Monday, August 30, 2010

Canadians making an impression in Germany

For whatever reason, it seems like Canadian players are a good fit in Germany. Paul Stalteri was a fixture for years for Werder Bremen, a span that included a Bundesliga title and a trip to the Champions League. Kevin McKenna, who scored this weekend, has carved out a nice career for himself as a reliable central defender in that country's top tier, previously with Cottbus and now in Cologne. Adam Straith, the youngest player in Stephen Hart's 20-man squad called up for Peru and Honduras, plays a regular 90 minutes for Cottbus in the 2.Bundesliga, quite likely the best second division in the world.

If Canadians enjoy their time in Germany, it seems the fans love them right back. Stalteri was a fan favourite in Bremen. Rob Friend quickly made an impression in his first year with Moenchengladbach, scoring 18 times in 30 matches and securing promotion for his new team. He was rewarded by the adoration of the club's fans, and this tribute video (watch the whole thing: whilte the goals are nice, the captions are even better. There's one that is my obvious favourite -- post it in the comments). Friend, by the way, is fast on his way to becoming a favourite in Germany's capital as today he scored his first league goal in the first half of his first match for Hertha Berlin.

But the reason for this entire post is Olivier Occean. He has made a dream start with his new team, Kickers Offenbach, in the 3.Bundesliga. Scoff if you will at third tier soccer, but I'd argue that this is also probably the best third division in the world. (I'm anti-English soccer. Sue me.) Occean has contributed 6 goals in only 5 matches to date, and I was scouring youtube for highlights of these goals. Instead I found the following tribute from the terraces. It warms my heart:

To be honest I don't even know if they've pronounced his name correctly, but it is great to see Canadians making such an impression. Let's hope the man is given a chance to make an impression on Stephen Hart in the near future.

(And don't worry Ali G, I haven't forgotten about you).

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