Author Topic: National team strips Whitecaps of players  (Read 1802 times)

Offline David

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National team strips Whitecaps of players
« on: January 18, 2007, 01:33:03 PM »
Women's Soccer I Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Bob Birarda expects to lose 10 to 14 players to Canada's women's World Cup soccer team during the 2007 W-League season.

In an unprecedented agreement announced Wednesday, the W-League champion Whitecaps, Ottawa Fury and Laval Comets have agreed to release all selected national team players during their seasons for a full-time residency training camp program being conducted this year by national team head coach Even Pellerud.

The residency camp will be run in Vancouver. The first stage of the camp starts Sunday and goes to March 8, but the camps will continue through the spring and summer months as the Canadian team prepares for the Women's World Cup tournament in China in September.

Fourteen Whitecaps, including prolific striker Christine Sinclair, have been selected to a 24-player roster by Pellerud for the first stage of the camp. Sinclair led the Whitecaps to their second W-League championship last August, when she was named the tournament MVP.

As many as 19 Whitecaps have played for Canada in recent years.

But Birarda said Wednesday he's happy to help the national side as it prepares for the World Cup.

"We're happy to assist Even in the training of players through the residency program," said Birarda. "But not all of our players will go to China. We're talking about between 10 and 14 of our players going to China, and it might be closer to 10. But I'm confident that we'll have some very good players to fill in for them. We carried a roster of 38 players last season, so there's a lot of depth in the squad."

The Ottawa Fury are giving up four players to the camp, while the Laval Comets and New Jersey Wildcats give up one each.

Funding for the residency camp will be provided by the Whitecaps Foundation, which was established by club owner owner Greg Kerfoot, and the Sport Canada Athlete Assistance Program. More players will join the residency camp later in the year after they complete school commitments or when they are called to the national team. The team will train eight to 10 times a week during the camp, while also playing in scrimmage games against local teams.

"This camp will provide us with the best opportunity ever to attend a World Cup final with with an optimum level of preparation," said Pellerud. "For the first time, the team, in principle, will be run like a club team. The program allows us to set up daily, weekly and monthly schedules and team programs that include fitness, tactics, skills and psychology."

Canadian Soccer Association president Colin Linford paid tribute to Kerfoot for facilitating the residency camp -- both with his players and his wallet.

"This is a first for us, it's unbelievable that you have clubs giving up their marquee players," Linford said. "You have a gentleman who must be the biggest benefactor in sports probably in Canada right now, Greg Kerfoot, and you have the dedication and determination of the coaching staff to be a success."

Canada qualified for the Women's World Cup in November when it reached the 2006 Gold Cup final in Carson, Calif. While Canada lost the Gold Cup final to the United States 2-1 on a last-minute penalty kick, the team finished its year with a record of 10 wins, four draws and only three losses in 17 games.


http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/sports/story.html?id=a3d22210-5a36-4c90-a5cf-a5f4460a55bd

Offline David

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Re: National team strips Whitecaps of players
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2007, 01:36:13 PM »
Another story on this -

Canadian women's soccer side to stick together as a team in 2007

TORONTO (CP) - Imagine the Ottawa Senators won the Stanley Cup and then the next season handed over all their Canadian talent to allow Team Canada to prepare for the 2010 Olympics.

That's essentially what the W-League champion Vancouver Whitecaps are doing, giving up their starting lineup for the 2007 soccer season to the Canadian national team.

The Canadian women's squad is embarking on the stretch drive to this September's World Cup in China, gathering Sunday for a residency camp in Vancouver. Those in camp will focus exclusively on the national team in the months to come, foregoing their club teams until after the World Cup.

While the Canadian women's hockey team has a residency program, coach Even Pellerud calls it "a new era for Canadian soccer."

For the Whitecaps, that means playing the 2007 season without eight of their 11 starters in last year's W-League championship game. The sacrifice is even more severe when you consider that two of those starters were American. And both players who came on as substitutes for the Whitecaps that day have also been given up to the national team residency program.

Players missing for the Whitecaps' 12-game 2007 season include star striker Christine Sinclair, veteran midfielder Andrea Neil and a slew of others marquee names.

The Canadian Soccer Association lists 12 Whitecaps players on the 24-woman roster for the first stage of the residency camp, which runs from Sunday to March 8.

Two other players on the list - Brittany Timko and Paige Adams - have moved on but were part of Vancouver's championship side last year.

Kara Lang is also on the camp roster. The UCLA star's club allegiances lie with the Whitecaps but she was sidelined by injury last season.

The Ottawa Fury are giving up four players and the Laval Comets and New Jersey Wildcats one each.

"I've been very impressed with the W-League franchises, in particular the Whitecaps in Vancouver and the Fury in Ottawa," Pellerud said. "I mean, it really hurts them, there is no doubt about it. So it's a great commitment they have made to help Canadian soccer and the national team."

Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot is funding the women's residency program through the Whitecaps Foundation. But Bob Lenarduzzi, the Whitecaps director of soccer operations, says it wasn't a case of doing what he was told.

Everyone at the Whitecaps was on the same page, he said.

"It was just felt that for the greater good, and having Canada be successful in the World Cup, that ultimately that would provide the long-term dividends for the short-term pain," Lenarduzzi said.

Players will receive funding from Kerfoot's foundation, in addition to carding money from the Sport Canada Athlete Assistance Program.

The women will live in apartments downtown, training in different locations.

"We can control the whole training environment, so it's basically how a club team is run," said Pellerud, who was able to test out the concept with a trial camp last fall.

The sacrifice by the Whitecaps also seems to answer objections by former captain Charmaine Hooper and two other dissident players that the residency program was a way to force national team players to join the Vancouver club.

The three players are currently suspended, pending an internal Canadian Soccer Association appeals review.

The roster at the national team camp may shift as the year goes on. For example, some players weren't available for the first seven-week leg of the program because of school commitments.

The camp will essentially last until the World Cup, with the odd break. Pellerud plans to take his squad to Brazil for the Pan American Games in the summer and hopes to have seven or eight international games in advance of the World Cup.

CSA president Colin Linford paid tribute to Kerfoot for facilitating the residency camp - both with his players and his wallet.

"This is a first for us, it's unbelievable that you have clubs giving up their marquee players," Linford said.

"You have a gentleman who must be the biggest benefactor in sports probably in Canada right now, Greg Kerfoot, and you have the dedication and determination of the coaching staff to be a success."

Canada, which finished fourth at the 2003 World Cup, had a 10-3-4 record in 2006.

Linford acknowledged medal expectations will be high for the Canadian women in China.

"We're going into a training mode that very few countries in the world will be doing," he said.

The U.S. team, which beat Canada 2-1 last November in the final of the Gold Cup, is embarking on a four-month residency camp starting in April in Carson, Calif.

The American women, who plan 15 internationals in the next eight months, are currently in Guangzhou, China, for the Four Nations Tournament.

Lenarduzzi, meanwhile, is hunting for new talent to replace those now wearing the Maple Leaf. Some will be promoted from the Whitecaps youth side, but he expects to have to look outside Canada's border to make up the numbers.



http://www.680news.com/news/sports/article.jsp?content=s011761A