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Found 2 results

  1. With eleven goals through 21 appearances, a strike rate that exceeds that of his celebrated teammate, Kaka – though some have pointed to Kaka's play-making as a corollary of the Canadian's success – Cyle Larin has proved himself an exciting prospect in his first MLS season. That those eleven goals have come from just 20 shots on target is even more impressive, perhaps indicative of his precision when chances materialize. So, what is it about his game that makes him such a formidable opponent? Recalling his earliest encounters with Larin in the Fall of 2006, Sigma FC's Bobby Smyrniotis, described him thusly: “He was a typical boy, who at those ages was able to get behind defenders, score quite a lot of breakaways and so on, but you also saw that he had a love for the ball and that's what we saw in the first few sessions. “He had a good ability for the game and you knew that you could round him into a player going forward. There was possibility there, but at the same time, he was an 11 year-old, so you look at the potential at that point and you hope for the best, never knowing exactly if it's going to turn out.” It may have been all possibility back then, but as Larin stepped up to the MLS stage, Smyrniotis could be more definite on his prognosis. “People are misled sometimes by his size and his stature as he was growing up, and even in College Soccer. A lot of people will always talk about his big frame, he's a big guy and he's fast, but the best parts to his game are his feet and his technical ability. “He's a very clean player, he's very comfortable on the ball; that was a big focus on him as he developed. He was always going to be a big boy and have some athletic attributes, but to really be a top-class player and have the ability to do that it was important that he was a well-rounded soccer player: able to combine in midfield, able to play, knowing how to finish with both feet, from a lot of different ranges on the field; through combination play, getting behind, in the air, quick releases; all of these things, a lot of this is starting to show in his game, obviously at this level in MLS.” Smyrniotis, who watches every match Cyle plays and stays in contact with his protege, when asked for his favourite moment from the nascent professional career offered up this response. “I'll always say his first goal. It's something special, and it's also something different that showed a little of his ability to score in different ways. He took it off the chest and it wasn't by accident he did that, and I thought, very good looking.” Natural and learned talent are one thing, but for Jason deVos, another aspect of the young player has grabbed his attention. “What I really like about him is what I hear from the coaches that have worked with him,” said deVos. “I've talked to Adrian Heath, I've talked to Mark Watson, a former National Team teammate, about him. The one thing that really jumps off the page about Larin is his willingness, his desire to learn and take in knowledge, to improve and get better. “By no means does he believe he's the finished article, he's only 20 years-old, he's got a long, long career ahead of him, both for Orlando and for Canada. One of the key ingredients of any successful player professionally is that they have to learn and develop and get better from day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, year-to-year, and I've seen evidence of that from him just this season in his first year. And also from talking to his coaches that are working with him on a daily basis, that's one of the first things they say about him: that he's getting better all the time, which is a real plus for him.” But deVos also cautioned about expecting too much, too soon of the player; a poignant point given the tendency of the desperate to exaggerate hope. “It's very, very early in his national team career for putting any expectation on his shoulders. It's quite unfair really to have anyone suggest that he's going to be the one to carry the goal-scoring weight that the National Team will require. “But he's got a lot of promise, he's got a lot of potential. He's already shown in his professional career so far this year that he is capable of scoring goals at the professional level. Now, there's a big jump up from scoring goals in MLS to scoring goals internationally, and I think we need a bigger body of work to really assess whether he can make that transition. “It's a big step up, make no mistake about it, going from playing in MLS to leading the line for your country and hopefully leading them to qualification is a big, big jump. I think it's really unfair to put that pressure on him, because I just don't think that he's ready yet to bear that responsibility.” Larin has already registered two goals in qualifying, scoring in each leg against Dominica, but given the struggles at the Gold Cup, perhaps it would be wise to take deVos' advice and not expect Larin to be the answer to every problem. He cut a frustrated figure in the first leg against Belize, unable to get the final touch required to find the back of the net on several occasions. His ability to get into those spots, however, is reason enough to celebrate, if in an understated manner. Give the kid time, let him continue to learn and develop, while the rest of the team coalesces for the challenge of qualification. He will not be the solution alone, but his addition does make the math a touch more palatable. In the first post in this series, the Story Behind the 'C' in Cyle was explained, while the second looked back for a comparable Canadian Talent. James can be followed on twitter @grawsee and more of his writing is available at Partially Obstructed View In the course of preparation for a feature on Cyle Larin for MLSsoccer.com there were several interesting points that had to be left out of the final draft. As such, over the past week, with Canada on the verge of moving on to the next stage of World Cup Qualification campaign following the away leg of the series against Belize on September 8, those threads have been fleshed out here at Canadian Soccer News. The third in the series: What it is about Larin's game that makes him such a potent striker? With eleven goals through 21 appearances, a strike rate that exceeds that of his celebrated teammate, Kaka – though some have pointed to Kaka's play-making as a corollary of the Canadian's success – Cyle Larin has proved himself an exciting prospect in his first MLS season. That those eleven goals have come from just 20 shots on target is even more impressive, perhaps indicative of his precision when chances materialize. So, what is it about his game that makes him such a formidable opponent? Recalling his earliest encounters with Larin in the Fall of 2006, Sigma FC's Bobby Smyrniotis, described him thusly: “He was a typical boy, who at those ages was able to get behind defenders, score quite a lot of breakaways and so on, but you also saw that he had a love for the ball and that's what we saw in the first few sessions. “He had a good ability for the game and you knew that you could round him into a player going forward. There was possibility there, but at the same time, he was an 11 year-old, so you look at the potential at that point and you hope for the best, never knowing exactly if it's going to turn out.” It may have been all possibility back then, but as Larin stepped up to the MLS stage, Smyrniotis could be more definite on his prognosis. “People are misled sometimes by his size and his stature as he was growing up, and even in College Soccer. A lot of people will always talk about his big frame, he's a big guy and he's fast, but the best parts to his game are his feet and his technical ability. “He's a very clean player, he's very comfortable on the ball; that was a big focus on him as he developed. He was always going to be a big boy and have some athletic attributes, but to really be a top-class player and have the ability to do that it was important that he was a well-rounded soccer player: able to combine in midfield, able to play, knowing how to finish with both feet, knowing how to from a lot of different ranges on the field; through combination play, getting behind, in the air, quick releases; all of these things, a lot of this is starting to show in his game, obviously at this level in MLS.” Smyrniotis, who watches every match Cyle plays and stays in contact with his protege, when asked for his favourite moment from the nascent professional career offered up this response. “I'll always say his first goal. It's something special, and it's also something different that showed a little of his ability to score in different ways. He took it off the chest and it wasn't by accident he did that, and I thought, very good looking.” Natural and learned talent are one thing, but for Jason deVos, another aspect of the young player has grabbed his attention. “What I really like about him is what I hear from the coaches that have worked with him,” said deVos. “I've talked to Adrian Heath, I've talked to Mark Watson, a former National Team teammate, about him. The one thing that really jumps off the page about Larin is his willingness, his desire to learn and take in knowledge, to improve and get better. “By no means does he believe he's the finished article, he's only 20 years-old, he's got a long, long career ahead of him, both for Orlando and for Canada. One of the key ingredients of any successful player professionally is that they have to learn and develop and get better from day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, year-to-year, and I've seen evidence of that from him just this season in his first year. And also from talking to his coaches that are working with him on a daily basis, that's one of the first things they say about him: that he's getting better all the time, which is a real plus for him.” But deVos also cautioned about expecting too much, too soon of the player; a poignant point given the tendency of the desperate to exaggerate hope. “It's very, very early in his national team career for putting any expectation on his shoulders. It's quite unfair really to have anyone suggest that he's going to be the one to carry the goal-scoring weight that the National Team will require. “But he's got a lot of promise, he's got a lot of potential. He's already shown in his professional career so far this year that he is capable of scoring goals at the professional level. Now, there's a big jump up from scoring goals in MLS to scoring goals internationally, and I think we need a bigger body of work to really assess whether he can make that transition. “It's a big step up, make no mistake about it, going from playing in MLS to leading the line for your country and hopefully leading them to qualification is a big, big jump. I think it's really unfair to put that pressure on him, because I just don't think that he's ready yet to bear that responsibility.” Larin has already registered two goals in qualifying, scoring in each leg against Dominica, but given the struggles at the Gold Cup, perhaps it would be wise to take deVos' advice and not expect Larin to be the answer to every problem. He cut a frustrated figure in the first leg against Belize, unable to get the final touch required to find the back of the net on several occasions. His ability to get into those spots, however, is reason enough to celebrate, if in an understated manner. Give the kid time, let him continue to learn and develop, while the rest of the team coalesces for the challenge of qualification. He will not be the solution alone, but his addition does make the math a touch more palatable. In the first post in this series, the Story Behind the 'C' in Cyle was explained, while the second looked back for a comparable Canadian Talent. James can be followed on twitter @grawsee and more of his writing is available at Partially Obstructed View
  2. Unique names are not rare in sport. One theory, is that such an identifying feature helps an athlete stand out in the crowd. They are memorable amidst a sea of James' and Michael's. Larin was thrust onto the Canadian soccer scene at the start of 2014, called into National Team camps while still playing college ball at the University of Connecticut. The 20-year old forward saw his first minutes for Canada against Bulgaria in May, then still only 19, and has since delighted fans in Orlando with his play in MLS, sitting on the cusp of a rookie scoring record having been selected first-overall in the 2015 SuperDraft. Throughout it all, the 'C' has been a curiosity. Undoubtedly already known in some circles, a conversation with Jason Bent, the head coach of TFC II last week began to unravel the enigma, flushing out the details behind the unique moniker. Bent was asked about whether Toronto FC were ever aware of Larin's talent, developing so close to the city proper, in Brampton – his hometown – and Mississauga – where he trained with Sigma FC. “Funny you say that,” smiled Bent. “My cousin is his godmother and she brought him to my attention when he was about 13, 14 years old and I was working in the TFC Academy at that point in time.” Bent, at the prompting of one astute reporter, who asked 'isn't that where his name came from?', would go on to recount how his cousin, Cimone, the aforementioned godmother, and did indeed play a role in the letter selection. Cyle's mother, Patricia Larin picked up the story later that week. “Her and I grew up together, practically like sisters. When Cyle was born I wanted a name that had a Kha-sound, and I liked the name Kyle, so I said 'How about Kyle?' and she said 'Well, why not spell it with a C?', 'Alright, (I'll) spell it with a C'” she explained with a laugh. Mystery solved, no over-tired and under-caffeinated hospital orderly to be pointed to, it was an homage to a close family-friend. Ms. Larin, an unceasing supporter of her son, continued, “I know a lot of people make fun of how I spell his name, but I just joke back, 'C' is the Canadian way.” And if Cyle is part of the new generation tasked with rejuvenating Canadian soccer, perhaps one day soon with a 'C' will become the new norm, leaving everyone to wonder why is was ever spelt with a 'K' in the first place. Before drifting into the wilderness once more, I wanted to apologize for not keeping up to date with the Canadian Content posts. With new developments, it has been difficult to commit the time required to do the job correctly. I fear it may have gotten away from me, but will endeavour to catch back up over the coming weeks, perhaps in a much-condensed form to ease the travail. Much has happened worthy of note. James can be followed on twitter @grawsee and more of his writing is available at Partially Obstructed View
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