Friday, February 06, 2009

Winnipeg boys make good?

It often seems as though there is a soccer talent black hole the extends from the western fringes of the GTA all the way into Alberta. Think of the last few years of MNT call-ups. Can you recall a single one from Manitoba or Saskatchewan?

(This was covered in detail over at Canadian Stretty a while back).

I'm from Winnipeg and I'd love to have a hometown favourite to cheer for, but the last player I can remember with a Winnipeg connection on the men's side of the Canadian program was Marc Bircham (his grandfather worked here for a few weekends one summer, or something like that), and that guy didn't have much of a connection to anything in Canada.

So I was excited to read this in the local rag this week:
FOR the first time, two males from Manitoba have made the same international soccer squad for Canada.

Ezequiel Lubocki has again been selected for the under-17 national team, and he will be joined by Mujtaba Sharifi on the upcoming tour of Tampa, Fla., and Guatemala. This will be Sharifi's first taste of international soccer.

The players will leave on Friday and return on Feb. 17, and will be spending five days in Tampa and five more in Guatemala, where they will play four games of which three will be full international friendlies against the USA and Guatemala. All three countries will compete in World Cup Qualifying in Mexico later this spring.

(Local lads Lubocki, Sharifi will play for Canada - Winnipeg Free Press)
It's only U17, and there are no guarantees these boys will ever play an important match for Canada. But it's something, at least, and may give me another reason to pay attention to U17 qualifying later this year.


The other big news this week is that Caroline Morace has been hired to head up the women's program. I don't follow the ladies that closely, but I know enough to say that this is progress, and I'd like to see a similar move on the men's side in future.

4 comments:

Duane Rollins said...

Rob Friend is from Saskatchewan.

Sam said...

I wrote about this a few weeks ago - outside of the big urban centres there are very few national team players...

Sam said...

http://canadianstretty.blogspot.com/2009/01/developing-canadian-talent.html

J said...

Duane,

You're right and wrong. Friend is born in Saskatchewan, but grew up in Kelowna.


Sam,

I read that post and recall it being excellent. Will edit this post to link it.