Sports

A really huge signing for the Ottawa Fury soccer club

By Phil Cottrell, Daily Observer

Generic soccer photo

Generic soccer photo

The Ottawa Fury FC has made a very major signing. Canadian International midfielder Julian de Guzman will be a member of Fury FC pending international transfer approval. De Guzman, one of Canada's most accomplished players with 76 appearances for the Canadian men's national team, brings more than 350 games of professional experience to Ottawa.

"When we first spoke, Julian was determined to come to Ottawa," said Fury FC head coach Marc Dos Santos. "He will definitely be an excellent addition to our squad. Julian will bring quality, experience and depth to our midfield."

From 2009 to 2012 de Guzman featured in 77 Major League Soccer (First Division) matches with three of those four seasons spent at Toronto FC. The Toronto native became the first-ever Canadian to play in La Liga (The Spanish First division) where he featured in 97 contests for Deportivo La Coruna from 2005 to 2009. Prior to his arrival in Spain, de Guzman spent three seasons in the Bundesliga (German first division) making 78 appearances with Hannover. De Guzman comes to the nation's capital after spending the 2013-14 season with Skoda Xanthi in the Greek Super League.

De Guzman has donned the captain's armband on several occasions for Canada's national men's team.

This is a huge signing for the Fury. I had heard the rumour earlier, but thought it was not true. But then I didn't think David Beckham was going to be coming to North America.

Successful Fury FC pre-season

Ottawa's pre-season exhibition schedule culminated with a 2-1 victory over Wake Forest University Tuesday in North Carolina as Fury FC complete its pre-season undefeated with an impressive 4-1-0 (wins-draws-losses) record. This is a much stronger squad than last year, and it really is quite possible that Ottawa Fury FC could finish in the top-four at the season's end.

Remove the CFL markings from the field!

The International Soccer Federation is giving Commonwealth Stadium turf the boot to ensure faint white football lines don't mar TV broadcasts during the Women's World Cup. The painted football lines are removed from the artificial grass during soccer matches, which use a different set of markings. But over time, small amounts of paint stick to the fibres and the rubber crumb around them, Commonwealth Stadium acting director Kevin Kobi stated.

"The Canadian Soccer Association has assessed a number of pitches that are being played on and had come to the conclusion, along with FIFA, that a number needed to be replaced," he said."What was noticed last year during the under-20 Women's World Cup was there was ghosting on the (Commonwealth) pitch."

After consulting the manufacturer and a paint supplier, the only practical solution was to tear out the five-year-old turf, Kobi said. Although 99 per cent of the paint can be stripped off the material, that's not enough, he said. Replacement will start in April and be finished by the end of May, at a cost of about $800,000, Kobi said.

The Canadian Soccer Association is paying half the bill, as well as replacing one of two artificial fields being used for practices in nearby Henry Singer Park. The average lifespan of the Commonwealth surface is eight to 10 years, so the city is getting a good deal, he said. The Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League have been consulted to ensure the new product meets the team's needs.

A scary experience

"The players were pretty scared and frightened and one player mentioned it was like a heart attack because of the pace at which the elevator crashed to the ground. We just give God thanks that we didn't experience the worst," - Garfield Fuller, head of Jamaica's delegation, reflects after nine members of the U-17 squad were caught in an elevator that fell to the ground from the third floor at the Hilton Princess Hotel in San Pedro. The players in Honduras were taking part in the recent CONCACAF U-17 Championship.

New York Cosmos and Cuban National team

The coaches of the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer league (NASL) and Cuba national soccer teams have jointly announced that they will play a June 2 match in Havana. The announcement comes amid talks by Washington and Havana to work towards the restoration of diplomatic relations between the former Cold War foes. The Cosmos will be the first professional American soccer club to play on the island in 37 years. The now-defunct professional Chicago Sting played in Cuba in 1978, while the amateur United States national team played a World Cup qualifier there in 2008. Baseball is Cuba's most popular sport, but soccer has made strides in recent years with many young people sporting jerseys of Real Madrid and Barcelona.

''You can watch a lot of soccer in Cuba, breathe a lot of soccer. This could help us find more talent,'' said Walter Benitez, coach of the Cuban national team.

Stories that are always worth reporting

An 11-year-old Glasgow Celtic supporter has won the Scottish Professional Football League's goal of the month competition by a landslide - collecting 97 per cent of the votes. Jay Beatty - who has Down syndrome - was invited to come on to the pitch at half-time during Celtic's 2-0 win at Hamilton to take a penalty, which he converted to rapturous applause. The Celtic striker Georgios Samaras, currently on loan in Saudi Arabia, announced Beatty as the winner in a video message, in which he said: "Jay my friend, me and you are the same, scoring goals. I'm very happy to announce that you won the goal of the month. Well done pal, great job. I miss you and I love you. See you, Jay."

How does the poor fellow get by?

Lionel Messi's total income for 2014--including his wages at Barcelona and numerous sponsorship deals--stood at a whopping $71.3 million US making him the world's highest paid footballer ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar. That's a load of dough and it makes Messi the second highest paid athlete in the whole wide world in 2014 after the boxer Floyd Mayweather.

Fury Fanatics

Ottawa Fury FC has announced a soccer community outreach program through which every registered soccer player 14 years of age and younger in the Ottawa/Gatineau Region and beyond can attend all Fury FC home matches at TD Place for free. The program, called Fury Fanatics, establishes partnerships between Fury FC and youth soccer clubs where the clubs distribute free memberships to their players.

"What a tremendous opportunity for our players to see the game played at the NASL professional level," said Brian Mason, president of the West Ottawa Soccer Club. "I'm delighted that Fury FC has embraced the youth soccer community with this program and I know our players are extremely excited for the home opener on April 18."

Club leaders are invited to visit OttawaFuryFC.com for more detailed information on the partnership program and registration instructions. This is a great opportunity for local soccer clubs.

Remember, whatever your sport, to win the game is great, to play the game is greater, but to love the game is the greatest of all. And the greatest game is played by more than 250 million players in 200 countries. So, be part of the soccer fan base worldwide of 3.5 billion and counting! Also, remember . . . support local soccer! If you have any comments on the beautiful game please contact me at cottrell@nrtco.net or call 613-587-4856.


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