Friday, June 20, 2003

Parity a boon for league

CPSL THIS WEEK: Parity a boon for league
Kathy Rumleski, Sports ReporterLondon Free Press

With the CPSL a month into its schedule, league executives say they're pleasantly surprised by the strength of various teams.
"Most of the teams are (stronger), quite honestly this year," says league administrator Stan Adamson. "The teams seem to be a bit more ambitious in winning their games. We're a bit surprised."
Adamson noted that Toronto Supra, Laval Dynamites and the Hamilton Thunder are looking particularly good.
He said that even the North York Astros, who struggled for much of last season before making it to the playoff championship final, are solid this year. The team has added a couple of South Americans and beat London City last Friday, 2-0.
Another team showing potential is the Brampton Hitmen, which tied league champion Ottawa Wizards, who lead the league with a 3-0-1 record.
The Wizards continue to get stronger as they work toward their goal of becoming an A-League team by 2005. They have brought in a couple of players from Africa.
Besides winning the league and playoff championships, the Wizards took home the Canada Cup and had the league's most valuable player in Abraham Osman.
Adamson said that besides regular-league games, the executive also hopes to bring in some international teams to play against CPSL squads in exhibition matches.
Adamson said the Metro Lions and Thunder are currently negotiating with the W-Connection, a top team from Trinidad and Tobago, to bring it here in August.
He said negotiations are going well and the league expects to play host to the club on civic holiday weekend.
City plays the Vaughan Sun Devils tonight at Cove Road field, a team that has only played one game, a 0-0 tie with the Metro Lions.
The second game was postponed last Friday following rain.
The Sun Devils sit with one point and so does City, which has an 0-2-1 record. City's 1-1 tie came two weeks ago against the Mississauga Olympians.
Vaughan and the York Region Shooters merged this season and had a pool of 50 players to choose from.
"I don't think there's any doubt they're stronger," said Adamson. "They say that and we can see it, too.
"They've got a mix of older, veteran players and young players."
The Sun Devils have Chris Stefanazzi in their lineup. The Toronto native was named a first-team all-Canadian last fall as a defender with the Western Mustangs.
Veteran forward Gus Kouzmanis, who led the Sun Devils with 13 goals last year, is no longer in the league.
Another player who didn't return to the Sun Devils is defender Paul Hillman. Hillman is back with City, where he was a captain before joining the Sun Devils in 1998.
Game time tonight is 8:30 p.m. The match can be seen live on Rogers Television.


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