Friday, May 14, 2004

London Gryphons set first exhibition game

By RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

Print up the schedules -- the London Gryphons have themselves an official game.
The new women's soccer club, which is assembling a summer exhibition season before starting W-League play in 2005, will meet the Detroit Jaguars on Friday, July 16, in Motown. Other games against teams from North America's top women's circuit will be announced soon.
Meanwhile, the Gryphons continue to hold workouts and head coach Frank Sauer expects to finalize the roster in the next few weeks.
"We want to have (a half-dozen) games this summer -- we know we'll be on the road for the most part, but we want one or two here in London," Sauer said. "We have an idea what players we want on our team but, right now, we're waiting for the girls who played university soccer this year to come home."
The NCAA considers the W-League amateur so players on university scholarships are eligible to compete.
London will enter the W-League's Midwest division next year, with teams from Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana.
Sauer said one of the benefits of the league is it allows good local talent to stay at home and train in the summer. In his soccer salad days, the former Canadian men's team member remembers travelling to Toronto a couple of times a week for practices.
"You had to do it back then; I knew I would have never been discovered or played on the national team if I didn't get to Toronto," he said.
"Now that London's in the W-League, there will be a closer connection between the city and the women's national team. It will open up opportunities and if one of these girls moves on to play a higher level of soccer, then it's worth it."


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