Canada Cup bringing high-quality soccer
By MORRIS DALLA COSTA, Free Press Sports Columnist
Two years ago, it was the Primus Cup. This year it will be the Canada Cup.
London City coach and general manager Harry Gauss continues to do his best to bring top-quality soccer competitions to London.
The Canada Cup is the Canadian Professional Soccer League's league cup championship. The 14 teams play each other throughout the year in double-elimination competition with the surviving teams meeting in this tournament.
Five teams, including London City, which qualifies as the host team, will play at Cove Road Field in London Sept. 27-29.
London City will play an elimination game on the Friday night for a chance to advance to the semifinals.
An opponent for London City has not yet been determined.
Joining London will be Ottawa and Brampton, along with one of either Mississauga Olympians or Toronto Croatia and Hamilton Thunder or Vaughan Sun Devils.
The Canada Cup will be followed the next week by the Rogers Cup, the league playoff championship, in North York.
Getting the Canada Cup is considered a coup for London City. Hamilton was granted the tournament but had to withdraw.
"There were just too many questions with them. We kept setting deadlines for things to be done and they just weren't being done," said Vince Ursini, chairperson of the CPSL. "Then we had problem with the venue. We didn't want to be embarrassed. Hamilton graciously withdrew."
The Cup was then granted to Ottawa, which staged the competition last year. At least, that's what the league executive wanted. The owners had a different idea.
"It's safe to say that London was the overwhelming choice of the team owners to hold this event," said Ursini. "We know that we don't have to worry about London at all. We show up on the Friday and everything will be taken care of. London has a great reputation for their organization."
It's the first time for the league cup to be played in London. Two years ago, the Primus Cup, now called the Rogers Cup, came to London for the first time.
The Canada Cup is so named because the federal government granted the league $100,000.
A news conference was held at Cove Road yesterday announcing details of the event.
"We just want to bring the best soccer we can to the city," Gauss said. "It's going to be a good event."
City hasn't had the best of seasons but Gauss isn't worried about how his team will perform.
"I think we have a really good team," Gauss said. "We are a nice team to watch."
Having to put together a tournament on such short notice isn't going to be easy, especially since such events don't have much room between the red and the black financially.
Orsini indicated the league intended to heavily publicize an event that he said was going to provide the best soccer yet for such a tournament.
"We just want to pay the bills," said Gauss.
Tickets are $10 for Friday and Saturday, $15 for Sunday. A tournament pass bought in advance is $15.
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