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It's still the Ross & Joe show

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It's still the Ross & Joe show

By SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

Nearly a quarter of a century in the business of putting together soccer teams is coming in handy for the creative duo behind the evolving Edmonton Aviators.

Through their work with the long- gone Drillers - of any number of indoor and outdoor leagues - as well as the forgotten Brick Men and Eagles, Joe Petrone and Ross Ongaro are gradually putting the pieces together of what will soon become the city's latest venture into pro soccer as expansion franchises in the men's A-League and women's W-League.

"I'm just letting Joe do his magic and we're calling in some chips," chuckled Ongaro. "I think we'll all be very happy with what's going to be announced. It would have been a very tough thing to do if we didn't have the background, the connections and the contacts after being involved in so many teams.


"People have a lot of respect for what we've done in the past and making those phone calls is pretty easy."

Petrone, the club's GM, has the task of assembling both the Aviators men's and women's teams with the roster deadline approaching in two weeks. The men's side must be at least 50% Alberta-bred while the women's squad must have a minimum of 80% home-grown talent. With the local contingent gradually coming into form, Petrone is focusing on the imports he can line up and is awaiting their international transfer orders.

"We have a whole bunch signed and now we just have to get them cleared," said Petrone, who has already inked former Drillers standout Todd Rattee and Sean Fraser, who split last season between the University of Memphis and the A-League's Calgary Storm.


"The great thing about soccer is there are players all over the world - every country has players. We're looking at every angle and we're going to bring over whoever we can."

The men's team will take its first kicks on April 12, and about nine days later the women will begin training at either the Edmonton Soccer Centre or Foote Field.

Soon after that, the diehards who were clamouring for the return of pro soccer to Edmonton will find out if this experiment will finally be a lasting success or turn out to be another shortlived, doomed tease.

"I don't think we've ever failed. It's a step in the process," explained a defiant Ongaro. "I signed here in '79 and we've had two championship teams, many division championships and a number of exciting teams. In no way has there been a negative.

''If the league folds, how is that a fault of ours?

"The positive part is we've always been a solid community and had the ability to bring back teams. It's not a failure if we're still at the grassroots level and building. It's the evolution of 20 years and our ability to keep fighting."

FLIGHT PATH: The Aviators have run into a snag as far as their home schedules go, as the umbrella United Soccer Leagues posted both the A- and W-League skeds without the Aviators having confirmed the dates for Commonwealth Stadium.

There are hiccups involving two Eskimos games as well as the Churchill Cup international rugby tournament, but team president Wylie Stafford is confident all issues will be ironed out shortly.

"We are working with Commonwealth Stadium and the USL to make the adjustments. We've always known the Eskimos had first choice from Day 1, but our objective has been to have the women's and men's doubleheaders and when you're trying to schedule for two leagues there are some logistical challenges," said Stafford.

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For Immediate Release


Edmonton, March 3, 2004 ñ Today, the Edmonton Aviators announced that they have signed Kurt Bosch to play for their expansion A-League franchise.

Kurt Bosch is a 5í8î, 155 lb. midfielder who has extensive professional soccer experience having played for the Calgary Storm, Edmonton Drillers, and the Montreal Impact. He is a graduate of the University Of Alberta Golden Bears Soccer program where he currently is an assistant coach. Internationally, he has experience with the Canadian National U-20 team, as well as the 2003 Canadian National Futsal Team which was led by Aviators head coach Ross Ongaro. Locally, Kurt has been a key member of the Edmonton Juventus Soccer Club, as well as the Edmonton Victoria Soccer Club.

Kurt was three times named a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) All-Canadian, as well as a Canada West All-Star. In addition to this he was selected to the National Professional Soccer Leagues (NPSL) All-Rookie Team during his first year with the Edmonton Drillers.

ìKurt is a local talent who brings a wealth of both professional and international experience to our team. We feel that his maturity and his experience as an assistant coach with the Golden Bears program will give us not only a great player but someone who can fill a leadership role as well.î, said Joe Petrone- Director of Soccer Operations for the Edmonton Aviators Soccer Club.

The Edmonton Aviators are the newest addition to Edmontonís professional sports scene. Both the Aviators Menís and Womenís soccer teams will play in the United Soccer Leagues. Both teams will play at Commonwealth Stadium beginning in spring of 2004.

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