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Orleans Native gets TFC Academy invite
January 24, 2010, 4:37 PM
Filed under: TFC Academy, Toronto FC

A good place to start with Bezick Evraire-Chance might be two pieces of art his mom and sister made.

Knowing the 16-year-old midfielder is off next week to join the Toronto FC Academy — the only player from outside the GTA — provides a rough outline. The between-the-lines gets filled by the one-foot-by-three-foot signs, “Create” and “Imagination” in cursive, hung behind the family couch in Orleans. It describes what Evraire-Chance does as a creative, attacking midfielder. It also drives home how mom Debborah Evraire and sister Sapphire Evraire-Chance have helped lead him to pro soccer’s doorstep.

“When I look at that, ‘Create,’ it reminds me that whatever you do, you always have to keep possibility alive,” says Bezick Evraire-Chance, who is relocating to Toronto as soon as he finishes exams at St. Matthew high school on Wednesday. “You have to give yourself to chance to get the most out of anything and everything, to take advantage of opportunities. As long as you put 100% effort into everything, you’ll succeed.

“My mom, she’s a businessperson, always going at all hours, being a leader. She has really passed that me.”

That fits with how Evraire-Chance comes across on a DVD of his highlights. A lithe six-footer with a 36-inch vertical leap, he makes foes look so lead-footed you’d swear they’re in on the act as he feints and flicks the ball past them. That’s all the hours practising in the park, believing a kid from Ottawa can scale the soccer ladder.

He knows the magnitude of being on a Major League Soccer club’s radar.

“I’m coming in relatively early, 16 years old, so it’s a perfect situation,” says the kid who will do a full year of Grade 11 in 4½ months, since his new school is non-semester. “MLS offers great options. It opens windows for national team, national exposure, European exposure.”

The way Evraire-Chance has tapped his family’s “full strength of each other,” in his mom’s phrase, opened the door with TFC.

“When I met him, the first thing that struck me as soon as Bezick walked through that door was his own presentation,” TFC Academy coach Stuart Neely says when asked about the three-day tryout last August at a broiling BMO Field.

“His physique was enough for me to take notice of him. What gave me a feel for who he is was in the way he responded when I was shaking his hand — the eye contact and the way he spoke and how he handled his short three-day trial.

“He conducted himself in such a professional manner. You rarely see that in boys his age. There was no sheepishness, no looking away. It’s certainly from the family that he has learned that. He exudes confidence and professionalism.

“Bezick has a lot of potential to do a lot of good things. We plan to give him tools to help him along the way. We think he’ll respond,” Neely adds.

Evraire-Chance, who helped the Ottawa Fury U16 club reach the North American finals in 2009, is not the type to look for an out in life.

“It hasn’t always been easy in our family,” he says.

“You go through financial situations, the schooling also gets more difficult, soccer equipment gets more expensive, you want what your favourite players wear, there’s pressure since my mom is a single mom.

“There are always sacrifices, my mom working two jobs, my sister giving up dance (classes) to save us money, which I know was hard for her. But we’ve managed to come out a stronger family. We’ve always been family-oriented — we have to stick together because that’s what we do.”

The bottom line is, the family makes it work. Small wonder the guest list for the send-off brunch that Debborah Evraire held at Mother Tuckers on Saturday swelled to 70 — a lot of people have pitched in and deserved to be thanked for her son’s success.

“I always tell him, ‘In anything you do, you don’t eat, you feed,’ ” she says.

That’s become family lore. Take the time Bez had the flu when he and his teammates were required to work at a waste depot. Debborah filled in, spending 10 hours in a hazmat suit on Mother’s Day.

All of that is been put toward being in a good place at a good time to be a teenaged Canadian footballer. Seeing a nephew of the former Rough Riders slotback Ken Evraire getting a look from TFC, or seeing another Ottawa player such as Abraham Donzo having a trial with Everton, show how sports in Canada are evolving.

Algonquin College men’s coach Kwesi Loney, who’s also worked with Evraire-Chance through the Fury, grew up in Toronto with Canadian pros such as Dwayne De Rosario and Adrian Serioux. He’s seen the steady growth in Canadian soccer.

“The coaching is getting better and after seeing people like De Rosario, Serioux, Julian de Guzman succeed, kids see it is possible,” Loney says. “ ‘I may have grown up in Ottawa or Toronto, but there are still opportunities to reach my goal as a professional player.’ The kids are much more in tune with following the game internationally, they’re looking to emulate their heroes at a much earlier age. The opportunity is at their doorstep now.”

Evraire-Chance — whose first call when he was accepted by TFC Academy was to his sister — knows his road in soccer will only get harder. Of course, he can’t block out the idea of being a teen soccer player training in Toronto, especially when World Cup fever will arrive in June.

“You get to be a ballboy for the home games, so you’re right in the middle of it, all that passion they have for the game, the support, the songs that they sing,” he says. “I can’t wait to be wearing a Toronto FC kit, saying ‘I’m with the academy,’ people knowing what that means, it’s going to be really cool.”

Of course, he’s there since he’s serious, eager to please, to the extent that he actually brings answers back to the example set by his mother.

Debborah Evraire smiles, touched. “I’m not joining Toronto FC.”

No, but he knows who put him on the path toward getting to create, using his imagination. What anyone wants, really.

Source: Click HereClick Here for Interview



Academy players head to Mexico
April 15, 2009, 6:09 AM
Filed under: TFC Academy, Toronto FC

Five members of TFC Academy have been selected to represent Canada at the 2009 CONCACAF Under 17 Championships in Tijuana, Mexico. Goalkeeper Garrett Cyprus, defender Feras Samain, midfielders Jonathan Lao and Brennan McNicoll and forward Justin Maheu are all heading to the tournament.

The players joined up with the squad on Tuesday in San Diego for training prior to leaving for Mexico. Canada will face Honduras, Cuba and the United States in Group A with the first game against Honduras on April 21st. The group games will be played at the 33,000 capacity Estadio Caliente, the home of Mexican second-division Club Tijuana. The top four teams from the confederation championship will qualify for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria.

TFC Academy’s Ryan McLeod is also taking part in the tournament. The midfielder has been selected by Trinidad and Tobago.

Source: Click Here



TFC Academy beats AC Milan 3-0
April 7, 2009, 7:11 AM
Filed under: Dallas Cup, TFC Academy

TFC Academy’s Senior Team beat Italian giants AC Milan 3-0 in the Dallas Cup Super Group on Monday. The Reds remain unbeaten after two group games at the tournament having opened with a 1-1 tie against Tigres of Mexico on Sunday with a late equalizer from Andre Verdugo. TFC Academy’s final match of the group stage is on Wednesday against Manchester City.

Verdugo scored his second goal of the tournament in the win over AC Milan. Full back Casey D’Mello and Gambian Amadou Sanyang scored the other goals. “The boys played much better against AC Milan than against Tigres,” said TFC Academy Head Coach Stuart Neely. “There is certainly a belief from the players in the camp that they are as good as we think they are. AC Milan has all of the history but we’ve just created history for ourselves by beating them 3-0.”

“It’s an unbelievable task completed for the boys. We can’t ask for anything more from them. The quality of the opposition is strong but our team is dealing with it very well. We are one of a number of good sides in the tournament. The boys have certainly not been overawed by what they have come up against,” he said.

Source: Click Here



TFC Academy ready for Dallas trip
April 2, 2009, 7:11 AM
Filed under: TFC Academy, Toronto FC

TFC Academy’s Senior Team leaves on Friday to compete in the Dallas Cup Super Group. TFC qualified for the prestigious tournament after reaching the semifinals of the MLS Youth Cup in Denver last summer. They open the tournament with a match against Tigres of Mexico on Sunday, before facing AC Milan and Manchester City in other group play.

TFC Academy coaches Stuart Neely and Jason Bent were presented with engraved watches by Movado Group of Canada in recognition of their work during the first year of the Academy’s existence. “Any time you get recognized for your work is very reassuring and rewarding. We love what we do and this is tremendous for us,” said TFC Academy head coach Stuart Neely.

“We wanted to present the coaches with the watches to thank them for the work they do with the Academy and in the community,” said Movado Group Director of Sales Gino DeVuono. “They achieved a lot last year and deserve recognition.”

“The Academy has not even been going for a year so for them to recognize us and the work we have been doing is fantastic,” said Senior Team head coach Jason Bent. “Working in the Academy is enjoyable for us and a real pleasure. Sometimes the hours just fly by because we enjoy what we do and hopefully we can keep the good work going.”

Bent has been preparing the players for the challenge of facing some of the top youth teams from around the world when the Dallas Cup begins this weekend, and he believes his team is ready for the tournament. “The boys are really excited and you can see they are very focused in training. I am sure they are a little bit nervous but I don’t expect anything different. Before each match they should have some competitive anxiety but I’m sure once they kick a ball they will play football the way they know how to.”

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the players. Not many Canadian teams have participated in the Super Group so we feel very honoured and we’re going to make a good go of it. They are all storied clubs and will present us with a big challenge. I have played against Mexican teams at the youth level as well as European teams so I have an idea from past experience of how they will play. We will come up against three different styles of play from different areas of the world and it is a great experience for our kids at this time of their careers,” explained Bent. “It’s an opportunity to measure our boys against big clubs with potentially very good players and it is also a good measuring stick for the coaching staff and everybody else involved.”

Source: Click Here



Five Academy players get Canada call
March 30, 2009, 11:07 PM
Filed under: Canada, TFC Academy, Toronto FC

Five members of TFC Senior Academy team are taking part in a training camp with Canada Under 17s. Goalkeeper Garrett Cyprus, defender Feras Samain, forward Allando Matheson and midfielders Jonathan Lao and Brennan McNicoll are all at the camp in San Jose, Costa Rica.

It is Canada’s last training camp before next month’s CONCACAF Under-17 Championship in Mexico and will include daily training sessions, one exhibition match and two international matches.

“This camp provides a great opportunity for our team to be tested against quality competition before our qualification tournament,” said Canada U-17 head coach Sean Fleming. “We look forward to all the challenges that will be put forth during the camp.”

Canada play an exhibition match against Costa Rica’s U-18 team on Tuesday and two international matches against Costa Rica U-17s on April 2nd and 4th.

Source: Click Here



TFC U-16 Academy wins 2-0
March 5, 2009, 12:50 PM
Filed under: TFC Academy, Toronto FC
TFC Junior Academy completed its three game identification process with a 2-0 win over the U-16 Ontario Provincial Program. Goals from Matias Naalband and Jordan Murrell sealed a positive result from a workmanlike performance.A quick start to the match almost saw the Junior Academy Team take the lead inside 30 seconds but they failed to capitalize on a glorious opportunity. TFC took the lead in the 30th minute when Matias Naalband finished off good build up play with a deflected shot that looped over the goalkeeper. The final goal of the match came from Jordan Murrell off a well executed corner.

“In my opinion we deserved the 2-0 win,” said Academy Manager and Junior Team Head Coach Stuart Neely. “I fully expected the Provincial Program to bounce back from the last match (1-1) and show us why they should be on TFC, but it didn’t happen that way. The Junior Academy players were given tasks and they stuck to them. That proved to be the difference at the final whistle.”

The next phase of the process is to review all of the players and then make a final selection within the next month. The selected players will then make the core of the future TFC Junior Academy Program.

Source: Click Here



TFC Academy Update
February 11, 2009, 2:39 PM
Filed under: MLS Preseason, TFC Academy, Toronto FC

Toronto FC Academy’s Senior and Junior teams were both in action over the weekend. The Senior Academy team beat the University of Toronto 3-1 and the Junior Academy lost 3-0 to the Ontario Soccer Association.

Senior Academy

The U of T team started brightly and put TFC under pressure almost immediately but failed to capitalize on a few chances. TFC settled down and Justin Maheu finished off a move in the 10th minute with a good low hard strike from 18 yards out to take the lead. TFC continued to pressure the opposition when Daniel Calabretta gained possession at the top of the box and scored with a low strike into the bottom corner. After a few near misses by the U of T team TFC scored the best goal of the match. A good counter attack move that developed over the length of the pitch and included six passes before Justin Maheu scored a tap in from six yards out. The Academy players went into halftime with a 3 nil lead.

U of T came out brightly in the second half and put the Academy team under serious pressure. They scored within five minutes of the restart and clearly had renewed belief. The match fizzled out in the second half and the game finished 3-1 in favor of the TFC Senior Academy.

Junior Academy

In the first of a three games series, The Ontario Soccer Association (OSA) U16 Program and the TFC Junior Academy met at BMO Field. The result favoured the OSA Program blanking the Junior Academy 3-0, as the process to find a final roster of players by March 15th continues. The match was highlighted by costly mistakes and clinical finishes all in the first half.

Academy Players in Tampa

Four members of TFC Academy’s Senior Team are currently away at a training camp with Canada Under-17s in Tampa. Goalkeeper Garrett Cyprus, defender Feras Samain and midfielders Jonathan Lao and Brennan McNicoll are all taking part in the camp which is part of preparations for the CONCACAF Men’s U-17 Championship in Mexico this coming April.

The first part of the camp runs until tomorrow in the U.S. and they will then head to Guatemala City to continue training and play two friendly matches against Guatemala. Canada needs to finish amongst the top-four teams in the eight-team tournament to qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009.

Source: Click Here