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Found 5 results

  1. The Ottawa Fury appear to have lost the game of chicken that they were playing against CONCACAF and the CSA. Yesterday, the club announced that they would not be allowed to play in the US-based USL for 2019. This is despite receiving a tepid approval from the CSA in September, when they refused to become founding members of the CanPL. This leaves the Fury in a difficult position just four months out from the start of the season. However, according to multiple people working inside the game, they shouldn’t be surprised. “They knew this was possible,” one source said. “Yet, they went ahead anyway and now they are crying about being discriminated.” Another person went even further, suggesting that the Fury might have “half wanted (to be denied sanctioning).” The suggestion being that OSEG doesn’t really want to be involved in soccer anymore, but didn’t want to be the bad guy in fans’ eyes, least it hurt them with RedBlacks’ ticket sales. What happened yesterday was predicted by many. In a Sept 6 article on CSN I quoted a source suggesting that this was a distinct possibility. “Who is going to sanction them,” they said at the time “They may get a ‘pity’ sanction for 2019, but beyond that?” Another person speculated that the CSA would be reluctant to directly challenge the Fury, but would work behind closed doors to challenge the legitimacy of the club playing in a US-based league. “They won’t say anything publicly, but they are hoping CONCACAF steps in,” they said at the time. We don’t know if CONCACAF is acting on behalf of the CSA, but CONCACAF did in fact step in. The question now is what happens next. Most still believe a temporary sanctioning for 2019 will come through, but only with the understanding that this will be the final year it is permitted. Will the Fury continue with that understanding? For the sake of the fans, let’s hope so. But, relations between the CanPL and the Fury weren’t great already and, although there is no direct link between the CanPL and CONCACAF denying sanctioning, yesterday didn’t help the relationship improve. Beyond the Fury, yesterday’s decision could have a trickle down impact on Canadian soccer. If CONCACAF is to enforce the policy evenly, you would have to think that USL-2 teams (formerly PDL) will be the next to be targeted. The rule being referenced in the Fury’s case states that no team is allowed to play in a league outside its country if a league of the same standard is available in their country. Clearly, CONCACAF has concluded that CanPL is equal to USL. But, is League1 Ontario and the PLSQ the same as USL2? It’s long been the desire of the CSA to stop teams at the D3 level from playing out of country in the hope that the provinces would step up and start D3 leagues. So far only two have, which has allowed several D3 teams to ignore that desire and play in the US. With the CanPL buying L1O, there is speculation that the plan is to bring that model to all parts of the country. When that happens, you would expect that the existing D3 teams be asked to return to Canada. Anyone operating a D3 team now would be wise to plan ahead with this in mind. Which brings us to the MLS teams. Many fans will not accept the rational that they should be exempt from this. In the interest of “fairness” it will be argued that they too should be forced to join CanPL. It won’t happen, but it will create some bad optics for the CSA. The reason it won’t happen now is because it’s clear that forcing TFC, IMFC and VWFC out of MLS would be negative for player development and soccer culture in the country. That would be counter to the entire purpose of creating the CanPL. Although many USL fans strongly disagree, that league is not viewed as having a net benefit to the country and thus is fair game here. Will this eventually change? Is there a scenario where the three MLS teams are required to enter the CanPL. Yes. And possibly sooner than most believe. (That is if one or more of the Canadian MLS teams isn’t part of a bigger league by then – a league that is launched as part of the United 2026 bid and is designed to disrupt the established order of world football. But, that’s a topic for another day).
  2. The Ottawa Fury appear to have lost the game of chicken that they were playing against CONCACAF and the CSA. Yesterday, the club announced that they would not be allowed to play in the US-based USL for 2019. This is despite receiving a tepid approval from the CSA in September, when they refused to become founding members of the CanPL. This leaves the Fury in a difficult position just four months out from the start of the season. However, according to multiple people working inside the game, they shouldn’t be surprised. “They knew this was possible,” one source said. “Yet, they went ahead anyway and now they are crying about being discriminated.” Another person went even further, suggesting that the Fury might have “half wanted (to be denied sanctioning).” The suggestion being that OSEG doesn’t really want to be involved in soccer anymore, but didn’t want to be the bad guy in fans’ eyes, least it hurt them with RedBlacks’ ticket sales. What happened yesterday was predicted by many. In a Sept 6 article on CSN I quoted a source suggesting that this was a distinct possibility. “Who is going to sanction them,” they said at the time “They may get a ‘pity’ sanction for 2019, but beyond that?” Another person speculated that the CSA would be reluctant to directly challenge the Fury, but would work behind closed doors to challenge the legitimacy of the club playing in a US-based league. “They won’t say anything publicly, but they are hoping CONCACAF steps in,” they said at the time. We don’t know if CONCACAF is acting on behalf of the CSA, but CONCACAF did in fact step in. The question now is what happens next. Most still believe a temporary sanctioning for 2019 will come through, but only with the understanding that this will be the final year it is permitted. Will the Fury continue with that understanding? For the sake of the fans, let’s hope so. But, relations between the CanPL and the Fury weren’t great already and, although there is no direct link between the CanPL and CONCACAF denying sanctioning, yesterday didn’t help the relationship improve. Beyond the Fury, yesterday’s decision could have a trickle down impact on Canadian soccer. If CONCACAF is to enforce the policy evenly, you would have to think that USL-2 teams (formerly PDL) will be the next to be targeted. The rule being referenced in the Fury’s case states that no team is allowed to play in a league outside its country if a league of the same standard is available in their country. Clearly, CONCACAF has concluded that CanPL is equal to USL. But, is League1 Ontario and the PLSQ the same as USL2? It’s long been the desire of the CSA to stop teams at the D3 level from playing out of country in the hope that the provinces would step up and start D3 leagues. So far only two have, which has allowed several D3 teams to ignore that desire and play in the US. With the CanPL buying L1O, there is speculation that the plan is to bring that model to all parts of the country. When that happens, you would expect that the existing D3 teams be asked to return to Canada. Anyone operating a D3 team now would be wise to plan ahead with this in mind. Which brings us to the MLS teams. Many fans will not accept the rational that they should be exempt from this. In the interest of “fairness” it will be argued that they too should be forced to join CanPL. It won’t happen, but it will create some bad optics for the CSA. The reason it won’t happen now is because it’s clear that forcing TFC, IMFC and VWFC out of MLS would be negative for player development and soccer culture in the country. That would be counter to the entire purpose of creating the CanPL. Although many USL fans strongly disagree, that league is not viewed as having a net benefit to the country and thus is fair game here. Will this eventually change? Is there a scenario where the three MLS teams are required to enter the CanPL. Yes. And possibly sooner than most believe. (That is if one or more of the Canadian MLS teams isn’t part of a bigger league by then – a league that is launched as part of the United 2026 bid and is designed to disrupt the established order of world football. But, that’s a topic for another day). View full record
  3. Now 21-years-old, Cain is about to enter his senior season with the Wright State Raiders this fall. A Canadian youth international, Cain first headed to the University of Northwestern Ohio, where he led the team in scoring in his Freshman year with ten goals. He then made the cross state transfer to the Wright State University in Dayton where he added a further two goals in 19 games of his second year and two in 21 games this season just past. Although the college route isn't for everyone who graduates from the 'Caps Residency, opportunities were few and far between just three years ago, but Cain has loved his time in the college game. "It's a lot different in America than it is in Canada," Cain told us. "It's a great experience. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I've learned a lot living there and I've grown up a lot too. It's a different game and it makes me adjust. It's good." As we said, Cain will be going for PDL Championship glory this Sunday when his K-W United side face New York Red Bulls U23s at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Washington. After a strong season, the striker can't wait for a chance to lift the trophy. "It's great," Cain told us. "It's a great feeling. I haven't been in a big final since I played with the Whitecaps and that was years ago. So it's going to be great." K-W United got to the Championship game after a dramatic last-second win over Seattle Sounders U23s on Friday night. Cain came on as a second half sub in that game, but with most of those watching expecting the match to head into extra time, the striker watched German midfielder Julian Buescher win it late with his free kick. "Julian's great on the ball on set plays," Cain said. "I was hoping it was going to go in, but I didn't know. Before the free kick, I thought it was going to go to extra-time but we pulled it together, riled up the gang and got it in." This is Cain's second season with K-W United, but it's not his first experience of PDL play and he played for Whitecaps U23s in the league in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. And the reason he's currently at K-W in the first place is due to another Vancouver connection, his former Residency coach Stuart Neely. "My first year I came here because Stuart was coaching," Cain told us. "I got in contact with him and he told me to come. It's a great team. We had a great season last year but fell a bit short. This year, once again we're strong again and this time we feel like we're going to do it." After that Cain will be heading back to Wright State for his final year, where he is studying Media Relations. And after that? "My focus is to become a professional," Cain told us. "I'm really determined. I really think I can make either a USL team or a MLS team. My goal after college is to go on some trials with some clubs and see what I can do." With the Whitecaps not keeping homegrown rights on Cain, he will be free to be picked up by any club side now, but he's also looking at overseas as an option. So does he have access to an European passport that opens doors for so many players here? "Unfortunately I don't," Cain said. "I just have a Canadian passport, but because I'm half Jamaican, I'm working on getting a Jamaican passport to try and get over. It'll be easier with that in England." We wish Wesley (and Adam) all the very best in today's big PDL Championship game with New York Red Bulls and don't forget you can follow his college progress, and that of all the other 'Caps Residency alumni, in our regular "Caps In College' feature come the fall.
  4. It was no more than K-W deserved, after coming closing on numerous occasions during the match, hitting the woodwork three times and causing numerous goalmouth scrambles. Leading scorer Ben Polk had a shot cleared off the goalline in the 18th minute. The rebound fell to Oyvind Alseth on the edge of the box but his shot cannoned off the crossbar. When Sergio Camargo hit the left post with a rasping shot in the 32nd minute, you wondered if it wasn't going to be the Canadian's day. Even more so when Polk hit the crossbar again six minutes into the second half. Seattle also had their chances, in an entertaining and fast-paced game that was swinging end to end, with Joseph Gjertsen coming within inches of giving the host the lead five minutes in and Guillermo Delgado doing everything right to create a chance out of nothing a minute before the break, but lobbing hit final effort just over. The Sounders were looking lively in the closing stages after bringing on sub Derek Johnson, with Whitecaps Residency alumni Wesley Cain causing Seattle problems with his pace up front for K-W, before Buescher grabbed the late winner. "We had the better chances but Seattle were a very, very good team," Pozniak felt. "Very organised and very quick on transitions, so it was always a little bit dangerous. But in the end, a little bit of quality and we scored a great goal." So when Buescher lined up that game winning free-kick, what was going through Pozniak's mind? Was he already planning his tactics for extra time? "No, no," Pozniak told us. "Actually I've seen Julian bang those in during training all the time, so I had a feeling it was going in." The K-W head coaching position is Pozniak's first stint in management at the senior level and what a start to his managerial career. Pozniak retired at the end of 2012, having played club football in five countries and being capped for Canada internationally. The defender played in MLS with Toronto FC in their inaugural season and also had a stint with Chivas USA in 2008. Many AFTN readers will also be familiar with Pozniak for the three seasons he spent with the Whitecaps from the 2008 USL Championship winning side up to 2010. To reach the Championship game in his first season in management means as much to him as it does the players, but he puts a lot of the success down to the earlier work done by another ex-Whitecap, former PDL coach Stuart Neely. "It's fantastic," Pozniak enthused. "I couldn't have asked for a better start to coaching at this level. I've had great support and we've also recruited some fantastic players, which made it easy for me. "We had great groundwork from the year before from Stuart Neely, my predecessor. So the returning players, who are our captains, Sergio Camargo and Nate Ingham, set the tone already. So it made my job easier the first couple of weeks and ever since then it's gone uphill." But the job is only halfway done and K-W United will now face New York Red Bulls U23s in Sunday's PDL Championship game. The Red Bulls had a dramatic late semi-final win of their own at Starfire Stadium. Having taken an early lead, then wasting several chances to kill the game off, New York let Florida side Ocala Stampede tie things up late in the first half. The second half then became an edgy affair, with no further goals to break the deadlock. With penalties looming, Ocala's Anthony Arico was sent off for a lunging challenge in the New York box and the Stampede were punished when Joe Farrell hit a stunning looping effort into the next with six minutes of extra time remaining. It'll be a tough game, but a very winnable one and K-W United are top seeds for this Final Four. New York won the Mid Atlantic Division and then the Eastern Conference Championship and have a number of returning players and from their successful academy. How much does Pozniak know about them and did he get an opportunity to watch any of their semi-final? "I got the chance to watch their first half," Pozniak told us. "We were warming up so we didn't see the second half (or extra time) but we've got a pretty good idea of how they play and what they're about." The PDL Championship game kicks off at Starfire at 2pm on Sunday afternoon, with admission only $10. If you're staying down in the area after the 'Caps game at the Clink tonight, then get yourself along and cheer on the Canadians to lift the trophy. Good luck to K-W United. And we'll leave you with some photos from Friday's semi-final win.
  5. But football-wise, they've got better season upon season, making the Central Conference semi-finals in 2014 under former Whitecaps Residency head coach Stuart Neely. With Neely moving back to coaching with Toronto at the start of this year, another former Whitecap took the reigns, in the shape of defender, and former Canadian international, Chris Pozniak, who played for the 'Caps from 2008 to 2010 in the old USL days. Pozniak guided K-W to a second place finish in the Great Lakes Division, losing just two games all season and finishing just a point behind the defending PDL champions, the Michigan Bucks. That set-up an all-Canadian Central Conference quarter-final showdown with Forest City London, which they won 2-0. Heartland Division champions Des Moines Menace were next up in the semi-finals and were dispatched 3-2. K-W United were now one game away from their first-ever Central Conference Championship and the Final Four and they got there with a 3-1 over Michigan Bucks and with a Whitecaps hand in each of their goals. Polakiewicz set up Ken Krolicki's 9th minute opener, before adding a second himself five minutes later. Cain made it 3-0 in the 55th minute, sending the Ontario side on their travels to Washington this weekend. Both Cain and Polakiewicz graduated from the Whitecaps Residency program after the 2011/12 USSDA season and were part of the 'Caps U18 side that agonisingly lost out on the 2012 Championship game to an 82nd minute goal in a 3-2 defeat to FC Dallas. After graduating, Cain went the NCAA route and has just finished his Junior season with Wright State University Raiders. Lead the team in scoring in his Freshman year with ten goals, adding a further two in 19 games of his second year and two in 21 games this season just past. He will enter his final Senior season this fall. This is the second season with K-W United for the Guelph native, as he looks to keep up to match shape for the NCAA season ahead. Cain made 12 appearances for K-W last season in regular play, grabbing one goal and one assist. This year he's made 17 appearances, grabbing that one crucial goal last Saturday. Polakiewicz graduated from the Residency after the Championship game and played some PDL for the ‘Caps. He initially moved to Poland and joined top division side Slask Wroclaw, but soon returned to Canada to play PDL with K-W United in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. He’s with the club again this season and has made 11 appearances with two goals and assist. Another BC connection on the K-W side is defender Quante Abbott-Hill Smith, who played with the SFU Clan and was on the first preseason camp roster with WFC2 back in February. If K-W United are going to make history then they're going to have to do it the hard way, facing off against Seattle Sounders U23s on Friday night at 8pm. If they can get through that, they will face the winner of NYRB and Ocala Stampede on Sunday afternoon at 2pm. Tickets are still available, cost $10 for each day, and can be bought HERE. AFTN will be there, so get along if you can and lend some Canadian cheers to the guys.
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