is on his way.

Chivas USA coaching search down to 3


The first bit of combine news coming from the Toronto Sun newspaper this morning was a little misleading. Moreover, according to Buzz Carrick at 3rd degree who is attending the Combine, Gonsalves did not play yesterday and may be recovering from a bout with Mono. MLS did not even place Gonsalves on the final combine team rosters earlier in the week which contradicts the article.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Lacrosse Team at BMO??

A lacrosse team at BMO Field is perhaps not too far off. Most soccer specific stadiums in the USA have lured a field lacrosse team to their venues already. I have no idea about when it would start or how many games are played, however it has apparently already been explored by different groups interested in bringing a team to Toronto.


While acknowledging the problem it looks like Ipswich don't seem to be too worried about it at the moment.,,10272~960287,00.html
Jaime Peters is one heck of a young talent. While I hope things work out for him in England if MLS is in his future MLS fans will be in for a treat. That said Frank Yallop is a huge fan of Peters (he would be a YI) so don't think for a second that Peters would come to Toronto without LA giving Sir Mo a fight.


I've recieved many emails asking about TFC Message Boards & Fourms with some readers making reference to the lack of posts on the Big Soccer Boards - does this show a lack of interest some are asking. I would suggest that most TFC Fans have been posting to the message boards of their respective supporters groups.

The two best imo are the two major supporters groups - both are run by good people working very hard at promoting this thing of ours - you find TFC Staff frequent these two sites quite a bit. Both boards are very high quality:

The Red patch Boys - probably the most active

The USector - the original discussion board

Less active:

Go Toronto FC:

& finally

Ontario Soccer:

Discuss away lads & ladies!!!

Thursday, January 4, 2007


Houston Dynamo Dwayne De Rosario announced on the Soccer Show tonight that he is entertaining offers from European teams and will know his MLS future in about a week. Describes chances of staying in MLS "a toss up". - scroll down to Jan.4th Soccer Show & listen.



Soccer in North America took a big hit in 2006 losing so many important names: Sir Lamar Hunt, Sir Doug Hamilton, Sir Glynn Myernick, Sir Ahmet Ertegun, and on a local level here in Toronto former Leaf and Raptor owner Sir Steve Stavros who was a long time soccer backer and huge soccer fan. The name that sticks out most on a personal level however was Patrick "Ace" Ntsoelengoe. I remember my first NASL game at CNE Stadium - Toronto Blizzard vs. Chicago Sting - I was 4 years old went home and kicked the ball around in my back yard pretending to be "Ace". While I understand the bottom line especially for coaches is based on winning, I can only hope TFC also undertands that it has an important duty to build a solid foundation that can only be created with the personalities and magical players it presents its customers. Lets hope moreover Toronto FC strives to bring Toronto soccer fans another "Ace" in the coming years.


I was surprised to wake up and find this article in the main section of the Toronto Star on Sunday. If you haven't had an opportunity to read this yet, better late than never I would suggest.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007


No word as to why. More to come.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007


Some names to consider as we get closer to the MLS SUPER DRAFT:

Jeffrey Gonsalves - MF (Markham, Ontario)

Richard Asante - MF (North York, Ontario)

Tyler Rosenlund - FW (Port Coquitlam, BC - Possible Generation Adidas)

Sinisa Ubiparipovic - FW (Mentor, Ohio - would take a YI spot)

Chris Seitz - GK (San Luis Obispo, California - highly rated US U20)

Riley O'Neill - FW (Campbell River, BC)

Nigel Marples - DF (Delta, BC)

David Guzman - MF (Toronto - will he go pro???)


As we eagerly await news from the transfer wires here are some names that have been thrown around -

Eastern Conference:

New England Revs -
Clint Dempsey - awaiting work permit to Fulham ($2.9 million)
Sharlie Joseph - Celtic had shown interest in the summer; name has been thrown around quite a bit
Avery John - QPR has apparently made an approach

DC United:
Ruy - Botofogo right back/mf reportedly heading stateside
Martin Palermo - famous forward was mentioned as a potential signing and then basically dismissed by Washington Post
Bruno Marioni - has signed a deal in Argentina

Luis Figo - Saudi Arabia or staying in Italy according to most recent reports
Paulo Wanchope - heading to FC Tokyo
Ronaldo - ????
Ivan De La Pena - ???

Toronto FC:
Robbie Elliot - has left Sunderland and signed on at struggling Leeds on loan
Steven Pressley - has signed on at Celtic

Western Conference:

Jared Borgetti - has signed at Cruz Azul
Paulo Wanchope - has signed on at FC Tokyo

LA Galaxy:
David Beckham- ???

Bruno Marioni - has signed a deal in Argentina

Stay tuned...

Monday, January 1, 2007


I feel for all the American readers out there who are feeling down about losing out an an incredible talent like Giuseppe Rossi to Italy but it could be much worse. I mean think about what my peoples have too go through with this list:

Owen Hargreaves (the most famous person to come from Calgary since Brett "the Hitman" Hart and arguably the best player for England at the World Cup)

Daniel Fernandes

John Van't Schip (Going back some years with this one)

and another on the verge:

Jonathan De Guzman (hasn't committed to either country yet)