Toronto native Julian de Guzman has been named player of the year Deportivo la Coruna, his Spanish La Liga team.I am now sorely disappointed that I didn't get a chance to see him play this year for Depor. I wasn't even sure he was figuring in matches until late in the year when I checked into some of the lineups. His contribution must have been significant in boosting Deportivo's standing in mid-season when they looked to be threatened by relegation.
De Guzman is the first Canadian to ever play in the top flight of the Spanish league, and helped Deportivo to a ninth-place finish in 2007/08.
I can't understate how huge this is. For a country our size, we have so little professional talent exported and to have our only player ever in La Liga to win a team MVP is huge. Who knows, it might even open people's eyes to the kind of talent that is available here. Of course, personal accolades aren't anything new for De Guzman, being MVP of last summer's Gold Cup.
I'm now very optimistic with where Team Canada can go with it's current players. De Rossario is always an MVP in my eyes and forward Rob Friend led his German second division team, Borussia Mönchengladbac, in goals after helping them get promoted back to the Bundesliga. I'm sure playing alongside German international Oliver Neuville didn't hurt either.
This leaves the national side with a pretty strong core up front. Of course, playing the Brazilians on Saturday will require a strong defensive core, but the real performance target is the upcoming World Cup qualifiers later in the summer. And I'm hoping for a really strong showing (read: drubbing) against Panama in next Wednesday's friendly.
The Canada-Brazil friendly can be seen tape delayed on Sportsnet on Sunday at 8 AM.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
So I made a rare venture out of my cube, and an even rarer venture out of my office area to swing by what should have been Brad's empty office. Yes, I said office, he is almost a God around here. They send him to Europe for vacations for Brad's sakes! (get it?)
Anyway, the reason for my trip was two fold, but the real motivation was I know Brad had cookies in his cube recently. A whole bag of them. Waiting to be pillaged. But I walked by just now and the door is closed. And yesterday there was someone in it! So, I'm worried that they have either replaced Brad with some sort of cyborg and now Brad is off to meet his death at the end of the world OR someone is just using his vacant office space. It's a real toss-up.
But screw Brad, really when you think about it, because what about my desire for cookies? I'm expending energy all over the place and I can't seem to catch up in calories or sleep. These cookies would have really kept me going and tied the room together.
That cyborg is dead!
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
From ESPN Soccernet...
Blatter's so-called '6+5' proposal - which would limit the number of foreign players to start any club match to five - has sparked a battle of ideologies in global soccer.The mentality of soccer in Europe is survival of the fittest. I'm not sure the big clubs give a shit at all about the lower level clubs and their well being at all. This is why you see things like the G14 (14 of the biggest clubs in Europe banding together to make demands to EUFA).
Opponents say it would be an unworkable regulation which contravenes the European Union's free movement of workers rules.
Blatter, however, insists foreign quotas are necessary to ensure the sport's growth and well-being and to prevent a handful of rich clubs dominating honours.
Now, when a noble effort to not only improve the stock of domestic players (which I think the English National team would benefit from the most), but to hopefully improve the domestic competition and make it more of a title race for 1 of 20 (instead of 1 of 4), the big clubs seem intent to quash it in court. This rule would limit the scope of these big clubs' ability to cherry pick stars from wherever and would force them to do more building of domestic players.
Take Arsenal this year, for instance. The ONLY English player of note on that team was Theo Walcott, who wasn't even a starter. In fact, they have way more playing Frenchmen than Englishmen. So England's top players are more likely to be playing for lower quality teams due to this and likely missing out on a lot of European / top level competition.
And look at how the NHL has matured from opening up competition. It is healthier under the salary cap system. This was something done to improve the league, the teams, the game. Who benefited the most? Probably the owners, but no fan gives a shit about an owner other than his willingness to field a competitive team and prevent him from re-locating (re-Jetsing?). In my mind, I won the most. The salary cap will keep costs from exploding and keep it affordable to most fans. Which will keep people coming to the building every night. Which will keep advertisers pumping their money into there. Which will keep the team in the city and which will keep the team profitable and able to afford the occasional free market splash.
So, as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, expect to see more Derby's in English top flight. Expect to see very little change at the top, very little hope in the middle, and lots of scratching at the bottom.
Very little parity:
Premier League: same top four last 2 years (same top 2 positions)
La Liga: 2 changes in top four last 2 years (same champion)
Bundesliga: 1 change in top four last 2 years
Serie A: 2 changes in top four last 2 years (Juve was down the for one of these years, no change in top 2 teams)
Ligue 1: 2 changes in top four last 2 years (same champion last 7 years)
Evedivisie: 1 change in top 4 last 2 years (same top 2 positions)
In fact, of these European super leagues, on Germany has a new champion.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Speaking of own goals, of which we rehashed a few of these last night, here is a list of 10 of them. I'm not sure Escobar belongs so high based on hilarity, but definitely high in significance, being a World Cup own goal and his being murdered of course. Also, Philips is an instant classic that I didn't know ended up in being the Stanley Cup winning goal.
The one that I chuckled at was one that wasn't on this list, but should have been. It was an international hockey game in which Japan was playing Denmark. I believe it was a relegation game and this was the winning goal, for some reason, my google skills can't verify this at the moment. What makes it great is the Japanese player, Nobuhiro Sugawara, celebrates at first for a brief second before the realization sinks in.
Another candidate that would have been appropriate given the current playoffs would be Fleury's bank shot off his defenseman to lose the 2004 World Juniors vs USA.