FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORONTO, ON – Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017
A two-day player combine which attracted top Canadian talent from various professional leagues across North America and abroad kicked off the evaluation process for the selection of Canada’s National Arena Soccer Team, in anticipation of its historic first international match against Mexico at Mississauga’s Hershey Centre on October 1st.
The event, staged by the Canadian Arena Soccer Association (CASA) at Mississauga’s Canlan Sportsplex this past weekend, attracted more than 40 players from across Canada, the US, Europe and South America.
“I always knew that Toronto and its surrounding areas possessed a lot of soccer players with great ability,” said National Team Head Coach Giuliano Oliviero who presided over the combine along with General Manager Phil Ionadi. “They can handle the pressure and atmosphere of an international game and they are used to the field size and can adapt much quicker”, Oliviero added.
Ionadi said he was impressed with the overall speed of play and intelligence displayed by the player prospects. “We saw the right chemistry and the scrimmage games were played at the level and intensity we hoped for,” said Ionadi. “The most challenging thing is that we lack experience now but the talent is definitely there.”
Oliviero believes he will be able to field the best and most experienced players against Mexico. “To see this abundance of talent show up on one field was fantastic for the Canadian Arena National Team. The future looks bright!”
Players of interest that caught the eye of both the Head Coach and GM included MASL players Josh Lemos, Ian Bennett and Robert Renaud. Other players of definite interest to be in the squad of 16 on October 1st included midfielder David Guzman, forward Luis Rocha and former TFC defender Adrian Cann.
Mississauga’s Hershey Centre will be the venue for the historic match, which pits Canada against the 2018 World Cup of Arena Soccer host nation Mexico on Sunday, October 1st at 4:00pm (ET). Tickets for the match are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at ticketmaster.ca and by phone at 1-855-985-5000. For more information, please visit casasoccer.ca.
Catch some of the Combine Action. (Photos Courtesy of Jim Wagner)
Alf De Blasis, CASA Communications
Cell: (416) 885-8652