Friday, May 16, 2003

Exeter ready for challenge

Kathy Rumleski, Free Press Sports Reporter 2003-05-16 02:53:24

His opponent has changed three times, but the manager of the Exeter Centennials hasn't been bothered by the alterations in the senior men's open Canada Cup this weekend.
The Centennials are just looking forward to playing.
"We take it as a challenge," Exeter manager John Rasenberg said. "We're going for the experience and fun, but we'll take it seriously. We know (London City manager and Cup host) Harry (Gauss) well and he's never steered us wrong."
The Canadian Professional Soccer League competition was open to any Ontario or Quebec team for the first time this year and the Centennials paid the $595 fee for a shot at the $10,000 prize.
The preliminary-round games will be played at Cove Road Field, home of London City.
The Centennials were supposed to play Erin Mills and then Toronto GS United, but those teams dropped out for fear some of their players seeking U.S. scholarships may jeopardize their chances by participating in a professional cup following media reports on the issue.
As it stands, Exeter will play Toronto Peniche -- the winner of the Toronto District Soccer League Cup and Super Cup in 2000 -- Monday night.
Eight amateur teams will join the 13 CPSL teams in the hunt for the Canada Cup. All eight amateur teams play this weekend.
"London gets to be part of history again," Gauss said. "It should be great soccer. The teams will initially be proving themselves, that they can play at this level."
The only other local team entered in the competition is London AEK Olympic.
Both Exeter and Olympic play in the Premier Division of the Western Ontario Soccer League.
Olympic plays Woodbridge Azzurri -- the 2000 Ontario Cup champion -- tonight.
Olympic manager Tom Kouzounas said his team has been practising hard for more than three months and is ready to go.
Four teams will emerge from the one-game knockout competition and will be drawn against CPSL clubs during the Canada Day weekend.
Winners from round two will play the next games during the Civic Holiday weekend.
The final round is during the Labour Day weekend, with the final Sept. 1.
Rasenberg said it would be great to get to the second round.
"If our guys come up big, you never know," he said.
The Centennials finished second in the WOSL's First Division to earn promotion to the Premier Division this season.
Tonight: London AEK Olympic vs. Woodbridge Azzurri, 8:30 p.m.
Tomorrow: Kanata vs. Whitby Iroquois, 7 p.m.
Sunday: Toronto Benfica vs. Richmond Hill Real, 7 p.m.
Monday: Exeter Centennials vs. Toronto Peniche, 7 p.m.
Copyright ┬ęThe London Free Press 2001,2002,2003


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