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Gomez Staying Put
December 27, 2009, 12:05 PM
Filed under: Emmanuel Gomez, MLS, Toronto FC

Toronto defender Emma Gomez has reflected on his first season as a professional with the Major League Soccer side in an exclusive interview with Gambia Sports Online.

The former Samger defender who moved to the Canada based outfit with fellow Gambian teenager Amadou Sanyang of Real de Banjul said Toronto FC was a good experience for him and is already looking forward to next season.

“For Toronto, it was a very good experience for me. It was difficult for me to get into the team at the beginning but then I was able to manage a consistent run in the team ads the season enfolds.

“I was given my debut for only three minutes before I go my chance later in the season. Amadou Sanyang is just like a brother to me not only a teammate because we helped each other a lot.

“I am not thinking of another club for now because I am just starting and I believed that there are Gambians who are still in the country who can play better than me and I believed they will do well in the MLS.

Source: Click Here

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Meddling by MLS `last straw’ for Carver
April 28, 2009, 8:18 AM
Filed under: John Carver, MLS, Toronto FC

For John Carver, the last straw was not a fine from Major League Soccer for publicly criticizing officials.

It came when he was told, after coaching Toronto FC to its biggest win of the young season from high atop the pitch at BMO Field, the league was ordering him back to the sidelines for the next game.

“You can only put up with so much,” Carver told the Toronto Star in an interview yesterday, two days after news broke of his resignation as head coach six games into his second season.

In a lengthy telephone conversation, Carver, 44, detailed a litany of what he deemed bad officiating and MLS mistreatment directed at him during his tenure in Toronto, which began Feb. 1, 2008.

“I’ve had restraints on me ever since I got here,” the native of Newcastle, England, said of the league and its officials. “If ever you do anything or say anything out of order, they’re straight on the phone complaining to the owners and that’s how they work because, in my opinion, it’s all about image.

“Obviously I wasn’t the right image for the league.”

In New York, MLS officials refused to get into a tit-for-tat.

“The league prefers not to respond to Carver’s criticism,” said MLS spokesman Will Kuhns.

Neither TFC general manager Mo Johnston nor officials with club owner Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment were available for comment yesterday.

On Sunday, following Toronto’s 1-0 win over Kansas City that put FC into first place in the Eastern Conference, Johnston said Carver had been “disillusioned” by what had been “going on” with MLS.

The beginning of the end for Carver, a calls-’em-as-he-sees-’em kind of guy, came on April 19, when Toronto lost 3-2 at FC Dallas. Angered by the officiating throughout, but particularly a handball call in the penalty area that resulted in the winning goal in the 84th minute, he lashed out after the game. He called the referee’s performance “a disgrace” and was fined $750 (U.S.) by MLS.

Carver said after that run-in and at least two others in his first season in Toronto, he was feeling “paranoid” that his personality – not the team’s play – was causing TFC to get harsher treatment from refs.

So, he said he decided the next night to “take myself out of the firing line” by going into a private box at BMO Field for the game against Chivas USA. He said it also gave him a better view as TFC employed three strikers for the first time this season and dominated the game, beating the previously undefeated California side 1-0.

“I sat upstairs for a tactical reason,” Carver said, “so I could see the game from a different angle.”

Carver said in addition to drawing up the lineup, he made “40 or 50 phone calls” down to assistant Chris Cummins on the bench during the match. He said he gave his usual pre-game, halftime and post-game talks in the locker room and had decided beforehand to have Cummins handle the media conference if the team won but do it himself in the event of a tie or TFC loss.

“I actually gave more to that game contribution-wise,” he said. “I had more conversations with the coaching staff than I usually do when I sit on the bench with them.”

He planned a repeat Sunday, but after an off-day Thursday Carver said he got to the stadium Friday and was told by Johnston the MLS wanted him back on the sideline for Sunday’s game.

“That was my last straw,” he said. “I wanted to run the club the way I wanted to run it and I had Mo’s backing. But, it’s like everything else, the league runs the show and I wasn’t prepared to do it the way they wanted to do it. If it’s not right for the club, to get the right results, then I’m not going to do something detrimental.”

Carver tendered his resignation Friday and said he told the players the next morning.

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” said Carver, who was 11-15-10 as coach.

Johnston said Sunday that he spoke to Carver at length and asked him to maybe take a day or two off instead of quitting, but he declined.

Carver insisted yesterday that the decision was not related to any battle with Johnston – “we’re best mates” – or a slight by the club’s owners – “they’re fantastic.” He also said, “hand on my heart,” there’s no job awaiting him in England. He also said his health is not an issue.

Carver said he and his wife will soon head to England but promised to be back in Toronto with friends later in the season to sit in the stands and watch a game.

“Hopefully they’ll still be top of the league,” Carver said. “And, I’ll have my hat and scarf on, don’t worry about that.”

Source: Click Here



TFC Youngest team in MLS
March 24, 2009, 8:55 AM
Filed under: MLS, Toronto FC

According to the rosters as posted on MLSnet, Chivas USA is the oldest team averging 27.08 yrs and not coincidentally also have the team with the most MLS experience at 4.33 years.

Toronto is the youngest at 24.65, averaging 1.91 years of MLS experience.

Seattle, not surprisingly, has the most players with no MLS experience, 11. DC United is next with 9 players new to the league.

Five teams have over half of their roster with zero or one year of MLS experience. Kansas City and New York both with 14 and Seattle, DC and New England with 13.

No team has fewer than 8 players with less than 2 years of league play.

Source: Click Here



Blatter: MLS should switch to traditional schedule
March 12, 2009, 7:21 AM
Filed under: FIFA, MLS

FIFA president Sepp Blatter wants Major League Soccer to switch to a traditional soccer schedule that starts in late summer and ends in the late spring.

Currently, several MLS teams share stadiums with NFL franchises and don’t have access to arenas on many weekends in the fall. The schedule creates difficulty when players transfer from MLS to Europe and back and causes MLS matches to be played on days set aside by FIFA for national teams.

“American football plays in winter, so they can only play from March to October, which means you are not in the right season,” Blatter said Wednesday before watching Manchester United beat Inter Milan 2-0 in the European Champions League. “The best American players are playing here, and this is the basic problem with the MLS.”

MLS has said it hopes to eventually make the switch but it can’t for now because it shares several stadiums with NFL teams. Eight MLS teams are in soccer stadiums built for the league, two share with NFL teams that are controlled by the same owners as the soccer club sand New York shares with NFL teams through 2009 before moving into its own stadium.

DC United plays in a city-owned ground where it is the primary tenant, Houston is at the University of Houston’s college football stadium and San Jose and Kansas City are at temporary homes.

“This league was founded after the 1994 World Cup, but is still struggling to get the position they should have according to the number of football players there are in the United States,” Blatter said. “It has the highest number of young players in any sport,” he said. “But the league has not found yet its position. It can only find its position if the league has its own stadiums.”

Blatter welcomed David Beckham’s announcement that he intends to buy an MLS franchise when he retires as a player. Last weekend, Beckham’s loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy to AC Milan was extended through the end of the Serie A season, and the English midfielder is to return to the Galaxy in July.

“This is absolutely a good idea if a footballer who has made lot of money out of football invests it again in football,” Blatter said.

On another topic, Blatter reiterated his preference for single World Cup hosts, suggesting that Spain should abandon its joint bid with Portugal if it wishes to stage the 2018 tournament. The United States is among the bidders to host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022, and Blatter said there is a “general understanding” that Europe will play host in 2018 after South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014.

A decision on the 2018 and 2022 hosts will be made by the 24-member FIFA executive committee in December 2010.

“The executive committee has taken the decision as long as we have individual candidates able to organize the World Cup alone then this should be the principle,” Blatter said.

FIFA, soccer’s governing body, relies on the World Cup for 90 percent of its revenue and expects to earn $3.2 billion in television and marketing revenue from the 2010 tournament.

Blatter said Wednesday the organization will remain in a “comfortable situation” until 2010, but is braced for a bleaker financial outlook after that when deals for future tournaments must be negotiated.

“We are in a financial crisis in the world and football has not yet so much been touched by the first wave of an economic tsunami,” Blatter said. “But the second wave will touch football, especially with the sponsorship of club football and sport in general. Look at Formula One and motor sport—they have already lost sponsors.”

While Blatter welcomed foreign investors putting money into clubs, he expressed concern that teams were losing their local identities, especially in England’s Premier League.

“In England, the clubs don’t belong to the fans they belong to investors,” said Blatter, who favors the German model in which there is majority local ownership.

Blatter said he has met the Florida-based Glazer family, which owns Manchester United, and associates of Liverpool co-owner George Gillett Jr., from Colorado.

“I can only thank them for putting money in football. I cannot say they should not do it,” he said. “It is definitely good for football that they bring money in. But perhaps it is not the right solution, but it’s good as long as football, with that money, keeps the moral and ethical duty of football.”

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2009 MLS Salaries Released
March 7, 2009, 12:28 AM
Filed under: Major League Soccer Salaries, MLS, Toronto FC

Club Last Name First Name Pos Base Salary Compensation

TFC Attakora-Gyan Nana D $ 34,000.00 $ 34,000.00
TFC Barrett Chad F $ 195,000.00 $ 202,500.00
TFC Brennan Jim D $ 185,000.00 $ 193,250.00
TFC Cronin Sam M $ 3 6,000.00 $ 84,000.00
TFC DeRosario Dwayne M $ 357,000.00 $ 357,000.00
TFC Dichio Daniel F $ 120,000.00 $ 120,000.00
TFC Edwards Brian GK $ 39,600.00 $ 48,350.00
TFC Frei Stefan GK $ 65,000.00 $ 108,000.00
TFC Gala Gabe D $ 34,000.00 $ 34,000.00
TFC Guevara Amado M $ 3 00,000.00 $ 323,750.00
TFC Harmse Kevin M $ 79,200.00 $ 79,200.00
TFC Ibrahim Fuad F $ 75,000.00 $ 108,000.00
TFC Ricketts Rohan M $ 165,000.00 $ 165,000.00
TFC Robinson Carl M $ 300,000.00 $ 315,000.00
TFC Serioux Adrian D $ 119,070.00 $ 131,570.00
TFC Smith Johann F $ 45,000.00 $ 56,666.67
TFC Sutton Greg GK $ 157,500.00 $ 165,062.50
TFC Velez Marco D $ 63,000.00 $ 63,500.00
TFC Vitti Pablo F $ 288,000.00 $ 303,000.00
TFC White O’Brian F $ 36,000.00 $ 113,000.00
TFC Wynne Marvell D $ 5 7,000.00 $ 159,500.00

Source: Click Here



Extra Extra: Cathal Kelly’s an Idiot
March 6, 2009, 12:07 PM
Filed under: MLS, Toronto FC

In response to Cathal Kelly’s artice: Bolting Becks deadly for MLS …

Upon reading his obituary in the New York Journal, Mark Twain wrote in May of 1897 “this report of my death was an exaggeration.” Reading the sports section of a popular local daily yesterday, Toronto FC fans had the same puzzled expression that Mr. Twain likely held the day he learned of his supposed expiration.

It’s an exciting time for TFC supporters. Their season seats and partial packages are close to hitting the courier vans which will go toward a third successive sold out season; the club has had an exemplary pre-season full of depth building and impressive on field displays; and this coming weekend just two weeks prior to MLS First Kick in Kansas City, TFC takes part in the annual Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston that will indicate the preparedness of John Carver’s men heading into the season.

In the midst of all this excitement came wild predictions from one prominent local sports coroner that Major League Soccer’s rumored inability to hold on to David Beckham will lead in no uncertain terms to the “death” of the league. The assertion was that the league had invested so much emotionally on Mr. Beckham that it couldn’t recover from losing him; that entire clubs that existed prior to his arrival with strong owners and a steady base of support, will now just disappear.

Intellectual honesty would suggest the exact opposite is true. MLS’ goal was never to go “all in” on one player but rather build a strong foundation based on diverse and competent ownership groups which eventually led to the creation of soccer-specific stadiums for true supporters of the game. In strong ownership lies the strength of the league. That is why a very high level of scrutiny greeted several would-be MLS club owners seeking an expansion team, for which the applications have now dwindled down to the best of the best.

Two clubs who are specifically not hitting the “skids” but were mentioned without any primary sources or financial information are Dallas and Colorado. This is strange because both have strong owners such as the Hunt Family – soccer’s most generous patrons in America – on the side of the Texans and England’s Arsenal FC co-owner Stan Kroenke building his football dream in Colorado. Anyone who knows anything about soccer in North America would never question the credentials and commitment of these parties. Unfounded conjecture is unproductive.

All football supporters know that no player will ever be bigger than a club. So it goes that no player will ever be bigger than a league either. Players of various fame coming and going is a fact in football like in any other sport, except in the one true global sport, that reality is multiplied by dozens of countries, leagues and teams. Players move on and so do the supporters in bestowing their faith in someone more worthy. The world doesn’t end. Mark Twain also lived and penned many great works after his presumed death depicted by an overzealous obituary writer whose name nobody remembers.

Source: Click Here



Canadian pride versus MLS success
March 4, 2009, 8:20 AM
Filed under: Canada, MLS, Montreal Impact, Toronto FC, USL, Vancouver Whitecaps FC

It’s not the biggest or the newest soccer stadium in Canada. Far from it. But its setting must be among the most picturesque in the country.

Occupying the North West corner of Central Park, surrounded on three sides by imposing fir trees and offering striking views of the mountains of North Vancouver, the outlook from the broadcast booth at Swangard Stadium remains one of my abiding memories of the 2008 season.

It was a quick turn round on a warm summer’s evening in Burnaby, B.C., just long enough to cover the latest game in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship – the three-cornered contest between the Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps to determine the national champions.

The carrot for the winners of the Voyageurs Cup was a place in the inaugural CONCACAF Champions League, not to mention considerable and year-long Canadian bragging rights. That honour is currently the property of the Impact, who proved their domestic triumph was no fluke by comfortably booking a passage into the knockout stages and suffering only a single defeat along the way.

Happily, the Canadian Soccer Association has confirmed the competition will be repeated in 2009 and, hopefully, in my opinion, for many years to come. Despite the vast distances which separate the cities, true and lasting rivalries are being established between these clubs and the fans they represent.

For their part, Toronto FC have been forced to watch and grudgingly admire Montreal’s impact in an event featuring the region’s best teams. And while the TFC fans will demand the record be put straight this year, there is a risk it could work against the common good.

TFC cannot afford to fail

To my mind, 2009 must be all about success in Major League Soccer – if necessary, to the exclusion of all else. Toronto FC simply cannot afford to fail again this year.

I’m sensing a mood change among fans and players alike – an impatience to move the product to the next level, where the MLS play-offs are the first, last and only priority. The playing staff has been improved again and soon it will be incumbent on those in red jerseys to deliver the performances and results their loyal supporters crave.

The philosophy of head coach John Carver is straightforward. For competitive games he will always select his strongest possible team and when fringe players are given an opportunity the jersey becomes theirs to lose. If, in Carver’s opinion, they grab the chance they keep the shirt, if not it’s back to the bench.

This year’s Canadian championship has been moved forward for all involved. It will be played over a six week period in May and June and, for Toronto FC, it will mean two games a week for three of their four matches. It will be a hectic schedule and there may be a price to pay.

No doubt Carver wants to win the competition and why wouldn’t he after the embarrassment of losing it to a USL team in 2008? To achieve that goal, he’ll have to use his best team. We now know both Montreal and Vancouver are more than capable of holding their own in the company of supposedly superior players from MLS.

Rich rewards from Champions League

As the Impact have so spectacularly demonstrated, there are rich rewards to be earned from a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League. Could Toronto FC have filled the Rogers Centre the way Montreal packed Olympic Stadium on a cold night in February? Perhaps we’ll see in twelve months time.

Despite that tempting distraction, Carver’s overriding priority must be to lead his team to the MLS post-season and that will require a fast start to the campaign and a fully fit roster. The opening games against Vancouver and Montreal coincide with a crucial segment of the season – Toronto have five out of six home games – somewhat similar to 2008, when Carver’s team was on a roll, winning matches and climbing the Eastern Conference standings.

That early season form needs to be repeated this year before the Gold Cup rolls around in July – a competition which will rob Carver of several key players, assuming it goes ahead as per FIFA’s calendar.

More games mean more risk of injury and fatigue and while it is inevitably par for the course, the reduction in size of MLS rosters for 2009 and the abandonment of the reserve division this year gives Carver less room for manoeuvre in terms of team selection. One way or another, he is going to face some tough decisions in the coming months.

So Canadian smugness or league advancement, where do you draw the line? Perhaps you don’t draw a line at all. Maybe you rely on one of the oldest clichés in the book and have both.

It’s one game at a time. Always was. Always will be.

Source: Click Here