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  • Long Balls: Canadian footballers who don't normally play, do


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    For all the whinging Long Balls does over the fact that he's "always working," a quick comparison of his slow-paced lifestyle against the endless parade of matches, friendlies and international tournaments a Canadian footballer participates in makes him realize.... Well, at the very least it makes him realize that soccer players endure a much longer season than most North American athletes do.

    Here we are in the dog days of summer and the European football calendar is quietly creaking back to life. Read a rough overview of who's doing what after the jump as Long Balls clings to its patchy summer posting schedule.

    [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]

    Mike Klukowski has begun linking up with Josh Simpson at Manisaspor in Turkey. He never left Turkey of course, he simply switched over from Ankarag├╝c├╝ after they stopped paying him. While the plan in the eyes of Canadian supporters is for Kluker and Simpson to form a devastating partnership down the left side with their club and then seamlessly transfer that chemistry into the Canadian team, they didn't get a chance to develop anything beyond how to critique each other's finer points from the subs bench last weekend, as Klukowski played the first half, and Simpson the second, in a 2-0 victory over the interestingly named Austrian side, Wacker Innsbruck.

    Striker Marcus Haber has returned from a season-ruining knee injury, starting for Scottish side St. Johnstone as they beat Irish club UCD by four goals to one last weekend. He played again on Wednesday, 90 minutes this time, in a 2-0 victory over Dundee FC, which also apparently included some patrol duty out on the flank.

    Anyone following Long Balls through the spring will be well aware of the increasingly depressing tone this column struck in regards to both Jaime Peters and David Edgar, two young Canadian defenders wallowing on the substitute benches with their respective Championship sides. They both managed to see on-field action this week in club friendlies, Edgar getting 71 minutes for Burnley against Bury, while Peters played the first half for Ipswich against second division side FC Eindhoven (not the other bigger and better one). Whether or not these run outs are a sign of anything more than preseason play-tinkering remains to be seen, but the fact Peters subsequently returned to his usual perch on the sidelines for matches against Kazakh club FC Aktobe and Dutch club Den Bosch doesn't bode particularly well.

    Even Haidar Al-Shaibani saw the field this week, and astute followers of the French second division will immediately recognize that as a startling event, considering he logged all of two appearances for 177 minutes last season. The Canadian keeper backstopped Nimes in a 2-1 friendly loss to AS Cannes. Again, Canadian followers probably shouldn't read too much into this, and by "too much" I mean Al-Shaibani playing much more than he did last year.

    Many thanks again to the wonderful original research done by Canadian fans on the Voyageurs forum.



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