Friday June 28, 2002
London Free Press: City Set to Travel
CITY SET TO TRAVEL
By Kathy Rumleski, Free Press Sports Reporter
London City finally hits the road after four games at the Cove and an off-site home game in Exeter last weekend.
The team will play the Mississauga Olympians tonight at 8:30 p.m. in Mississauga.
Team manager Harry Gauss feels the schedule has been kinder to City this year, and it shows in the team's 1-2-2 record.
"This is a workable schedule. We came out pretty good. We're almost to .500. We turned around from a couple of bad games."
Last year, the team hit the road early and didn't get a win until it played at Cove Road field. "We had a horrid, horrid start," says Gauss.
Now, with a win and a couple of ties, including one to conference-leading Toronto Croatia, Gauss says the team is ready to hit the highway.
"The road gets you together, and that's where all the crap happens."
Home games occasionally feel like being on the road for Sandro Constantin and Ken Kopko, who drive in from Wallaceburg.
It's an especially long hike when they have to drive from the 'Burg to the Toronto area, spending about seven hours round-trip on the road.
Constantin says that on occasion he has to take a vacation day from work to make a game.
Kopko is self-employed, so he has it a bit easier arranging his schedule.
But that's the price you pay if you want to play semi-professional soccer, both agree.
"I love playing on that team and in that level," says Constantin. "To me, it's worth it."
City also gets a break this year by not having to travel to Ottawa or Montreal, unlike last year.
"We lucked out," says Gauss. "Next year we'll go there."
Constantin and Kopko drove themselves to Montreal (a 10-hour drive) and Ottawa last season. Normally, they meet the team in London for the road games and take a bus.
"It was a long haul," Constantin recalls.
From the start of the season in April until now, Kopko figures he has travelled 10,000 kilometres just to play the game.
"It's well worth the drive. It's addictive. You want to be there and you don't want to miss anything."
The farthest City has had to travel this season has been to Oshawa, with the driving time a little more than three hours from London.
Constantin will leave between 3:30 and 4 p.m. for tonight's game at Erin Mills Twin Arenas field. The Olympians are 3-1 and are coming off an 8-0 crushing of the North York Astros.
The top scorers in the league both play for the Olympians. Darren Tilley and Kevin De Serpa have six goals apiece.
"They're going to be a good team," says Constantin. "We've got some results. We definitely have a good shot of winning that game."
City doesn't play a league game at home again until July 19 when the Hamilton Thunder is in town. However, local soccer fans can get their fix with a game next Friday at the Cove.
Canada's under-20 squad will play City at 8 p.m.
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