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TO Star: Wilde season is in store for Lynx

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(yes, that's the Star!)

Wilde season is in store for Lynx; New coach says young team will be entertaining $5 million in debt and still hanging in with A-League

Michael Clarkson

Toronto Star

725 words

12 May 2004

The Toronto Star




Copyright © 2004 The Toronto Star

It would be easy for critics to turn up their noses at the Toronto Lynx and professional soccer's A-League.

But, while they continue to lose money and struggle to become a major-league product in the GTA's competitive sports market, the Lynx are quietly providing an important service for Canadian soccer, says new coach Duncan Wilde.

"All five Canadian teams (in the 16-team A-League) have a big responsibility to provide young talent to develop and to get professional exposure," said Wilde, whose club opens its home season Sunday at 4 p.m. against the tough Rochester Raging Rhinos at Etobicoke's 3,000-seat Centennial Stadium.

"Right now there are a lot of good quality players in Canada and I think Canada will get better in (international play)."

The Lynx are 1-3 after their opening road matches, but Wilde expects his greenhorn club to improve with experience. "We're rebuilding with a good strong core of Canadian players."

Toronto has 12 new faces on its 19-man roster from last year's 11-13-4 campaign, including 20-year-old midfielder Andres Arango of Toronto, who has played for Canada's under-20 team.

The Canadian teams are allowed five imports, but Wilde has a keen eye for Ontario products - he has run youth soccer camps in the GTA for many years.

The Lynx, who have a dozen corporate sponsors, are about $5 million in debt, but they are something of a success story by virtue of being afloat after seven years. The team has a player budget of $280,000 with salaries ranging from $10,000 to $23,000 for the four-month season, which ends Aug. 29.

Over the years, a half-dozen Lynx players have been with the Canadian national team, including Paul Stalteri, now with German league champion Werder Bremen.

"And we're also a developmental league for the pro leagues in Scandinavia and Europe," said chief financial officer Bruno Hartrell, whose wife Nicole is listed as owner of the Lynx. "Professional soccer still has a long way to go in North America, but we're coming along, inch by inch."

The Lynx also operate a soccer program in Toronto schools.

Probably the top two strikers for Toronto this year will be Cameroon-born Ali Gerba, who grew up in Montreal, and John Barry Nusum of Bermuda. Imports include Lewis Blois, formerly of Norwich City in England, and former Scottish Premier League midfielder Kris O'Neil.

"We'll be entertaining and there'll be no 0-0 games with my team," says Wilde, who played for Burnley and Everton pro teams in England, as well as the Manchester United reserves, and is known for his aggressive style.

"Being an attacking team has backfired on us in the early games. We're a little excitable and naive defensively, but we'll learn through mistakes," Wilde said.

Eventually, the Lynx may play just three defenders at the back at the narrow Centennial Stadium, allowing a midfielder to join the attack.

A big loss from last season was star goalkeeper Theo Zagar, the team's captain since 1998, to Rochester. Toronto may platoon new goalies Bryheem Hancock of the U.S. and Richard Goddard of Kanata.

The Lynx opened their season with a 1-0 win at Puerto Rico, but lost games to Rochester, Richmond and Virginia Beach.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $7.50 for fans 17 and under and those 60 and over.

96025-64177.jpg | Hans Deryk TORONTO STAR Lynx coach Duncan Wilde, known for his aggressive style, watches scrimmage at Centennial Stadium yesterday. Wilde says Lynx will be "entertaining and there'll be no 0-0 games with my team."Hans Deryk TORONTO STAR Richard Goddard leapfrogs Brian Rowland during Toronto Lynx practice at Centennial Stadium yesterday. The Lynx open their home season Sunday at 4 p.m. after a 1-3 start on the road. - Hans Deryk TORONTO STAR Richard Goddard leapfrogs Brian Rowland during Toronto Lynx practice at Centennial Stadium yesterday. The Lynx open their home season Sunday at 4 p.m. after a 1-3 start on the road. | ;

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quote:Originally posted by ray

"And we're also a developmental league for the pro leagues in Scandinavia and Europe," said chief financial officer Bruno Hartrell

Well, at least Bruno is being honest with himself.

This is just plain stupid!

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quote:Originally posted by Luis_Rancagua

Why are the Lynx in a $5 million debt??? Is it because they can not fill-in seats at Centennial Stadium. If so, why not move team to downtown Lamport Stadium. I will surely go given the fact that I only live a 15-minutes street-car ride from there.

Actually, they lose less money since theyve moved to Centennial (apparently close to being in the black), not having to pay the much higher rental cost for Varsity. Still, 7 years of losing money adds up.

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published in the Toronto Star's free subway twin publication, the small but free Metro:

different reporter wrote this one. That means they must have sent two.


May 12, 2004


Lynx ready to prowl

The Toronto Lynx soccer club will be happy to sink their claws into their rivals, the Rochester Raging Rhinos, in familiar surroundings when the two teams meet in Toronto this Sunday for the Lynx home opener.

The Toronto squad is off to a 1-3 start after taking their first game of the season against the Puerto Rico Islanders, only to get trampled by the Rhinos 4-0 in their next start, followed by losses to Richmond and Virginia Beach.

But with three tough games behind them, the Lynx are aiming to reverse their fortunes, starting with some much-needed improvements in the back field.

"Right now, where my work is being spent is defensively," head coach Duncan Wilde says. "We’ve got a very, very young team out there, and we’ve only kept seven players from last season. When we have possession of the ball, we’re as good as anything I’ve seen so far.

"The problem," he adds, "is that they’re all so enthusiastic to go forward and attack that we’re a little bit naïve defensively, and we keep getting counter-attacked, and that’s where we’re giving up our goals."

Wilde points to the stellar play of former Bermuda national team striker John Barry Nusum, who scored a goal against the Richmond Kickers last Thursday, as a key to the Lynx success on the attack, but stresses that a poor overall record thus far in no way reflects the efforts of new Lynx goalkeeper Bryheem Hancock.

"He’s started all four games, and it’s no reflection on Bryheem that we lost the last three, because he’s played absolutely standout. He’s going to be someone the supporters are really going to enjoy watching this year."

While the head coach tries to find a defensive strategy that works for his team, he also has to find a way to overcome some strong competition from other teams that have also seen significant personnel changes since the 2003 season.

"From what I’ve seen, it’s very even," he says of the challenge posed by his team’s rivals. "I’m fully expecting Montreal (Impact) and Rochester to be right up there. I did expect Charleston (Battery) would be the main competitor, but they’ve had an uncertain start."

The Lynx opener starts at 4 p.m. at Centennial Park Stadium in Etobicoke.

Chris Atchison/Metro Toronto

Lynx home schedule

Sun., May 16 Rochester 4 p.m.

Sat., May 29 Montreal 6 p.m.

Sun., June 6 Puerto Rico 6 p.m.

Wed., June 9 Puerto Rico 11 a.m.

Sun., June 13 Atlanta 6 p.m.

Tue., June 15 Virginia Beach 7:30 p.m.

Thu., July 8 Charleston 7:30 p.m.

Wed., July 14 Richmond noon

Sun., July 18 Calgary 6 p.m.

Mon., Aug. 2 Virginia Beach 6 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 7 Vancouver 7:30 p.m.

Fri. Aug. 13 Syracuse 8 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 21 Richmond 7:30 p.m.

Thu. Aug. 26 Edmonton 7:30 p.m.

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