March 16, 2006 CPSL Caribbean Selects news (from

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Caribbean team will join CPSL's international league
By Ron Fanfair

A Caribbean team will compete in the inaugural Canadian Professional Soccer League's (CPSL) International Division this year.

Counting on the support of the members of Toronto's large ethnic communities who embrace the countries of their birth more than their new home, the CPSL has expanded its league to include the Serbian White Eagles, the Italia Shooters, Toronto Croatia, Toronto Supra and the Caribbean Stars which joined the league last Thursday.

Jamaican-born Neil Palmer, who managed the Brampton Stallions which finished fifth in the CPSL Western Conference last season, said he was excited when the league decided it was going accommodate ethnic groups.

"I knew that the Caribbean community had an appealing product that could be sold to the CPSL once it was packaged correctly, said Palmer. "I had always wanted to own a franchise and this was the perfect opportunity to make my pitch.

"We are going to canvas the Caribbean community here and try to come up with the best players around who want to showcase their skills in a professional environment. We are providing those players who are looking for soccer jobs with a home to play and an environment in which they might be more comfortable."

Palmer has enlisted the assistance of community soccer administrator Aldwyn McGill and Corcel Blair Jr.-the son of former Jamaica and North American Soccer League team Metro Croatia midfield player Corcel "Django" Blair-to help assemble a team for this season that starts in May. McGill will serve as the director of operations while Blair will be the technical director.

McGill served as Director of Operations/coach with Metro Lions of the CPSL for two years and won the Coach of the Year award four years ago.

"I am excited about this opportunity and looking forward to be part of what I envisage will be a successful enterprise," said McGill. "The season starts in another two months, so we are going to have some open camps at Lamport Stadium in another few weeks to have a look at players and give our coaching staff the opportunity to start putting together a squad."

The entrance fee for international teams in the CPSL is $160,000 and the average salary for players is about $75 a game.

Palmer said the new Caribbean franchise will be officially launched shortly and he's counting on the support of Caribbean-owned businesses. "This is a chance for West Indian businesses to show their support for a community venture by buying tickets or through advertising," he said.

CPSL Commissioner Gary Kaplan officially launched the new International Division last month.

"We used to be basic East and West divisions, with just team names," said Kaplan. "That works in Hamilton, London and Windsor. But in Toronto, you don't wave a York flag or a Vaughan flag when there's 350,000 Portuguese, 450,000 Italians and a large Chinese and Korean population.

"The CPSL has been under the radar for a long time. The international concept is perfect and we think it will attract additional fans and rivalries."

The season starts on May 20 with the three-day Open Canada Cup competition.

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