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  • Long Balls: Which Canadians abroad could use a "reset"



    It's been starry days for Canada's footballers abroad of late, what with all this promotion to the Premier League and that Bundes League. So starry that Long Balls feels a little like one of those crazy Australian teenagers from the Internet, "planking" on police vehicles and garden gnomes. Sure, there's fleeting moments of YouTube fame and euphoria, but everyone knows those core body muscles will soon give out and they will be right back in the middle of their humdrum existence.

    That's right. Fleeting highs must be balanced with the normal lows, especially in the world of Canadian soccer. This week we examine the fortunes of several Canucks abroad who require a change of scenery next season to "kickstart" or "restart" or I suppose just plain old "start" their careers in Europe.


    Jaime Peters, David Edgar and Iain Hume. Of the Championship trio, at least Hume played regularly and scored goals this year. Unfortunately for him he may have to do that next season in League One unless another Championship club decides to take a lark on him in the off season after Preston North End suffered the ignominious drop.

    Peters was enjoying a solid mid-season runout at rightback with Ipswich Town until Roy Keane got sacked as manager. Then it became apparent that Peters as a defender - Peters in any position that involved being on the field really - was an an idea that existed in Keane's mind only.

    Assuming Paul Jewell continues as Ipswich manager, Peters faces a crossroads. At 24 he's not getting younger (although to be fair nobody is really getting younger) and he would obviously benefit from being at a club where he can play football again. I doubt any newly promoted Premier League clubs are going to come knocking, so barring a move within the Championship perhaps he could consider a return to Germany and 2.Bundesliga? Wild speculation to be sure, but he did begin his European career with FC Kaiserslautern.

    And David Edgar. Son of a bitch. The Canadian defender saw a January transfer from Burnley to Swansea scuttled at the last minute because of incorrectly transcribed decimal point, or something of the sort. And while I'm sure somebody, somewhere still earned his commission, Edgar was left watching as Swansea marched all the way to Wembly and a one-match playoff against Reading for a spot in the Premier League.

    Edgar eked out a few minutes over the rest of the season, but unless Burnley suddenly decide he's in their plans (which would be odd considering they tried to loan him out, and then didn't play him when they couldn't), he could do worse than ringing up management at a possibly newly promoted Swansea and assuring them the whole errant decimal thingy from last winter has been sorted now and he's happy to play in the Premier League. Worth a shot.

    Adam Straith put in some dependable performances for Canada, but the 20-year-old defender probably was in over his head in 2.Bundesliga this season. He has only seven appearances for just under 500 minutes with Energie Cottbus so far, but at least at his age he can afford to have that happen.

    Goalkeeper Haidar Al Shaibani managed 90 minutes this season with Nimes in Ligue 2. Unless he finds somewhere that will offer him some minutes next season he's unlikely to figure at all for Canada in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Or hell, maybe he will. The nats' keeper situation gets pretty unstable once you get past Lars Hirschfeld and Milan Borjan.

    Other notables Canucks.

    Atiba Hutchinson suffered a setback as PSV Eindhoven completed its late-season collapse on the weekend, playing itself out of a spot in the Champions League. So no Canadians in the world's biggest club competition next season either. On the whole a very solid season for the "Hutch" in Europe though.

    Josh Simpson finally ended his mini-scoring drought, netting his 12th league goal of the season for Manisaspor. That puts him in 12th spot in the Turkish league scoring race (which is being dominated by a Brazilian named Alex who has 27 goals). An absolutely fantastic, breakout season for Simpson in Europe and it's great to see him on the scoresheet again ahead of the Gold Cup.

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