Saturday, 31 March 2012

Sudan vs ROI

Let me start by saying sorry about the lack of other previews. I have been stuck setting up for WCP so I haven't had time. I know that makes me look like a real homer but I will work hard on getting some up today.

Til then here is my quick review of the Men's game last night. Sorry its the only one I saw.

1. I had no idea what to expect going into that game but I did not expect that. Sudan is fast strong and I had no idea they would play so direct. Nobody wants to play that team.

2. That Sudan player should have been sent off in that game for leading with his head super late. It was reckless. I know they want it to be physical but its gotten a little out of control. Guys are getting hurt. Brett Bachelu tore his ACL last year on a bad tackle and Andrew ended up looking like this. Time to protect the players!

3. Some bad mistakes early for Sudan which cost them the game. Hitting the roof is like giving up a goal. You just can't do it. Especially when you have a clinical Beckam-esque free kick taker like myself on.

4. Ryan Mac's volley was the deserving game winner. A rocket to the top right corner might not get beat as the goal of the tournament. Fantastic.

5. ROI were on their heels for a lot of the game and really had to be. There in nothing you can really do about that aerial bombardment. If you block their back from knocking the long ball it hits you, goes out of bounds and they end up launching it in from a kick in instead. No win.

6. I was impressed by what Sudan did. They knew they had height and how to use it. It is an extremely effective game plan. They have some great players on their team that's for sure. Just didn't produce the results last night.

7.How bout when Hans did give out that red and then had to rescind it. Haha got a little ahead of himself there.

8. Have to give a shout out to my boy Jonah for having a solid outing in net. He is not the biggest keeper there is but he did great in the air especially given the amount of bodies that were in that box.
 

WCP Cup Fantasy Draft

Kirk came up with the idea of have a fantasy league for WCP so a couple of us got together and thought we'd give it a try. For those of you who are unfamiliar with fantasy sports. Here is a brief run down.

A fantasy sport is a game where the people playing act as owners to build a team to compete against one another based on the statistics of the real players or teams involved in the actual sport. These points are accumulated through a roster of players selected by the owner of each team the process in which the players are selected is called a fantasy draft.

Here is a brief overview of the rules we are using:
9 spots per roster:  5 Mens players
                             1 Team Defense
                             1 Keeper
                             1 Womens Player
                             1 Injury Sub

Points System:
Each goal - 1 point
Keeper Shutout - 3 points
A win for the keeper - 2 points      Tie - 1 point
Defense starts with 5 points and has a point deducted for every goal allowed
Womens Goals - 3 points
Keeper Goal - 10 points
Yellow Card - 2 points
Red Card - Deduct 10 points
Penalty Shot Miss (includes shootout) - Deduct 2 points
Penalty Shot Goal (includes shootout) - 1 point
Penalty Shot Save (includes shootout) - 2 points

Alright now that there is context to our draft here's how it unfolded. Players are listed in the order they were picked. (ie. First player on every team was that teams 1st pick, 2nd player was 2nd pick etc.)




Boom it's on!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Discount Tickets Available At Facility Tonight 7:30 - 9:00

Tickets will be available at their discounted price tonight ($85), Thursday March 29th from 7:30-9:00 pm, at the facility. Make the most of this opportunity so that I don't have to listen to you all whine about prices!


Chico's Reps Leak New Ad

video

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

WCP Tickets Now On Sale!

2012 Mens - Group A

David Brown and I are going to preview all the groups over the next few days starting obviously with Group A. Here it goes.

Group A appears to be the easiest group to pick. After ROI and Sudan there is a major drop off. I may be the greatest ever at drawing my pool because we seem to end up with the easiest pools ever every year. Should be a walk through for the top 2.

ROI
Having won the tournament multiple times ROI will look to continue their success. A lot of turnover on their roster, ROI have brought in some new names and faces but will likely make a strong push for the final.

Strengths:
ROI are probably the deepest team in the tournament. Most of their backups would be starters on any other team. They have a lot of very skilled players and a sound keeper. Physically they are one of larger teams as well and won't be afraid to getting into a pushing match.

Weaknesses:
This is not the powerhouse ROI team of last year. They have lost a lot of firepower from last year especially up front. It remains to be seen where their goals will come from. With so much turnover you can expect a bit of a learning curve.

What David Thinks:
ROI will make it through the group with ease. Although losing Brett and Tomchuk to Poland and myself to injury there are other guys on the roster that score goals. What separates ROI from any other team in WCP is the depth of the squad. I do not see ROI getting tested to much in this group.

Projected Finish Within Pool:
Mike - 1st
David - 1st

Sudan
Sudan was the Cinderella story of last year's tournament. No one knew anything about them but they quickly became a fan favorite playing Laos closely and beating El Salvador. Had it not been for a loss against Colombia (nailed that spelling) they would have made it to the knock out stage. 

Strengths:
This is one of the most physically gifted teams in the tournament. Extremely athletic, they rely on speed and the ability to seemingly score rippers from anywhere on the pitch. They have shown that they have a deadly counter attack as we all learned in watching them play ES last year.

Weaknesses:
I think anyone could answer this one: Goalkeeping. It was horrendous at best. Some really poor goals allowed especially the one against Colombia. They also are slightly reliant on several key players (Tong Tong). Not sure if that will be the case this year.

What David Thinks:
Last year I unfortunately didn't get to watch a Sudan game. From what I've heard they are fast, strong and exciting to watch. I think they will be the toughest opponent that ROI face but don't see them upsetting last years champs.

Projected Finish Within Pool
Mike - 2nd
David - 2nd

Botswana
Botswana are another favorite among the fans. They play with the enjoyment and enthusiasm that the game is meant to be played with. They also seem to improve every year I would expect that to continue.

Strengths:
This is a hard working team. They pressure all over the field and that can result in turnovers as it did in their recent exhibition game against Jamaica. They are a sound tackling team who can win games if they can bury their chances.

Weaknesses:
That being said they don't always finish their chances which is heartbreaking for Botswana fans. Pressuring full field can leave their team a little exposed at the back and that leads to goals. Sometimes they get running around and seem a little bit out of control.

What David Thinks:
Another team I do not know too much about. I think I played against them 2 years ago in round robin. They seem to lack technique and organization. But there strengths are they don't let you have too much time on the ball and are definitely not afraid to throw in some tough tackles.

Projected Finish Within Pool
Mike - 4th
David - 4th

Somalia
This is a team I literally know nothing about except for one persons scouting report so I will run off that.

Strengths:
I heard them described as a "less skilled Sudan" so if they have 1/5th of the athleticism of Sudan they should be alright.

Weaknesses:
Being described as a less skilled Sudan is hardly a compliment. I wouldn't say Sudan is exactly known for their ball skills so they could be a bit all over the place. New teams tend to have trouble getting accustomed to this tournament. I would expect some struggles.

What David Thinks:
Ive heard nothing about this team at all. Therefore, 6th place.

Projected Finish Within Pool
Mike - 6th
David - 6th

Scotland
Scotland have become the perennial whipping boys of this tournament. I think their closest game might have been about 10-0 last year. Frankly, I am surprised they are still around. Sorry.

Strengths:
Youth. This team has gotten much much younger and though I don't expect to see huge strides this year it bodes well for their future. At least they are making strides at heading in the right direction.

Weaknesses:
Sorry to be blunt here but being Scotland. Until I see major improvements all over the park I am not going to single out one particular weakness.

What David Thinks:
Scotland have WCP experience, that is why I have placed them above Somalia. They seem young and always keen to improve there squad but so far haven't proved too much.

Projected Finish Within Pool
Mike - 5th
David - 5th

Serbia
I think the thing people deem most note worthy about Serbia is the rumor they will bring in players from Winnipeg every year and they their failure to do so. They are usually a middle of the pack team and I don't expect that too change.

Strengths:
Serbia really does have a couple nice players especially in the middle of the park. That alone will be enough to get them by half the teams in this pool. They will be able to score some goals. They also should have solid goal keeping which is a big help.

Weaknesses:
Defensively they are not as solid as they need to be. They are an aging squad and much of that age lies in their back line. They don't have much depth after their top guys either and will tire out as the games go on.

What David Thinks:
Serbia have a couple of good players that score goals and run the middle of the park for them. There weakness last year was goalkeeping and there defense. I don't think Serbia can cope with the attack of ROI or Sudan but I don't expect them to lose to anyone else in the group.

Projected Finish Within Pool
Mike - 3rd
David - 3rd

Pool Projections
Mike -
ROI
Sudan
Serbia
Botswana
Scotland
Somalia

David -
ROI
Sudan
Serbia
Botswana
Scotland
Somalia

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Q & A with Kevin Holness/Chico Commercial

Kevin has graciously offered to take some time out of his incredibly busy schedule to answer a few questions I submit. Instead of me just sending in questions I thought I would attempt to let the readers submit questions and from there I will pick a few to send to Kev. Deadline will be tomorrow sometime so lets have at it. NOT ALL QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED!

Also Julio has recently directed me towards a commercial released by Chico's media team so I thought I would share.

video

Team Preview El Salvador - Sean Riggs

Best win? Worst loss? For your team in history of the tournament.
Best Win -Like Kapila it was my first year with ES last year. Obviously our best win was France. It was a heavyweight battle where we went toe to toe. Unfortunately with a minute left they made 2 errors in 10 seconds: First they booted the ball into the ceiling giving us a 14 yard direct kick. Secondly, they set up an 8 man wall covering the entire net. A smart move in theory bu Tristan couldn't even see the ball and we just had to hit the net.

Worst loss -Sudan was a crazy game. I can't remember what the score was, but we were winning and they scored and we weren't too concerned. Then they scored again and again and again..... That's what happens if you take a team lightly, leave them in a game and they get momentum. The atmosphere was great that night as obviously 98% of the crowd wanted the upset.

Tranfers. Who's in? Who's out?
In- Scott Mailk, Carson MacDonald, Dallas Stern

Out - Nobody significant, just Julio and Chico
 
Who is your most important player?
This may seem surprising to some but I would say Will Torres. He's a great leader who leads by outworking every player on the pitch. He lives, breathes, eats, sleeps, bleeds El Salvador and his passion and hard work rub off on everybody. We may not have the best team, but try to come in and outwork us.

What are you team's strengths?
Great intensity, strong defensively, plus some speed and a few talented attackers. The main thing we have is that we don't really have any "stars" out there. We are a true team and fight hard to win.

If you could have one player from any other team who would it be? Why?
This guy is one of the top players I've played with but doesn't get the credit he deserves: Ryan Mcallister. There may be better skilled guys out there, or flashier guys, but the guy leads by example and is a natural born winner.

Realistically where do you expect to finish?
I think with ROI somewhat diminished this is the year that a few teams could sweep through and take it. Do I think we're a favorite to win? I wouldn't go that far. But I do think that we have a chance to win. If we work hard and get the bounces who knows? I would be disappointed if we don't make it to the semis.

Who would you like to see win besides your team?
I root for the underdog, so anyone but ROI or Laos I guess. Honestly I don't really care, just like going down and seeing everyone and the atmosphere is great!

My take: First and foremost , it pained me to type up the that first paragraph of Riggs talking talking about his own freekick. Hopefully me acknowledging it is all the credit he needs. Now on the team, I heard a rumor that ES was could be in trouble this year because they are having trouble getting the numbers needed. This could be complete hearsay but I am throwing it out there. Anyway, if ES fields the team I believe they will I feel like they will make another solid run. They have a lot of skilled players: Ronny, Rolfe, Jerson, etc. and are always extremely well organized and tough to break down. They are in a tough pool though and it could be a bumpy road but I still expect them to make playoffs.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Sundays Exhibition Games

A lot of exhibition games yesterday and I am sure there are some people curious about the scores. If people could help out and add the ones I am missing I will post those as I learn them.

Canada 8ish - Scotland 0 - Summary in comments

Poland 4 - Mike Collins Selects 4 - Poland played I group of guys a put together with the game ending up 4-4 as Poland scored in the last minute to tie. We were up 4-1 at half but ran out of steam. Good game.

Germany 3 - Colombia 2 - Germany is in trouble. They had no distinguishable formation or tactic other than to kick it long and on net. Colombia looked decent, moving the ball well and were in good shape. Maybe a bit of a sleeper team.

France 8 - Hungary 1 - Maybe this was the score? I don't even think the France guys had any idea how many it was. Not much to write here. France = good, Hungary = Not Good. Does that mean Jamaica = Really not good?

Jamaica 3 - Botswana 1 - I managed to watch about 10 mins of this game before I was forced to leave not want to have soccer forever ruined for me. Botswana was taking it to Jamaica for those 10 mins and were up 1-0 when I left. I don't know what happened after that, can only assume Jamaica got it together and played the way you'd think they'd be able too. They might be getting worried.

Send in the rest.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Team Preview ROI - Shaan Kapila

Best win? Worst loss? For your team in history of the tournament.
Best Win - Beating Laos 3-0 in the finals certainly showed how strong of a team ROI was. It could have been even worse if Evan didn't come up with some key stops.

Worst loss -Since last year was my 1st year and we didn't lose, it wouldn't be fair to not bring up our semi final clash with ES. ES came out with a game plan and executed it perfectly. Julio put on arguably one of the best defensive showings in WCP history and stopped our explosive attack. Game was a thriller to watch and be part of.

Tranfers. Who's in? Who's out?
In- Garrett Meier, Shawn Dooley, Ryan McGavigan, Julio, Riley Korthius, Ryan Mcallister, Jordy Schidlowsky, Kule Kambere

Out - Jay Tomchuk, Benno Looft, David Brown, Brett Levis, Jeff Friesen, Adam Laing
 
Who is your most important player?
Losing Jay, Brett and David is going to have a huge impact on our team. Nathan Reis is going to have to step up and fill the shoes left by our top 3 goal scorers of last year. Jonah deserves honorable mention as he has bailed out our team in the past (penalties vs ES). He's one of the top keepers in this tournament and will be more relied upon this tournament than last.

What are you team's strengths?
Ireland has always been known to have an all-round strong team and this year shouldn't be much different. Scoring as many goals as we did last year won't occur but we still have attacking options.

If you could have one player from any other team who would it be? Why?
Brett Levis would be a top player on any team, and he showed that be being one of our most dynamic players last year. He's an all round player who rarely has an off game. So having him back from Poland would help a lot.

Realistically where do you expect to finish?
It wouldn't be right to make the finals every year and not expect to make it again. It will be a tougher run, but we should make it.

Who would you like to see win besides your team?
Hopefully not Afghanistan... anyone else is alright.

My take: This ROI team has had a lot of changes since last year but we should be able to remain a strong side. Yeah losing some strong players hurts but I have replaced them with solid talent. As for Shaan's best win and worst loss I would differ by saying beating France in 2-1 in the semi final 2 years ago was a big one for me since they had a few defected ROI players. As for worst loss, there is nothing that can remove the embarrassment of losing to a that awful Norway squad. The strength of our team is definitely depth in that whoever is on we can count on them to get the job done whether it's a starter or not. I see ROI making a trip to the finals once again but coming up short in 4-1 loss to Poland.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

15 Quick Random WCP CUP Thoughts.

1. I am still not sure I understand why teams practice or play so many exhibition games leading up to this tournament. I have seen absolutely no correlation between number of practices and success and they often lead to unattainable expectations.

2.One team that is raising their expectations is Nigeria. Nigeria is a team that has been getting a lot of pre tournament hype because of some impressive victories

3. However, I watched Nigeria vs Jamaica last night and it was scrappy to say the least. Jamaica won 4-3 but it probably deserved to end in a tie. Very little defensive shape or overall plan.

4. And I can't reiterate this point enough. If you don't have a reliable keeper you are screwed.

5. On the other side of the spectrum is Poland who continues to try and lower the bar by bombing in exhibition games. We aren't fooled Poland, we know what you're up too.

6. Poland will get another crack at it this Sunday @ 6 pm when they take on team I have set up. I am sure they will be wanting to stick it to me.

7. A lot of talk about who the best players in Regina are and I can't lie I have been shocked by some of the answers. Sometimes I wonder what people see when they are watching?

8. If so and so is such a great player then how they consistently wind up on the losing side of things. It's the same people who win all the trophies and there is a reason for that. They're better.

9. So I have made my own Top10 list in no particular order. There is two criteria I have set out in order to be one of the best players in Regina. YOU HAVE TO BE IN REGINA. And I am not naming keepers because everyone knows who the best keepers are.

10. So in no particular order: Danny Marchinko, Ryan McGavigan, Jarvis (I am not spelling that last name), Adam Rolfe, Kevin Murphy, Mark Wernikowski, Brett Bachelu, Garrett Meier, Lee Mooney, Kevin Holness.

11. Literally put no thought into that, just what came off the top of my head. I assume their will be people you feel I have omitted.

12. I am sure not everyone actually knows the keepers so hear are the Top 5/only Regina ones worth mentioning. Jonah, Tristan, Peto, Evan and Mario.

13. Has anyone else noticed that Greece has become a very quiet team. They are usually on here commenting about their team unity and posting roughly-edited videos. Where did you go Greeks?

14. Which team does everyone have labeled as the surprise team of the tournament? I would have to go with Canada. I could easily see them making it out of their group and beating any team from group D. Semi-final appearance would be great for them.

15. This note is for one idiot. You can continue to write on here that I delete your comments but they are not going to be published if they are racist, abusive, or have cursing in them no matter what language. Keep trying though. #neanderthal

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Team Preview Colombia - Paul Pablo

Best win? Worst loss? For your team in history of the tournament.
Best Win -Last year against Sudan. After watching them play Laos so well but losing, and the shear size (height) of their team I knew it would be a difficult team to play against. Especially when our average height is probably 5'8. But we played great defense, man marking, and tried as much as possible to not let them shoot from anywhere. Even though the game was a shooting frenzy at the end on us we still came out on top 2-1.

Worst loss - Austria last year. We just didn't come out strong or play as a team right off the bat. If we had won this game, it would have given us an even better possibility of actually making it out of our group. We just had to either tie or beat ES, because they lost to Sudan. Which I thought we had a chance of doing for sure but we couldn't get the ball in the net that day. I remember Spencer saved at least 3 goals if not 4 on the goal line using his massive from our shot and free kicks.

Tranfers. Who's in? Who's out?
In- Nothing to note on either.
Out-

Who is your most important player? 
Obviously my brother Paco is our most important player. He can do it all. Play attacking mid or defense, he's a playmaker, his dribbling, moves, control with the ball is so fast you think he's for sure going the one way, but he goes the other way and is gone. Has the most insane shots I've seen and rarely gives up the ball. And I'll give my other brother Carlos some credit, he can be pretty good, just needs to put on some weight and move a little faster.

What are you team's strengths?
Well this year our main line of guys should be in decent shape, because we have been doing boot camp sessions since about January. We are definitely starting to play more as a team, every year we get a little stronger. In recent years we have grown more comfortable with each other so there is a good team vibe. I should also mention our fan base, it may be small, but they are there every game in bright yellow jerseys cheering us on.

If you could have one player from any other team who would it be? Why?
I'm going to say the Patterson twins. As we all know, they come as a package. Every year I ask them to come out for my team, when they feel they've had enough of Germany and want to switch things up. Any team would be lucky to have them and they are good friends of mine.

Realistically where do you expect to finish?
Hard question, I'd like to say this is our year, and every year we win one more game than last year. So to get out of our pool but no further. Realistically probably 3rd place in our pool, but I've been gone for the past couple months, so maybe we will get out and make some sweet upsets on the way.

Who would you like to see win besides your team?
I'd like to see an underdog team win it, just for pure entertainment. Realistically though, Poland is my pick.

My take: Colombia is in a tough place this year. That is not an easy pool there in. Colombia are one of those teams where the more they stick around in a game the more their confidence grows and the harder they are to put away. Paco is a player who is going to make something out of nothing at least once a game and that's the danger in playing. Just like last year I see the playing spoilers and beat one of Afghanistan, Canada, Jamaica or Laos. I still think 2nd or 3rd will be a tall order for them in this tough group but wish them the best.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Team Preview Poland - Aleks Wosik

Best win? Worst loss? For your team in history of the tournament.
Best Win -7-1 win vs. Norway when needing to win by 5 to get through to the 2nd round
Worst loss -  A lot to 1 against Canada four or five years ago.

Tranfers. Who's in? Who's out?
In-Jay Tomchuk, Brett Levis
Out-None

Who is your most important player? 
Michal Bandula (Goalkeeper)

What are you team's strengths?
Very physical, and extremely fast pace and high intensity.

If you could have one player from any other team who would it be? Why?
Jarvis, calm, solid at the back, great midfielder and good shot.

Realistically where do you expect to finish?
Not reaching the semi finals would be considered under-achieving.

Who would you like to see win besides your team?
Anyone other than Ireland and Laos.

My take: It's pretty much a forgone conclusion that Poland are going to win this thing and here's why. They are already a top 3 team and that before that added the two best strikers in the tournament. They are also in one of, if not the easiest pool. I would argue that Brett Levis is now their most important player because form the exhibition games I have seen they have relied on him heavily. It will be interesting to see Brett adapts to Poland's style or if Poland is forced to adapt to Brett's style. Either way they will be a different team than last year. For Poland only making the final would be under-achieving, only making the semi would be a catastrophe. 

Monday, 19 March 2012

Team Preview Germany - Kirk Evans

Best win? Worst loss? For your team in history of the tournament.
Best Win - Haven't had our best win yet, it will come this year in the finals.
Worst loss - Anytime we've lost too Laos in the quarters.

Tranfers. Who's in? Who's out?
In- Josh Forsberg, Kent Mcdonald, Nick Hipp, Karl Hanna
Out- Dallas Patzer, Elliot Debolt, Tyler Szekely, Brad Felber, Pat Ince

Who is your most important player? 
We do not have a player who we consider our most important. Every player is important in the role they play.

What are you team's strengths?
Team is based as a whole and do not rely on a single player to win us games. Strong goaltender with great distribution. A plethora of attacking players who are scoring threats every time they touch the ball.

If you could have one player from any other team who would it be? Why?
Benno Looft. He's pure German and who wouldn't want Benno to anchor their team at the back?

Realistically where do you expect to finish?
Not reaching the semi finals would be considered under-achieving.

Who would you like to see win besides your team?
Sudan

My take: Can't say I am on the same page as Kirk on many of his points. I do agree that I can't remember many big wins but I do remember a lot of losses. I am not sure that Germany has "plethora" of attacking options as I have seen many of them play this year and they are not exactly setting the league a-fire. For me reaching the semi finals would be a great achievement for Germany. I certainly see them as a Top 8 team but not a Top 4 team. Whoever finishes 2nd in this pool will likely play ROI in the next round so that will make the semis tough.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Team Preview Laos - Scotty Myrah

Alright time to stop fooling around and get to the team previews. I am trying to get all of the teams to fill out these 7 questions but don't have contact info for all the teams. It's interesting to hear from a teams perspective what they are hoping to achieve. So if you see this and want your team previewed fill out the questions and email it to me at officialblogservices@hotmail.com Thanks

Best win? Worst loss? For your team in history of the tournament.

Best Win - 2010 final vs ROI. Good back and forth game that ultimately ended 3-2 in a shootout giving us our first championship.
Worst Loss - 2009 Quarterfinal  vs ES. lost 2-1 via shootout but for anyone watching the game we were completely outplayed. Mention to ROI for toying with us last year in the final.

Tranfers. Who's in? Who's out?

In- Josh Northey, Math Leung, Zach Robert-Winters
Out- None

Who is your most important player? 
Arguably Northey cause missing him last year was a factor, but ultimately Evan Campbell. Has kept us in tons of big games and is a top keeper in the tournament.

What are you team's strengths?
Pace and high energy, we use it to our advantage to attack the wings. Having Boun and Northey out there definitely puts teams on their heels and opens things up all over the field.

If you could have one player from any other team who would it be? Why?
Jay Tomchuk. Our only real struggle is up front and having the best striker in the tournament would for sure put us over the top.

Realistically where do you expect to finish?
Top 4

Who would you like to see win besides your team?
An underdog for sure. Someone new to the playoffs. Us, ROI, Poland and ES are obvious favorites for the Top 4, so if we fell out it would be nice to have a less recognized team have some success.


My Take: Scotty pretty much nailed most of the points here. I would say Northey is probably their most important player as we all saw what happened to Laos last year without him. The two areas that Laos lacks a bit is there depth and size. Could use a bit more at certain position as it is a very fast game and players could use a rest. They are also a team that is going to get bullied a bit because of their physical stature as we saw last year against Greece. Top 4 for Laos seems very realistic and winning it all is not at all out of the question. Should be another strong year for Laos.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

5 Things I'd Like To See Happen At WCP - Polish Playboy

1. Julio Get Embarrassed - As Julio has become more of a central figure on the blogs, and more people started to read them, controversy has swirled like a hurricane. Some love him, some hate him. The latter are probably dying to get a piece of him on the field. personally, I've come to have a funny respect for my favorite new character from Jersey Shore, but despite this respect I would love to put up a challenge to provide some incentive to take Julio on one v one whenever you get near him. If anyone can meg this tool and score I'll buy them a team pitcher. Has to be same play, if you just meg him I will buy you a schooner. Make him fall on his butt and watch out..... we might have a hole in the field.

2. Creative And Fun Celebrations - The 1st year of this tournament was in the old facility. Mike scored a goal against ES and jumped on the boards in front of the ES fans with his arms spread as if he were on the bow of the Titantic. This really got them going and they started cheering louder and louder and eventually pushed ES to the win. It doesn't seem like people remember or even know that there are no cards given for excessive celebrations, as long as they are neither vulgar nor disrespectful.

3. A New Flavor In The Final - Someone finally take out Ireland before they reach their 7th final in a row. Enough said.

4.Less Whining At And About The Refs - Every team is guilty of this, and granted that in the heat of the moment emotions prevail over cool heads but the relentless abuse some of these officials get is ridiculous. We're all grown men, act like it for the love of god. Crying about the calls after the fact won't change the refs mind and it makes you look foolish. I'm definitely a repeat offender in this category but I'm working on it. On the other hand, I do hope they assign the important playoff games to the experienced refs because some of these guys just can't handle the pressure and will lose control and blow matches.

5. Extra Point - Julio has purchased tap shoes and will now be barraging opponents with exaggerated leg lifts. He will be relentless in his pursuit of being the prettiest on the field. What would happen if ES got jerseys without collars? I think it's best we not even put those worrisome thoughts in that thick head of his!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Top 7 Sask Soccer Bromances

1. CGFL guys - For those of you who are unfamiliar with CGFL it stands Canada Games For Life. But it might as well stand for Constant Guy Flavored Love. More than a decade ago these guys played on a team, fell in love with one another, and continue to want the whole world to know it. They are still churning out new gear and teams to show their devotion to one another. If I knew how to make a heart shape I would do it now.  

2. The Patterson Twins - Literally putting the bro in bromance these two can't do anything without one another. From birth, they have been inseparable and it is always assumed that if you ask one of them to play you are actually asking both of them.

3. Braden Husdal and 2007 - Somehow, back in 2007, Norway managed to win the WCP Cup, forever tainting the significance of winning and giving hope to every future underdog. Braden is not about to let anyone forget about it either. Constant reminiscing seems to be all Norway has going for it but they continue to play the role of champions... whatever keep your relationship fresh.

4. Julio and Himself - Besides the CGFL guys I don't think there is a bigger love affair than Julio has for himself. I imagine him living in a house of mirrors so that he can vainly stare at himself all day. Julio actually quite often refers to himself in 3rd person. Perhaps though, its Julio's narcissistic ways which make him so darn entertaining to listen too.

5. Kevin and Anyone Jamaican - Kevin must be in love with anyone who's Jamaican because as far as I can tell his team has never cut a player. Not only do they not cut anyone but they seem to give everyone equal playing time. Watching Korthius get subbed off for 7 mins to put on some plug is a definitive sign of love.

6. The Oneill Guys - I don't know exactly what happened in this north end Regina High School but these guys seem forever bonded. They continue to reconvene their team for tournaments etc. It was probably their time together or some sort of event which fused the group together. In my mind it likely played out much like the movie "The Outsiders" but I could be way off  on that...

7.The Worker Bees And Kevin - The worker bees will really do have an undying love for Kevin and there is only way to truly profess this love. Of course that is to either adorn a black AC Jacket or a Blue WCP Jacket. Aww... it's just like high school with Letterman Jackets. Wait am I a worker bee? Hmm....

Monday, 12 March 2012

Things We Hate About WCP - Nathan Reis Edition

So hate may be a strong word but I think its fair to be critical of the things we don't like in hopes that improvements may be made.

Mike's List

1) U-18 Division - I have brought this up before but will continue to pile on here. There is such flawed logic in making this division. If you are not good enough to make a Men's team, some of which are absolutely pitiful, you shouldn't play. The answer is definitely not to make a division for you play in. Sorry but I don't want to watch the players who can't make the benches of the bad Men's teams. So wrong.

2) Being Confronted By People I Don't Know - I don't know why people think because I run this blog or play on ROI that they can come and take up their rift with me. Over Xmas I was at a very formal party where one of the guests came up to me and decided that this was the appropriate occasion to verbally lambast me. For over 10 minutes, while his anger increased, we covered everything from how ROI was was too good, too how I single handedly ruined the tournament and that he would never play again. Bravo.
 
3) It's Not The Real World Cup - The amount of stock people put into this tournament is nuts. If you lose in this tournament it's not the end of the world you just go back to playing actual soccer and get on with it. If winning the WCP Cup is the crowning achievement in you soccer career then you probably haven't had much of a career. Sorry to burst your bubble. People need to appreciate this tournament for what it is, a fun, 3 week tournament to hang out with your friends and play some ball. Oh, and if you are training year round (or at all actually) as a team for this thing, well I just don't get the point.

4) The Bad Teams - I will get straight to the point here and this may not be a popular opinion but there are too many teams in this tournament. The discrepancy between the good teams to the bad teams is way bigger than it needs to be. You can't argue that if you combined teams like Italy, Scotland, Northern Ireland into one team that they wouldn't be better for it. In my opinion its time to trim the fat.

5) RSA Fees - The RSA is just a ridiculous group to deal with. Last year I payed $900 to WCP for our team to play. I payed the RSA over $1000 to sign up 11 out of town players. Does this seem completely unjust to anyone else? I am not real happy about seeing my money put to use by paying their employee to facebook at the front desk while I set up the nets for them. In contrast to play in the Saskatoon World Cup the Saskatoon District Soccer Association charges me $2. Talk about having your hand in the cookie jar. 

6) Handicapping Rules - I know I am beating a dead horse here but this is an issue for me. I know rules like no fouls, kick-ins, and having an extra man on the field are needed so that 70% of the teams are able to compete but as long as I'm in the other 30% I am in favor of changing them. #LetTheBeatDownsBegin

7)People Who Think Megs Are The Greatest Thing In The World - This really irks me. I know megs look good but I feel I need to clarify something here. MEGS ARE NOT GOALS. They rarely work, especially in such close quarters, and trying one in your own end is stupid. If I hear one single person yell "OLE" after a meg during the tournament I am going to hunt you down.

Nate's List

Keep in mind that I am by no means trashing the tournament itself, as I think we can all agree it's an annual highlight of soccer in Saskatchewan. Hell, if I didn't like it, I wouldn't spend half of April in Regina. This segment merely provides an opportunity to state some of the lowlights that seem to get under my skin.

1) Players who think Sir Alex Ferguson is in the building looking for the next Roy Keane. Breaking someone's leg isn't getting you scouted: in fact, nothing in this tournament is. Take it for what it is, and play for the great atmosphere and decent competition.

2) Extending on the notion of taking the tournament for what it is, do so off the pitch as well as on. If I hear one player tell me they can't have a pint or ten after the match because they have a game next Wednesday, don't be surprised if you end up with your share of those pints dumped on your head by night's end. Luckily for me, this is by no means a concern on my team (ROI).

3) Player's girlfriends/wives from other teams punching me and pushing me off a stage for no apparent reason.

4) National Anthems. I know the tournament is very multi-culturally themed, given the fact that it takes on the World Cup style format, but the anthems are a drag. Some of them, Italy for an example, seem to last an eternity. Does anyone actually look forward to them? Maybe the time could be used for an additional 5-10 minutes warm-up. Thoughts? 

5) People complaining that "so-and-so is not of a certain descent", and thus should not be allowed to play for the team they are on. Granted, I did not play the first 2 or 3 years of the tournament and am under the impression the reins have been loosened a bit on where players are permitted to play. But regardless of which team wins it all, there aren't going to be any parades in Berlin, Paris, Oslo, etc. The whole idea behind having teams as countries is for the fans to show support with colors, flags, and whatever else may be relevant for the given nation. Play for your team, don't pay attention to where others are playing, and get on with it.

See ya'll in 3 weeks. Cheers

Nate

Friday, 9 March 2012

7 Things To Love About WCP - Dwayne Gareau Edition

 Dwayne Gareau (ROI) is the next in line in my series of guest writers. His post is a little lovey-dovey for my liking so Nathan Reis and I will follow up with the much more cynical 5 Things We Hate about WCP tomorrow.

1) Rumors - There is no shortage of rumors leading up to the tournament and even throughout the tournament. The who will be playing for who rumor or will the out of town players make it down for that game rumor. The who is carrying an injury rumor. The who posted as an anonymous poster rumor. The endless amount of rumors are always entertaining.

2) The Voice/Music/Fans/Volunteers - I love walking into the center and hearing the music and energy and of course the gooooooaaaalllll announced over the loud speaker. Although drastically over used throughout the soccer world hearing it adds to the atmosphere and of course adds to the tournament. The tournament only works and has success due to the commitment and cotribution of these people. Last year for instance walking off the pitch to our drunken ROI fans giving us high fives and having them be actually happier than us after winning a match. Of course it was probably due to being so intoxicated that they were just in that happy drunk phase but none the less they were there supporting us.

3) Players Actually Feeling Like Somebody's/Celebrations - 95% of the people in this tournament have not had the chance to play in front of crowds this size and actually feeling like a somebody. It is a highlight for all types of players including the "no goods" who are just there to take in the atmosphere and enjoy feeling like a somebody in the game of soccer. Watching a "no good" score a big goal is actually something I enjoy seeing. Their celebrations are usually quite animated and usually lame but still you have to love how good they must be feeling in that moment. The chest pumping or running over to their supporters to say "ya I did".

4) Players/Teams Surprising Me - I have been an active player in Saskatchewan since I was a kid (now 31 years of age). This team allows some players to step up and surprise me. I usually already know the very good players in Saskatchewan, both young and old, but sometimes someone will come out of no where who I have not seen and I take notice. I was a strong advocate for my Huskie Alumni team to pick up Jarvis after seeing his work rate and ability to defend Korthius in the Canada vs Jamaica game last year. Jarvis did a very good job in that match and made me a believer and in turn a good addition. Also, guys like Lee Mooney stepped onto the scene potting a couple great goals while gracing everyone with his first taste of action is Saskatchewan. Unfortunately, I was not able to catch any of the Sudan games, but apparently their physical and come out of nowhere competitiveness made them a surprise and supported by the neutral fans as everyone loves a good underdog story. (See Jeremy Lin)

5)Camaraderie - People can bicker and hate on each other as much as they like but this tournament brings a soccer community together. Sure not everyone is going to get along and be friends, but mostly everything is left on the field as it should be. For those guys/gals that allow things to carry over off the field shame on you as that is not the intentions of an event like this. It is wonderful to see after a game teams and fans gathering together upstairs or in the stands to watch another match and have some beverages as they discuss what went right or wrong and how they plan on making adjustments and such as they move forward. This tournament is unique to Regina and Saskatchewan and it is a wonderful event that continues to grow and bring together the soccer community.

6) Bahia - Kash has a new haircut and his flow will no longer be with us. He is in Edmonton but he is hopefully going to be back for a few games. I also room at the Bahia household while I am in Regina so they deserve special thanks.

7) Refs - Love them or hate them, they deserve a mention as this is easily one of the most underappreciated positions in the whole sporting world!

Good luck to everyone and enjoy the tournament.

 

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Julio's Top 5 Rivals According to Julio

Mike: A part of me is slightly reluctant to post this because I am not sure how it will be received but gotta find out somehow I suppose. The one and only..... Julio.

Although Julio is in a class of his own... Julio does have a few rivals to mention.. some are known others will be gladly surprised at the love Julio doesn't have for you!

At the end of the day, most of this stuff is a complete joke... so before you freak out and get your little panties in a bunch... rememberthe blog is for entertainment, and I am a main attraction... so I got to bring some sugar and spice.

Don't take it personal, as at the end I don't really hate anyone.. I was presented with the opportunity to write on this topic and I felt like I should run with it.Lets get the party started. Boom.

1.Dufus Husdal (Braden Husdal) - Why do I chirp DUFUS so much you may be wondering? Well I guess this would be the perfect opportunity to answer that question. Growing up I was never a big DUFUS fan. The tipping point was some of the write ups and questionable practices that he allowed on his blog. DUFUS hypes up Norway in ways that you would think that Norway had never lost a game in the tournament, and that their closest match was a 10-1 win over ROI. DUFUS criticizes every other team and rarely gives credit where credit is due. I think last year he barely put ES in the top 10, and to say the least ES was a top 10 team last year. What really heated my dislike for DUFUS was the fact that he would skew the blog. DUFUS would delete any posts that proved him wrong/made him or Norway look bad. But most embarrassingly, he would let posts against people he disliked be left on, no matter how offensive they were. DUFUS liked to chirp me on his little blog, but little has he realized that I won the war. I overwhelmed his blog with posts last year, that his blog activity is so low and with people not wanting to post there, that he may as well call it a day and realize that his blogging days are long behind him. As for DUFUS being a soccer player; all I have to say is that I hope I am having a good day when we play Norway cause I'd love to dangle him left and right and see wht he says.... as I know if I have my typical off night he won't shut up all week about it! Norway vs ES ..... A must watch game!

2) Bart (The Polish Prince) - In my opinion Bart makes a hell of a mascot! Keep that guy in his tight little pleated skirt with that dynamite face paint, and have him work the flag pole like a champ. That is when Bart is at his finest! An exceptional talent as a mascot as that face paint alone is epic. I would love to see a duel for the mascot of the tournament between him, Flavio, and the Scottish guy with the kilt. Bart starting beak me as an anonymous poster and then continued to beak me during the 3rd place match last year. I am just returning the love for good old Bart, but I guess he's become camera shy! I wonder how Bart will be able to play now that there is extra pressure put on him to perform. I am going to guess he is going to be BRUTAL. Bart likes to mock what I do with the ball. A dream final would be ES vs Poland and me taking a run at Bart 1 v 1, beating him to cut into the middle with a ridiculous leg pump, as he calls it, and sniping the game winner as I celebrate in front of the WHOLE Polish nation! Now that would be an epic ending to the tourney. I can just see the tears flowing down Bart's little face right now. Poland vs ES. Dream final!

3) Greeks/ The Greek God of Videos (Zeus) - I like the fact that the Greeks have a video hype man: I can respect that much. I feel that if there was more video footage flying around it would make the marketing for this event that much more epic. Sadly, I am a self proclaimed video junkie and I feel disrespected when I see someone flaunt a mediocre piece of editing and call it a masterpiece! I am really hoping that the Greek God of Videos steps up his game and posts an acceptable video as then that would mean I would have to produce some magic of my own to compete with the little Spartan. I'm ready to dine in hell baby, are you?
Alot was made last year about my subtle Greek beaks. They were funny little one liners but I guess to expert blogger David Brown: Greece vs ES is a battle waiting to happen! I live for the games where the crowd is at its finest and will try to make it to the Greek game. I want the Hellas fans too boo their little hearts out. I want to see this work ethic and intensity that the Greek's mention they have. But ultimately, I want this game to be a thriller. Greece made a magical run last year and I am not going to lie, I was a little heartbroken at how they lost to Laos. Greece vs ES. Don't miss it!

4) Rory Edmundson - This guy doesn't deserve much of a paragraph. I will say this... I do dive on occasion, and I know many other players do as well, yet I dive when I have the ball and someone has made an effort to try to tackle me. Good old Rory thought pulling a Rivaldo in last years quarters would be a great idea. I hadn't even touched the guy, nor was the ball in our half and Rory was down on his knee, face covered as if he'd been shot.... embarrassing and disgusting to say the least. I hope by shedding light on his antics more people will notice how blatantly he dives even when no one is around. Hopefully he changes his ways! It would be hypocritical to say cut out diving all together but pulling a Rivaldo is embarrassing. 

5) Anonymous Posters (Blog) - It always seems like it's a show down between me and an anonymous poster! It still blows my ind how a keyboard and a computer screen makes people so tough. let's be honest, you leave an electronic footprint with every entry you make, people are going to find out who you are and what you said so at least post with your name. Look at what happened to Clock Cleaner. That could happen to anonymous posters as well. At the same time don't be so obvious. Some anonymous posters try to make 3 or 4 posts bashing the same person, yet they format their entries all the same way, they make the same spelling and grammatical errors and they say too much. It's obvious that it's the same person. Even more obvious is when someone pumps their own tires on every single blog. Unless someone has a secret love for you, I don't think anyone would post on every blog about how unreal you are. If you're going to pump your own tires at least post your name behind it. Then you can claim to have the 2nd biggest ego in the room behind mine!

Julio

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

5 players Who Don't Get Enough Credit - Scotty Myrah Edition

The guest blogging has really caught on and I have people lined up to help out. Today we cover players who in our opinion don't get the credit they deserve. So here is round 2 served up bi Scotty Myrah and myself.

Mike's List

1.Abu Okonofoa (Afghanistan/Nigeria) - When I first played with Abu he was a keeper... it was clearly not his calling. However, Abu has remade himself into a defender and a fantastic one at that. Powerful and composed Abu is a player anyone, myself included, would love to have on their team.

2. Dwayne Gareau (ROI) - Dwayne is in a tough place being on ROI. The team is full of goal scorers who get much of the credit as well as having to constantly play in my shadow. Seriously though, Dwayne is a natural ball winner and is great at reading the field. Exactly the kind of thing that goes unnoticed in this tournament.

3. Spencer Veikel (El Salvador) - Speaking of players who are overshadowed, Spencer has to contend with Alvi and his looming ego all the time. Whenever people think back to the ROI vs. ES game everyone seems to only remember Alvi being out there. Granted that Alvi did have an exceptional game but Spencer played just as well for ES last year. Time to give him some props.
  
4.Reis Cooper (Norway) -  Yes I know what you're thinking, Reis Cooper? But if you can somehow block out those ridiculous/unnecessary slide tackles and focus on his overall body of work you can make a pretty good case for him. He's a hard worker, who last year showed he could show up on the goal scoring sheet by finishing in the Top 5 in goal scoring. Wow.

5. Troy Lydiate (Jamaica) - I was higher than most on Troy during last year's tournament as I thought he was a pivotal part of Jamaica's squad. Having seen him play this year in indoor has reminded me up just why I thought that. Troy's pace, endurance, and overall athleticism is something every team will have to account for.

Scotty's List

1. Steve Irinici (Laos) - Plays center mid for Laos and over 4 years has been solid. Laos is known solely for their strong wing play which takes a lot of hype from their center mids. Stevie has come up big and has scored crucial goals for Laos when needed.

2. Justin Sawka (Canada) - From what I've noticed he is the heart of Norway's attack. Known mostly for their defensive style the attack is often overlooked here. But like Stevie he scores big goals and is a good playmaker in the WCP cup format.

3. Paco Brown (Columbia) - The only real skill out of Columbian my mind. Has carried this team into promising positions even when he doesn't have the links to gain more success. He's got slick skill and a knack for the net. Very dangerous and very underrated.

4.Stephana Papa (Greece) - He hustles and works his way to success. Its always hard to pick out a star from Greece but he seems to be it. Scores big goals and never stops working.

5. Andrew Sanderson (ROI) - Overlooked by most spectators in a star powered ROI line up he has quietly controlled the back line and kept Ireland's goals against to a minimum. Plays big and tough and uses his left foot to his advantage.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Things to Keep Your Eyes on leading up to WCP - David Brown Edition

Alright here is the first attempt with a guest blogger. Today's guest, David Brown, and myself sat down and both listed 5 things to keep an eye on leading up to or during the WCP Cup. Here is goes.

Mike's List

1. Powerhouse Poland - Poland is this years France. A relentless juggernaut that crushes anything that gets in its way. As long as this team doesn't have to play Afghanistan they will roll through this tournament. Mark my words.

2. Prohibition - The #1 concern of every soccer fan is will there be alcohol? Where will it be allowed? Where will it be served? These are all very important questions. Let's face it some of these games require multiple drinks to be watchable.

3. The new teams - There are 4 new teams entering into the tournament. Somalia, South Korea, Hungary and Vietnam. What do these team have to offer - if anything? Will any have a Sudan-esque run. I sure hope so.

4. Player Integration - Always interesting to see how the new players react to this type of tournament. Its also fun to see a new acquisition on a new squad and how those acquisitions are utilized by the team. The new players ability to quickly integrate into their teams style of play may prove pivotal to a teams success.
  
5. Julio Hatred/Love? - Last year everyone was hating on Julio because of his blogging, (over?)confidence and style of play. I was more than a little surprised when the blog community began grumbling that the blogs weren't the same without him. Will be interesting to see if the perception of him has changed. Cheers or Jeers for Julio?


David's List

1. Group D - We get to see "Julio" square off against Greece and Norway! This promises to be entertaining. There has been a lot of banter over the past couple years and we will finally get to see it happen on the field. I see these being being high paced with some hard tackles being dished out.

2. Group B - Laos, Jamaica, Canada Afghanistan. Any 2 of these teams could make it out of this group. Although Columbia and Northern Ireland are known to cause the occasional upset I do not see them being able to make it out of this tough group. This group promises some of the best games in the round robin. I expect Laos to go through along with the winner of Jamaica vs Canada.

3. Who will win the golden boot? - My top three picks are Nathan Reis, Mike Collins and Jay Tomchuk. With an easy group I expect ROI to put away many goals with Mike and Reis leading the way. I don't see Poland scoring too many goals but all the goals they do get will be coming through Jay.

4. Keep an eye on the blog  - The blog is just starting to take off, and it's only going to get better. As the games get closer and as they happen there is a lot of entertaining opinions on here! Although the majority of them are anonymous they still provide quite a few laughs.

5. The Fans - Whether its the Laos and Poland fans, the Ireland fans and their obnoxiousness, or the Chile fans and that damn drum its the fans who make this tournament. The atmosphere they create gives the out of town players, such as myself, the desire to play. Disappointed to be missing out this year!

Friday, 2 March 2012

New Segment - Guest Blogging

Though I rarely tire of hearing my own thoughts I am sure many of you have. So in order get some new views on this blog I have decided to create a new segment. Every few days I will invite a guest writer to suggest an idea and then will both write on the subject. Hopefully this will keep things fresh. Send me a message if you want to be a guest writer. Tomorrow's guest writer will be the Top WCP Cup scorer of all time David Brown!

#Countdown