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Impact Defeat Calgary in Season Finale

MONTREAL, August 31, 2003

The Montreal Impact put an end to a three-game dry spell offensively and was crowned top team in Canada, Sunday, following a 2-0 victory against Calgary. With the win, coach Bob Lilley’s squad won the Voyageurs Cup, awarded to the top Canadian team in the A-League, for the second year in a row.  More...

Calgary Slips In Front Of International Audience

Toronto, August 29th, 2003

With the world watching on Fox Sports World, Calgary failed to gain that elusive 5th win that would mark an improvement on last year's tally.

A slip by Calgary keeper, Dave Wiebanga, in the 15th minute allowed Toronto's Sabastian Barclay to walk the ball into the Calgary net.  Three minutes later, Wiebenga was replaced in goal by Eric Kenas.

Barclay should have had another in the 45th minute when Jonathan Westmaas put a short cross in from the left side that found Barclay all alone in box, but his quick shot from 7 yards was wide right. Barclay pulled his shirt over his head in shame.

Toronto doubled their lead in the 62nd minute when Mauricio Vincello bent a wicked 25 yard blast that went in off of the right post.

Calgary made it close just three minutes later, when Shawn Wimble cracked a 30 yard free kick that caught Toronto keeper, Theo Zagar, slow footed.

That was as close as Calgary would get, with the Toronto defence constantly blocking Calgary's attempts at goal.  Calgary was outshot 14-2 on the night.

Calgary's final match of the season is on Sunday in Montreal.

Sounders Defeat Calgary In Home Finale

By Jason Kmet - August 14th, 2003

Calgary's entry in the A-League played its final home match this season on Thursday night. It was a familiar script for Calgary's long-suffering fans. The Calgary lads played well against the Seattle Sounders. However, Seattle was able to convert one of their only chances of the match while Calgary could not do the same resulting in a 1-0 Seattle victory.   More...

Home Finale Heroics Thwarted By Seattle

August 14th, 2003 - A Seattle Perspective

Andrew Gregor scored on a set play and the Seattle Sounders defeated Team Calgary 1-0 in A-League action Thursday at Foothills Park in Calgary. The Sounders, with 47-points, can take another step toward clinching one of the two Pacific Division playoff spots when they host Indiana Sunday.

Seattle had beaten Team Calgary by a combined 12-0 in their last two meetings at Seahawks Stadium, but in two previous matches in Calgary the Sounders had a win and a draw from just two goals.

After a scoreless first half Seattle finally broke the deadlock on Gregor's free kick in the 65th minute. Sounders midfielder Alex Bengard was fouled hard five yards outside the penalty box. He stayed on the turf for a few minutes then hobbled off to the sideline. When play resumed Gregor lined the direct free kick off his left foot from 23 yards out and just inside the left post past Team Calgary goalkeeper David Wiebenga. The goal was Gregor's sixth of the season.

Engines stall on club's goal


The drive for five stalled again for Team Calgary.

Desperately seeking its fifth win of the A-League campaign, the team formerly known as the Calgary Storm lost 2-1 yesterday to the Milwaukee Wave United at Foothills Athletic Park.

With the loss, Calgary falls to 4-18-3 with three games left in the season.

Milwaukee's Nick Walls tallied both goals for the victors, netting the winner at the 71-minute mark. "For the last six to seven games I've moved to a winger position and I just use my speed and one-on-one ability to just find gaps. We've got guys in the middle who can find me," said Walls, a 22-year-old A-League rookie from Milwaukee.

Walls opened the scoring 14 minutes in with a low shot from the right side that bounced in off the post.

Calgary was sluggish early and the goal followed a stretch of intense pressure from Milwaukee.

Calgary, which gained momentum as the contest wore on, tied it four minutes later when Nik Reyes put his head on a beautiful cross from speedy Sean Fraser. The header beat United keeper Jeff Richey on the short side.

"(Conrad) Chala faked like he was going up to get it and I saw the ball at the last minute and gave it a little re-direct," said Reyes, 22.

While he was happy with the effort, Reyes would much rather have another win under the team's belt. "We keep losing every game and it's not fun at all," said Reyes, who had a chance late in the game to tie it but Richey made a spectacular save. Calgary could have tied it in the final minute of injury time when C.J. Pesnecker unloaded from just outside the box but, again, Richey made a diving save to his left to knock the ball away.

Team Calgary won four matches in 2002 and has five wins as its goal for this season, a campaign marred by former owner Michael Vandale leaving the side at the end of June.

Calgary's final home game of the season takes place Thursday at Foothills Park against the Seattle Sounders, before it closes the schedule with two road games.

Team Calgary Unable to Turn Tide Against Wave

Murray Rauw - Calgary Herald - Sunday, August 10, 2003

A-League squad suffers another loss.

There it was; another one like so many of the other ones.

There was another small crowd of approximately 250 in attendance as Calgary's A-League soccer entry put on a spunky performance at Foothills Athletic Park, but lost a 2-1 decision to Milwaukee Wave United.

Team Calgary, 4-18-3, has gone winless since June 6 when it downed the Cincinnati River Hawks.

"We're sick of losing, we've been losing so much," said Calgary striker Nic Reyes, who scored Calgary's goal. "We came out to play today. We put it all out on the field, but again there was a lack of concentration."

It led to the game-winning goal in the 71st minute.

The score was knotted 1-1 at halftime and Calgary was getting its chances in the second half, only to be denied by 'keeper Jeff Richey. Milwaukee, 12-9 and the winner of five of its past six games, broke the tie on a goal by Nick Walls, who had also scored the first goal.

"It was tough to play a game like this one on such a tight field," said Walls, the latest to get in a shot at the smaller- than-regulation field in Calgary. "When you turn the ball over, there are going to be a lot of counterattacks.

"This was one of those grind-out games with a lot of chances at both ends. It was a good win for us, though."

Walls scored after Chris Mormon set up the game-winning goal with a gigantic throw from the sidelines.

"We just got him on the team. I didn't know he had such a big throw," said the 22-year-old Walls, who volleyed the ball home, playing it off a knee-high bounce."

Calgary has three regular season games left, including its last home game Thursday against the Seattle Sounders. It will be followed by a season-ending trip to Toronto and Montreal.

Calgary's ambition is to win one of the three, giving it five wins for the season, one more than last year. That's all that's left for the exasperated locals.

"We're in the games all the time. We're always losing by one goal," said Reyes.

When the final whistle had sounded, Calgary coach Tommy Wheeldon once again defended the effort he received from his players.

"We've not packed it in," he said. "We're going to keep going right to the end of the season. We're keeping our chins up. But I just wish we could get a reward."

With that, Wheeldon again lashed out at the Calgary officiating crew.

"We had some close calls that could have gone our way, but that's the game I've learned to accept in Calgary," said Wheeldon. "We have to get different officials because the ones we have are too familiar.

"When we go to the States, we don't have this problem."

Meanwhile, there is still no word of any progress on finding a buyer for the club, which was taken over by the league July 1. Reyes repeated the feeling the players don't feel their game has been hurt by the club's financial crisis.

Late Goals Put Vancouver Over Calgary

By Jason Kmet - August 4th, 2003

A pleasant holiday Monday afternoon at Foothills Park was spoiled for Calgary fans as the Vancouver Whitecaps defeated Team Calgary 2-1.

The locals had a good opportunity in the 11th minute, when Jordan Gillespie crossed the ball from the left. Mark Korthius was able to make contact, but his header went wide and high.

Calgary was rewarded in the 22nd minute when Nick Zuniga opened the scoring. He took a great free kick from about 23 yards out. Whitecaps keeper Mike Franks was frozen by the shot that ended up in the top left corner.  More...

Losing Streak Continues For Team Calgary

By Jason Kmet - July 31, 2003

In the thirty days since the last A-League match in Calgary, the club has lost its owner, name, and several players. The Calgary Storm left on a road trip, and returned as the league-run Team Calgary. Rumors abound that there are several parties interested in buying the club. This talk has not helped the club on the field, as they extended their winless streak to 14 games as they lost to the Cincinnati Riverhawks 2-0.    More...

Cincinnati Tops Calgary

August 1st, 2003

The Cincinnati Riverhawks (9-13-0, 27 points) defeated Team Calgary (4-16-3, 15 points) yesterday moving up to third place in the Central Division.

Defender Rasool Alizadeh began Cincinnati’s offensive strike with a goal in the 54th minute, while forward Craig Yacks put the game out of reach for Team Calgary with his goal in the 90th minute. Midfielder Edward Child is credited with assists in both of the goals.

Gutsy Calgary Walks Away With a Point

From Allison Andrews - Timber Rattlers - July 27th, 2003

The Timbers allowed visiting Team Calgary to get out to an early lead, then pulled even in the 33rd minute on a header from Gavin Wilkinson, but even though the Timbers controlled much of the rest of the match, they were unable to score again, and the match ended up in a 1-1 draw in front of 4,261 fans at PGE Park. Calgary's lone goal was in the 8th minute by Nik Reyes.  More...

Hapless Calgary Preyed upon by Sounders

By Ron Stickney - Seattle Pitch - July 26th, 2003

Riding the back of Andrew Gregor's two-goal performance, the Seattle Sounders' offense got a boost tonight against Team Calgary in a 6-0 romp in front of 2,217 fans at Seahawks Stadium. This is the second consecutive match in which the Sounders defeated Calgary 6-0.   More...

Calgary Misses PK and Loses Match

From - July 24th, 2003

The Whitecaps F.C. Men’s Team got the win they needed against Calgary, as they continue to try and chase down the Portland Timbers in the race for a Pacific Division playoff spot. Defender Nico Craveiro got the winner early on with his first ever A-League goal. Goalkeeper Alex Marques made his first start since May 30, and stopped an early penalty kick to maintain Vancouver’s lead, while earning his second shutout of the season.  More...

Calgary May Add W-League (Calgary Sun)

By CAMERON MAXWELL, CALGARY SUN - Tuesday, July 22, 2003 

With the prospect of new ownership for the soccer team formerly known as the Calgary Storm comes the possibility of a professional women's soccer side.

Two groups, possibly as many as four, are interested in purchasing the club, which former owner Michael Vandale walked away from earlier this month.

Team Calgary director of operations Andrea Willems said yesterday new ownership could start up a team of female pros. "It could end up happening and I think it would be good for the city because Edmonton is going to have a women's team and Vancouver already has one," said Willems.

But before that happens, new ownership has to take over the team, which is currently being managed by the United Soccer Leagues, the group that operates the A-League and W-League for women.

Willems said two groups have a serious interest in the team and are in the process of putting together business plans which will be presented to USL officials. "The USL would rather proceed more slowly than quickly ... there's always a chance a deal could be done fairly quickly but the USL is looking for long-term stability," Willems said.

USL chief operating officer David Askinas did not return phone calls yesterday.

Askinas was in town recently and met with board members from the Calgary Soccer Federation (CSF) and the Calgary Women's Soccer Association. Efem Yildirim, CSF vice-president, said W-League teams play six home and six away games and the operational cost is between $75,000 and $100,000. "From a Calgary Women's Soccer Association standpoint, we certainly wouldn't want to be an investor but we certainly want to work with whoever -- if there is an ownership interest in Calgary -- and help get people to the games."

As for the men, they continue to struggle on the field. Team Calgary has a 4-12-2 record and is currently gearing up for a three-game road trip on the West Coast starting Thursday in Vancouver and ending Sunday in Portland. Coach Tommy Wheeldon said the players' morale is fairly high, considering the mounting losses and the fact they weren't paid for the month of June until the league took over and gave them their paycheques. "The kids could have walked but they didn't," said Wheeldon, who had his salary chopped when Vandale left.

- - - HEADING FOR GERMANY: Team Calgary midfielder Nikolas Ledgerwood has signed on with 1860 Munich of the German Bundesliga. The 18-year-old from Lethbridge will play with a youth side and practise with the reserve team as he hones his skills until he moves up to the big squad.

A-League not giving up on Calgary (Herald)

Search starts for new owners to run franchise

Murray Rauw - Calgary Herald - Saturday, July 19, 2003

New owners are being sought so Calgary's soccer team can keep butting heads in the A-League.

The viability of pro soccer in Calgary has taken another hit, but the A-League won't walk away. It intends to keep the Calgary Storm operating the rest of the season while trying to find new owners.

"I'm optimistic there will be a new dawn in Calgary," said David Askinas, the executive director of the United Soccer League, which operates the

A-league under its umbrella. "It's only going to get better. We'll relaunch and we'll rebrand the team. We don't want to be associated with the Storm name anymore."

Askinas has been heading efforts to establish new owners for Calgary. He visited the city this week, but was at his office in Tampa, Fla., on Friday.

Other than announcing the demise of the franchise, it can't get any worse in the city that has watched the Calgary Boomers, Calgary Mustangs and Calgary Kickers come and go.

Storm owner Michael Vandale pulled the plug on the Storm franchise on July 1 after a second season of financial losses, leaving the club in the hands of the league. In his last statement before going underground, Vandale said it was impossible to succeed in the Calgary market unless Foothills Athletic Park was upgraded. He pegged his losses at more than $1 million.

While Askinas has quit defending Vandale's business decisions, especially the lack of an off-season marketing strategy, he agreed a refurbished facility in Calgary had to be part of the future for potential purchasers.

"The groups we're talking to understand that," said Askinas. "They have to develop a stadium and that has to be part of their business plan. People will learn from Mike's mistakes and they'll go in with different business plans."

Askinas said he has identified potential ownership groups, but wouldn't mention names.

"That has to remain totally confidential and it will stay that way," said Askinas, adding the league will take financial responsibility to operate the Storm for the rest of the season.

That includes four home dates at Foothills Stadium, which has been rented for $1,000 a game, the same price paid by Vandale.

Askinas said the Storm owes the City of Calgary "several thousand dollars," for previous games this year.

Willie Jurcevic, the city manager for arenas and athletic parks, has heard complaints about Foothills, but doesn't know of plans to build a better soccer facility. He said the stadium was built for track and field, and that will remain the priority.

He declined to discuss the amount of money the Storm owes the city. Nine home games have been played, and Jurcevic said some payments had been made.

The A-League wants Calgary to survive. Next season, an expansion franchise in Edmonton is slated to begin play and the visibility of a second Alberta team is expected to help both teams in hyping public interest as well as cutting travel costs.

Edmonton's owners will have close ties to minor soccer in the provincial capital. It's a model Askinas is expected to try to copy in Calgary.

Meanwhile, Vandale won a reprieve in Court of Queen's Bench Friday, when John Kelly's application to gain a court order to block any sale of the club by the league was adjourned for a week. Kelly said a value of $400,000 to $500,000 has been placed on the franchise, but argued before Chief Justice C.A. Kent that it's the only asset the club had left.

Kelly told the court he represents two former Storm staffers who claim they are owed money by Vandale and a sale would leave them without any chance of collecting.

Calgary drops one to El Paso on International TV

by Duke Keith, Match Reporter - 18.Jul.2003

(DUDLEY FIELD, El Paso, TX) - The El Paso Patriots returned home to Dudley scalded after their third straight loss last weekend, but still firmly in the hunt in a tightening Central Division race, and in front of a national television audience on Fox SportsWorld El Paso defeated Team Calgary, 3-1, to regain second place in the division.

The Patriots (8-10-2, 26 points) lead Cincinnati (8-10-0, 24 points) by two points going into the Riverhawks home match with fourth-place division rival Milwaukee Saturday.

Team Calgary (4-13-2, 14 points) remains in the cellar of the Pacific Division, and played its first match since being taken over by the United Soccer Leagues this week.

For the first time El Paso head coach Jesus "Chuy" Enriquez started leading scorer Laurenco Andrade and Omar Mora up front together, which proved to be a brilliant move.

Mora, who seems to finally be getting into form after a long season with Mexican First Division-A side CD Zacatepéc, proved to be a constant thorn in the side of the Calgary defense; and Andrade, who was also the leading scorer for First Division-A Cobras de Ciudád Juárez, played unselfishly, pushing beautiful lead passes in for Mora's finishing touch.

In the 20th minute, Andrade dropped a beautiful lead ball from midfield up front for a hard-charging Mora, who ripped a far-post shot past Team Calgary goalkeeper David Wiebenga into the right upper 90 for Mora's first goal of the season.

Just 16 minutes later the tandem hooked up again, displaying deft one-touch moves against a frozen Calgary defense. Once again, it was Andrade's pass who set up Mora from eight yards out, shooting a slow-moving but accurate ball past Wiebenga, who had come off his line to challenge.

And so it went for the rest of the half, but the second half Team Calgary came to life due almost entirely to the efforts of defender Sean Fraser. Ironically, though he had no shots, Fraser's speed was well-utilized by Calgary coach Tommy Wheeldon, who sent the diminutive backliner forward to challenge the quick El Paso defense.

Challenge he did, and in the 55th minute was promptly brought down in the box by Patriots defender Joel Rios.

Referee Misail Tsapos immediately pointed to the penalty spot, and midfielder Nik Zuniga planted his shot firmly left of middle past El Paso goalkeeper Scott Alexander to cut the deficit in half.

Team Calgary continued to make progress against a Patriots' team that seemed to lose its concentration after going up by two.

But after subbing in fresh blood El Paso regained its composure and its two-goal lead. In the 61st minute Calgary midfielder Conrad Chala took down substitute forward Michael Griego inches outside the Calgary 18-yard box.

After Tsapos awarded the direct kick, Griego put the icing on the Patriots cake with an unforgiving shot, driving the ball through the Calgary wall and by a diving Weibenga for the final goal of the night.

El Paso next plays in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, hosting the PDL's Fresno Fuego Tuesday at 7 p.m. MDT. The winner advances to play the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer in the fourth round, Wednesday, August 6th in Los Angeles.


Scoring: ELP Mora (20, Andrade), ELP Mora (36, Andrade), TC Zuniga (55, PK), ELP Griego (71).

TEAM CALGARY: David Weibenga, Sean Fraser, Liam DaSilva (38, Ian Clarke), Thomas Wheeldon, C.J. Pezsneker, Jordan Gillespie, Conrad Chala, Nik Reyes (82, Brendon Garrity), Nik Zuniga (86, Jermaine Richards), Dwayne Gareau (60, Keegan Thomas), Mark Korthuis.

EL PASO: Scott Alexander, Carlos Martinez, Joel Rios, Hamlet Diaz, Freddy Juárez (89, Guillermo McFarlane), Mauricio Rocha, Junro Narita (83, Mario Garcia), Javier Carrazco (45, Ahmed Figueroa), Enrique Cervantes (73, Tim Pierce), Laurenco Andrade, Omar Mora (61, Michael Griego).

Shots: TC 1-3-4, ELP 6-4-10. Saves: TC 3-2-5, ELP 0-2-2. Fouls: TC 9-7-16, ELP 9-9-18. Offsides: TC 2-0-0, ELP 1-4-5. Corner Kicks: TC 0-1-1, ELP 5-2-7. Cautions: TC 2 (Korthuis 27, Chala 69), ELP 2 (Diaz 56, Rocha 89). Officials: Misail Tsapos, Aric Bonner, Gibby Widner, Andrew Gage. Attendance: 1,815.

Calgary Loses Close One in Vancouver

July 11th, 2003 - Burnaby, B.C.

Goals by Vancouver's John Sulentic and Jason Jordan were enough to hand Calgary it's fifth consecutive loss on Friday night.  Calgary's last two defeats come after having handed the reigns of ownership over to the United Soccer League for the remainder of the season, as the club looks for new owners.

Calgary managed to open the scoring in the 34th minute, against the run of play,  when Nicholas Zuniga managed to find the space and time to slot one into the Vancouver net.  Zuniga's goal was the first Calgary tally in five games.

Calgary keeper, Dave Wiebenga, was kept very busy and was forced to make a number of spectacular saves on the night.  In the final minute of the first half, Wiebenga was called upon to make back-to-back stops on a blast by Steve Kindel and a glancing header by Oliver Heald.

Vancouver equalized in the 57th minute when Sulentic took a pass from Andrew Veer and blasted it by Wiebenga.

The Whitecaps took the lead for good in the 77th minute when a scorching Sulentic free kick was parried by Wiebenga, but the rebound fell to a waiting Jason Jordan, who slammed it home.

The loss drops Calgary's record to 4-2-11, while Vancouver's record improves to 7-3-6.

Calgary plays it's next match away to El Paso on Friday, July 18th.  This match will be featured on Fox Sports World.  Consult your local listings or nearest pub to see when you can watch it on the telly.  Share the excitement and watch it with someone you love (aaaahhhhh).

A-League Will Keep Storm Afloat

Calgary Herald  - Thursday, July 10, 2003

With A-League owners prepared to foot the bill for the rest of the soccer season, the orphaned Calgary Storm travelled to Seattle for Wednesday's regularly scheduled game -- and lost 6-0 to the Sounders.

"The owners have decided to finance the Calgary franchise until the end of the current season,'' Tim Holt, head of the A-League branch of the United Soccer Leagues, said Wednesday.

Late last week, when Storm owner Michael Vandale threw in the towel after two seasons and change at the helm and handed the franchise back to the league, USL president Dave Askinas estimated it would take between $80,000 and $100,000 to complete Calgary's second year at the A-League level.

A two-thirds vote of the remaining 18 franchise owners was required to save the franchise. Holt said he was not at liberty to provide the vote breakdown.

The search for an owner or ownership group continues.

"Discussions are ongoing with at least two groups and a couple of other Calgary-area businessmen,'' said Holt.

"There are two ways you can look at trying to find ownership -- short-term and long-term. We're not looking for the first candidate, we're looking for the right candidate. An ownership that will take the team through 2004 and beyond.

"That may take a couple weeks, it may take a couple months.

"Mike did his best, but we need some with more business saavy to take hold of the baton on the next leg of the relay.''

© Copyright 2003 Calgary Herald

USL to manage Calgary franchise

Thursday, July 10, 2003

TAMPA, FL - United Soccer Leagues announced today that Calgary FC, Inc.'s A-League franchise rights have been terminated and that USL will manage, effective immediately, Team Calgary throughout the remainder of the 2003 A-League season in place of the terminated Calgary Storm club.

"It is an unfortunate situation that we are stepping in to manage the team in Calgary, however, we are very optimistic for the future of A-League soccer in Alberta with the addition of Edmonton next spring," said USL Chief Operating Officer Dave Askinas. "We are in discussions with the city of Calgary, Calgary Minor Soccer and a number of individuals and groups from the business community interested in the possibility of owning an A-League team and are confident we will find a solution for the 2004 season, perhaps sooner."

USL will manage Team Calgary with funding pooled from the other 18 A-League franchises, who earlier this week approved the decision to take over operation of the team.

"We are appreciative our owners have given us the opportunity to manage the team and expect the squad and key staff members to remain intact," said A-League Director of Operations Tim Holt. "The team will fulfill all of its schedule obligations for the remainder of the season."

USL also announced the termination of the Premier Development League Calgary franchise today. The club's scheduled matches for this weekend will be fulfilled by the Abbotsford Rangers, who were previously playing in the Northwest Division as a provisional member.

"The Abbotsford Rangers have proven themselves to be a competitive team on the field and having them complete the season on behalf of the Calgary Storm Prospects is the most logical and practical solution," said PDL Director of Operations Steve Clamp.

The Yakima Reds' two postponed matches in Calgary from this past weekend (July 5 and 6) have been ruled forfeits, giving the Reds two 1-0 wins.

Calgary Gets Soundly Thrashed By Seattle

July 9th, 2003

Final Score:  Calgary 0 - 6 Seattle (Ouch!!)

Check out Ron Stickney's match report at Seattle Pitch:

Owner gives Storm the boot

By IAN BUSBY, CALGARY SUN - July 4, 2003

After years keeping the franchise afloat, Michael Vandale has resigned as chairman and owner of the Calgary Storm.

Vandale, who's been majority owner of the organization since it started a professional team three years ago, handed the club's operations over to the United Soccer Leagues yesterday to find new ownership for the A-League squad.

"The team is sort of on hold for the next few days," said USL's chief of operations David Askinas. "They're on a break (from games) and don't play until next Wednesday. We're optimistic we'll be able to complete a deal by then.

"Our hope is we'll have a seamless transition into a new ownership group without the league becoming involved. If things need to be taken care of, the league will deal with them, on behalf of the new ownership group."

Vandale, who says he's lost $1 million operating the team, cites personal reasons for leaving the team but feels he's taken the Storm to a certain level and that someone else will have a better chance to make the necessary improvements the team needs.
The first issue upgrading Foothills Athletic Park, which is one of the smallest stadiums in the A-League.

"In order to get things to a head, this is really what had to be done," Vandale said.  "It was tough but really, right now, the franchise is here and it's important to keep it here. They need a new venue -- I've said that since the start -- and I don't think anybody would dispute that.  "Maybe the new ownership will have better luck dealing with the city. That's the biggest issue of all."

With a A-League franchise in Edmonton slated to begin play next season, the USL needs the Calgary franchise to keep operating for a regional rivalry.
The USL is speaking with two separate local groups in the hopes of having new management in place by the time the Storm leaves for a three-week road trip starting Wednesday in Seattle.

Calgary has a 4-10-2 record this season  The team won only four games last season.
The Storm has played competitive soccer lately and crowds at Foothills have grown accordingly.  Nearly 2,000 spectators showed up for the Canada Day matchup against the Toronto Lynx, which Calgary lost 2-0.

Head coach Tommy Wheeldon said rumours of the management change have dogged the players for a couple of weeks and the change could bring some enthusiasm to the team, especially if the new owners can bring in some fresh talent.
Although he wasn't shocked by the announcement of Vandale leaving, he certainly wasn't happy about not having the soccer enthusiast who was willing to put his money on the line.
"I'm disappointed to be losing Michael because he's been fabulous to me," Wheeldon said.
"Michael has been the only one prepared to put money into professional soccer (in Calgary) and he's got to be commended for that."

Vandale gives up on A-League dream

USL takes over franchise, looks for new ownership

George Johnson Calgary Herald  - Friday, July 04, 2003

Dave Askinas called it a hiccup.

Tommy Wheeldon called it a distraction.

Mike Vandale called it a day.

"It's just, well, time someone else took over,'' explained Vandale, in handing the keys of the Calgary Storm over to the United Soccer League after close to three years footing the bills.

The Storm have not folded. For the moment, consider them orphaned. Askinas, the USL's chief operating officer, emphasized that discussions are already underway with two Calgary groups to assume control. As of now, the team's upcoming six-game road swing is not in jeopardy. Business, he added, to be conducted as usual.

But we are, after all, talking semi-pro soccer here, which has a mortality rate in this country of just-hatched baby sea turtles separated from the pack on their way back to the water.

Once again, the fate of the game seems to be hanging in the balance.

The refrain is so sad, yet so achingly familiar. So many tries, so many crises. So much passion, so much heartache. Such fanciful dreams, such sobering reality. Such grandiose plans, such clumsy execution.

Maybe these guys all spent too much time in their youth heading balls on cold, wet nights. Only a deeply-ingrained -- some might say blind -- love of the game could convince anyone to try.

Without divulging commas and decimal points, Vandale -- who certainly had his critics this past year and a half as the Storm struggled in the quantum leap in on-pitch calibre from the Premier Development League to the A-League -- estimates a personal hit of over $1 million in the two-and-a-half years.

"This is only an interruption,'' was how Askinas described the situation. "We told the team to take the weekend off, go on furlough, and we'll be back to them on Monday. The players shouldn't worry. They'll be paid for the time.

"I guess you could say the franchise is in limbo, but we fully hope to have news of permanent ownership soon, perhaps as early as next week. We're confident things will work out.

"Mike did what he could. He gave his heart and soul to the Storm. But for personal reasons he had to step aside. That was only Phase 1. We need somebody now who can take the franchise to Phase II, and that means forging closer relationships with the soccer community in the area.''

The remaining 18 league owners are set to vote on whether or not to equally absorb Calgary expenses until the end of the season, as a safeguard should suitable new ownership not be unearthed in the meantime.

A two-thirds majority would be needed to carry the motion. Askinas estimates the bill to play out the remaining 12 Storm games at between $80,000 and $100,000.

A league takeover would be a next-to-worst case scenario. The worst being . . . well, you shouldn't need Sir Alex Ferguson to draw a diagram.

"That dollar figure is really not a big burden, if you divide it up,'' said Askinas.

"In fact, the league has recommended the owners accept the proposal. We remain convinced that Calgary can be a successful franchise. A provincial rival (Edmonton) is coming on board next year. It's important to us that Alberta remain a strong presence in our league.''

As he was exiting the pitch, stage right, Vandale took time to issue a red card to an ongoing complaint of his -- the condition of creaky old Foothills Athletic Park.

"It's the biggest obstacle we faced,'' he reiterated. "We go to a one-off in Saskatoon and draw 6,000 fans, then we come home to Foothills and play in front of 1,500,'' he sighed.

"Calgary is a city of a million people with a lot more money than Saskatoon. So why (are) there 6,000 there and only 1,500 here?

"The venue simply is not good enough.''

When asked the last time he approached the city about funnelling money into a re-do, he replied: "A while ago. It's a difficult sell, with roads and infrastructure money going elsewhere.

"I hope the new ownership group has better luck with an upgrade to Foothills. I certainly didn't have any. What we do have here is tremendous corporate support. I can't say enough good things about the way we were supported in that area.

"Whoever gets involved will also need to strengthen the ties with minor soccer. The Edmonton team joining the league has a deal with the minor soccer community there that brings them $15 with every registration in return for a season ticket. That means $600,000 up front to that franchise. It's so important to be strong in that area.''

On the pitch, the Storm players continue training, doubtless on pins and needles about what will transpire over the next week or so.

"It's been difficult for the lads,'' conceded coach Wheeldon. "There've been rumors floating around the city for three weeks now. The boys get out and about and hear them, and they can't help but wonder. I was actually very pleased with the spirit they showed against Toronto (a 2-0 loss), because we found out what was happening just before the game.

"We've been told that the league is looking for new ownership, or that it could take the franchise over.

"It's a tough thing to go through but just look at Vancouver. They went through a similar situation last year and now are going from strength to strength.

"You've just got to believe things will work out.''

Calgary's Slide Continues Versus "Missing Lynx"

July 1st, 2003

Once again Calgary's offence failed to produce and once again Calgary dropped points in a match that they could have won.

First half goals by Toronto's Ali Ngon and Nikki Vignjevic were enough to give the Lynx full points and put Calgary in another hole in terms of the Voyageurs Cup competition.

Calgary keeper, Dave Wiebenga, had no chance on either goal.   Calgary surrendered yet another goal inside the first ten minutes when, on a defensive miscue, Ngon found himself all alone against the keeper and easily slotted it home.  Vignjevic's 17th minute tally came from a perfectly placed free-kick taken from 25 yards out.  He bent it over the wall and into the top right corner, past the sprawling Wiebenga.

Calgary had it's chances, but just could not put one behind Toronto keeper, Theo Zagar.

Lack of scoring has been the major concern of the Storm this season, and whoever finds themselves at the helm in the near future will have to address this if Calgary wishes to put some more points on the table.

Calgary now heads out on a four week, six game roadtrip.  The Storm will play in the home houses of Seattle (x2), Vancouver (x2), El Paso, and Portland.   We wish the lads the best of luck.  Chins up, a new day is dawning.

Portland Wins Second Straight Over Storm

June 29th, 2003 - courtesy of

CALGARY, Alb. – After a scoreless first half, McKinley Tennyson wasted little time in putting the Timbers on top in the opening minutes of the second and Fadi Afash added on a goal in the 85th minute, giving Portland (7-7-0, 21 pts) a 2-0 win over the Calgary Storm Sunday afternoon at Foothills Park.

The go-ahead score, in the 46th minute, came on a Scott Benedetti corner kick to Tennyson, who took the low-flying kick and dialed it in from point-blank.

The win was the Timbers’ third-straight, putting them in sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division and only four points behind division-leading Seattle. Portland has won five of their last six matches and is at .500 for the first time all season.

Fadi Afash got free late in the match and drew a foul inside the box to set up a penalty kick in the 85th minute. Afash took the kick and put it into the left side of the net, denying the Calgary goalkeeper any chance at a save.

In the first half, Portland missed an opportunity to get on the board early after Calgary defender Ajai Authers fell down, freeing Afash to dish it off to Tennyson, who’s attempt sailed high from six yards out.

Calgary (4-9-2) had an early chance as well from inside 10 yards, but Richard Henry was unable to convert.

Another opportunity for the Timbers came in the 43rd minute, as Jake Sagare got loose and took a shot on Calgary goalkeeper Dave Wiebenga, who managed the save. A follow-up header by Fadi Afash also came up short.

Henry nearly deadlocked it in the 59th, but Josh Saunders got his fingers on the ball and deflected the shot off the right post.

Saunders logged his second shutout in as many games after being loaned to the Timbers for the remainder of the season from San Jose.

SCORING SUMMARY: POR Tennyson, 46th (Benedetti); Afash, 85th (UA)

PENALTY SUMMARY: CAL Gillespie, YC (76th); POR Benedetti, YC (88th) Ritchie, YC

LINEUPS: CALGARY (4-9-2) Wiebenga GK, Fraser D, DeSilva D, Authers D, Peszneker D, Gillespie D, Chala M, Henry M, Zuniga M, Richards F (Reyes), Korthuis F (Clarke); PORTLAND (7-7-0) Saunders GK, Ritchie D, Morrison D, Downing D, Heinzen D, Alcaraz M, Winters M, Sagare M, Benedetti M, Afash F, Tennyson F (Antoniuk).

Calgary Lose In Overtime to Portland

June 27th, 2003

Calgary had a chance to leapfrog Portland on Friday night, but could not bury the shorthanded Timbers at PGE Park.

Portland carried much of the play on the evening, but found themselves down to ten men when Gavin Wilkinson was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 75th minute.

Calgary could not capitalize and Portland's Byron Alvarez made them pay in the second minute of overtime when he slotted a goal off of his own rebound.   Calgary keeper, Dave Wiebenga had made an impressive save on the initial shot, but the rebound landed back at the feet of Alvarez who roofed it over the sprawling stopper.

Calgary was without the leadership of coach Tommy Wheeldon, who remains on suspension.  Calgary was also without the services of Ian Dawes, who has returned to Liverpool to seek a contract for the upcoming season in England.

Calgary and Portland meet again on Sunday, June 29th at 3:00pm at fabled Foothills Park.

Calgary Gains Another Point Against Seattle

By Ron Stickney - Seattle Pitch - June 22nd, 2003

The Seattle Sounders and the Calgary Storm played to a 1-1 draw Sunday afternoon at Foothills Park in Calgary. It was Seattle's sixth overtime game in their last seven matches.

The Sounders (22 points from 12 matches) and Storm (14 points from 13 matches) were originally scheduled to play the game May 10th, but it was postponed because of snow. Instead of snowflakes the two teams played the match in soggy conditions and temperatures in the low 40s. It rained heavily for two hours before the opening kick but the rain abated by game time.

Seattle fell behind in the 38th minute when Calgary's Nik Zuniga blasted a ball past Sounders goalkeeper Rich Cullen from 15 yards left of the Seattle goal. Cullen got his body on the ball but couldn't control it as it slid under him and across the goal line.

Seattle tied the game at 1-1 in the 53rd minute on Andrew Gregor's goal, assisted by Marco Velez. Both of Gregor's goals this season have come in Calgary against the Storm. Gregor left the game in the second half after injuring his leg.

Late Goal Draws Calgary Even With Vancouver

By Jason Kmet - June 15th, 2003

After a lackluster 3-0 loss in Saskatoon on Saturday, the Calgary Storm was looking for payback at Foothills Park where they had a rematch against the Vancouver Whitecaps. 

The first decent scoring opportunity happened in the 13th minute when Calgary's Jordan Gillespie weaved through a couple of Vancouver defenders and approached the Whitecaps goal.  His shot went just outside the right post...MORE

Storm Strike Late to Tie Whitecaps

June 15, 2003

A goal in the dying minutes of the match gave Calgary a valuable point in the rematch versus Vancouver on a beautiful Father's Day Sunday.

The owner of the heroic boot was Liam DeSilva, who found himself in the right place at the right time to bend the twine in the right side of the net and make sure that Calgary walked away with a deserved point.  It was the first point and the first goal that Calgary has posted against their western rivals in threee games this season.  DeSilva's tap came in the 88th minute of play.

Calgary found themselves trailing for much of the game after an apparently harmless  22nd minute shot by Vancouver's Tiarnan King managed to slip through Calgary keeper, Jamey Glasnovic.  Glasnovic appeared to try and stop the ball with his left hand, while down low, but instead, it dribbled right past him.

Leaky goal aside, Calgary fans felt that the Storm should have come away with all 3 points, but the woodwork and the Vancouver keeper thought otherwise.

In the first half, a Richard Henry header, off of a corner kick, found the crossbar, and a Jermaine Richards attempt, across the Vancouver goal mouth, found the left stanchion.  Then, just minutes before DeSilva's last ditch heroics, a fine through-ball found Sean Fraser alone with only the Vancouver keeper to beat, but big Mike Franks swept his legs to deny the goal.

Fortunatley, the approximately 2000 Calgary fans that were in attendance were finally rewarded for there boisterous cheering, and the Calgary players can feel like that came away with something.

The next home match is Sunday, June 22nd versus the Seattle Sounders.  This is the make-up game for the one postponed on May 10th.  Game time is 2:00pm at fabulous Foothills Park

Storm Lose Home Game On The Road

June 14, 2003

In a special clash with the Vancouver Whitecaps at Saskatoon's Griffith Stadium, Calgary found themselves shut out, 3-0, in front of a largly partisan crowd.

The crowd may have been large (5900) and boisterously pro-Calgary, but they could not lift the team to victory on Saturday afternoon.

A first-half goal, off of a cross, by Jeff Clarke, and two second-half tallies by Jason Jordan and Steve Kindel, were enough to do Calgary in.   Those final two strikes came late in the match, giving the Calgary faithful something to cheer about until the very end.

The two squads will battle again on Sunday evening at 7:00pm at fabled Foothills Stadium.

Storm Drop One to Lowly Indiana

June 7, 2003

In a match that Calgary coach, Tommy Wheeldon, coined "an absolute disgrace," the Storm lost 2-0 to the cellar dwelling Indiana Blast.

First half goals by Semir Mesanovic and Jamar Beasley handed Indiana thier first win of the season.

A Calgary win would have lifted them to .500 and placed them comfortably in sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division.  Instead, Calgary's record stands at 4-6 and they share second spot with Portland, who defeated El Paso on Saturday night.

Calgary's next matches are the much anticipated travelling roadshow with the Vancouver Whitecaps on the 14th and 15th.  Saturday's match will be played in the neutral city of Saskatoon, while Sunday's match will be fought at fabled Foothills Park.  Tickets for both matches are still available.

Late Strike Gives Calgary The Win

June 6, 2003

An 87th minute blast from 20 yards out by Nicholas Zuniga gave Calgary an important 1-0 win over the Cincinnati Riverhawks on Friday night.  The match was played at a rain-slicked Town and Country Stadium, across the Ohio border in Wilder, Kentucky.

Some big saves by Storm keeper, Dave Wiebenga, along with the woodwork helped keep Cincinnati off of the scoresheet.

Calgary had the services of Jordan Gillespie, whose two game suspension was lifted by the USL for lack of evidence (we all know he wouldn't have punched that Sounder, right?)

The win lifts Calgary into 2nd place in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of Vancouver and just two points behind Seattle.

Calgary's next match is Saturday, June 7th, versus the Indiana Blast.  Game time is at 6:36 MST.

Shifty Striker Solves Storm

Montreal shuts down Calgary's offence


A season-high crowd showed up yesterday to watch the Calgary Storm take on the Montreal Impact and try to equal its win total from last year. However, the 1,000 Storm faithful on hand at Foothills Athletic Park witnessed the Eduardo Sebrango show, which quickly became a horror movie for those in the stands.

Instead of Calgary getting its fourth win, it was Sebrango putting up four points in a 4-0 Impact win. The 30-year-old scored a goal, was credited with a Storm own goal and set up a pair in the drubbing. "It was a good game. We knew the Storm was playing better than last year and we wanted to come in and have a good start and we did," said the shifty forward, whose team is now unbeaten in its last six games and is 4-1-2 overall.

It took 19 minutes for the Impact to find the back of the net when a wide-open Mauro Biello took a feed from Sebrango and redirected the ball past Storm goalie David Wiebenga.

Montreal went up 2-0 on a bad goal, this one by Sita-Taty Matondo from the short side that went in off Wiebenga on a shot the 'keeper would love to have back. Sebrango got the assist.

Then, just a minute later, Sebrango sent a ball across the Calgary net from 15 metres out on the right side that went in off Storm defender C.J. Pesznecker.

It was, for all intents and purposes, game over for the young Calgary team, which couldn't match the ball control, speed and experience of the Impact. "We were dead and buried and it's a learning curve for (our players)," said Calgary head coach Tommy Wheeldon, whose side falls to 3-5 on the season. "If you make mistakes, you make mistakes and you get done. "If it's Major League Soccer, you can make mistakes like that, but if it's A-League soccer, you can't."

Sebrango would score in the 78th minute, heading in a perfect cross from Abraham Francois.

The Storm's best chance came just before Montreal scored. Nick Zuniga took a free kick from just outside the Impact penalty box. He sent it wide left of the net to Mark Korthuis, who played a lovely header to Liam de Silva's but the defender's shot found the crossbar. "It was a silly 10-minute spell. We should have taken the lead and if Liam doesn't miss that chance, it's a different game," said Wheeldon. Calgary did play well in the first 20 minutes, getting most of its five shots on goal in the early going. But in the second half, the deflated side managed only a single shot on goal and there was nary a scoring chance to be had, even from a couple of Storm corner kicks which were booted out of the attacking zone by Montreal.

Calgary now travels to Cincinnati for a game on Friday night.

Storm are Humbled by Montreal Powerhouse

June 1, 2003

Two goals by the Montreal superstar, Eduardo Sebrango, as well as individual markers by Mauro Biello and Sita-Taty Matondo helped Montreal to cruise to an easy 4-0 victory over the hometown lads at Foothills Park on Sunday afternoon.

Sebrango was the star of the game, setting up the goals that he did not personally score and presenting Calgary with a host of problems throughout the match.  He even had the opportunity for a hat-trick, but sent his spot kick into the stratosphere.  Apparently, he prefers to score his goals the old-fashioned way, with style.

The game could have gone differently for the Storm, had they managed to convert two sitters, prior to conceding the first goal to Montreal.  The difference is this: at this moment in time, Montreal knows how to find the back of the net; Calgary does not.


by Jason Kmet - May 25, 2003

The 2003 A-League schedule maker has arranged for clubs in the Pacific Division to become very familiar with each other. Even though this was only the Calgary Storm's seventh game of the season, they faced the Portland Timbers for the third time this year on Sunday at Foothills Park. The Storm has gone winless in four games last year as well as twice this year against the Timbers. On this pleasant afternoon in front of a modest crowd, the Calgary side finally broke through and defeated Portland for the first time in their history by a score of 2-1...MORE

Calgary Rallies to Beat Portland

May 25, 2003

Two first half goals by Conrad Chala and Mark Korthuis lifted Calgary past the struggling Portland Timbers on Sunday evening.

Despite surrendering an early goal to Portland's McKinley Tennyson, Calgary managed to shut down the Timbers for the remainder of the game and also managed to find the offence needed to aquire the full three points.

Note: Ian Dawes appears to have reaggravated a nagging injury and had to leave the match in the 60th minute.  A full report by Jason will follow.

Calgary Loses Last Second Heartbreaker

May 22, 2003

A goal by Seattle's Andrew Gregor in the 110th minute crushed a valiant effort by the Calgary defence and keeper, Dave Wiebenga. 

The goal, a top corner shot from just outside the 18 yeard box, came in the dying seconds of the second overtime period.

Calgary was under constant pressure in this match.  Yet, the herculean efforts of the defence, some amazing reflex saves by Wiebenga, and the woodwork appeared to have allowed the Storm to escape with a point.  Alas, it was not to be.


By Jason Kmet - May 17, 2003

If there was a game that could show the few Calgary Storm faithful that this sophomore club had improved, this was it. The El Paso Patriots came into town with an unremarkable 1-3-1 record, tired from a game less than 24 hours ago in Vancouver, and playing in unfamiliar cold and windy weather on the road at Foothills Park. If there ever has been a game Calgary should win, this was it. The Storm did their job and defeated the Patriots 2-1 and recorded their second win after five games this season. Last year it took until July 28th and their 21st game to accomplish the same feat.

The first real scoring chance occurred in the 13th minute when Richard Henry of the Storm put a ball through to Nicolas Zuniga who made a break for the goal. Patriots’ keeper Scott Alexander came out to challenge, forcing Zuniga’s shot high just over the bar.

El Paso’s first chance was in the 20th minute when Michael Griego took a shot on goal from in front of net, but American keeper David Wiebenga, in his Storm home debut, made the save.

A Patriot player fell at the center spot in the 26th minute, which gave Sean Fraser a path towards the net, but Guillermo McFarlane made a good defensive recovery and blocked Fraser’s shot at close range.

El Paso started to pressure after the half hour mark, but the only real shot on goal came from Omar Millen on the far left side which Wiebenga easily handled. The half ended as a scoreless draw.

The Storm scored their first goal at Foothills this season in the 53rd minute. Liam DeSilva made a pass to Zuniga, who put the ball right at Fraser’s feet. From there, the Storm striker blew past the Patriot defender and took a shot. Alexander got a piece of it, but it still went past him into the netting.

A couple of minutes later, Fraser had another chance but his 35 yard shot went over the bar.

In the 57th minute, the Storm was awarded a penalty kick. An El Paso player was called for a handball while in the penalty area. Zuniga was selected to take the penalty, and he easily converted.

The combination of Sean Fraser and Richard Henry will provide Storm fans with a lot of excitement this year. In the 66th minute, the duo completed a neat give-and-go play which included a back heel pass by Fraser to the breaking Henry. The Jamaican national’s shot went right to the keeper, ending that threat.

The Patriots had a couple of chances shortly afterwards. In the 72nd minute, Carlos Martinez took a shot that went wide. Three minutes later, Millen’s attempt from 25 yards out was high and wide. El Paso was able to break the shutout in the 78th minute when Griego’s free kick from 20 yards went past the Storm wall and into the bottom right corner of the goal.

In the 80th minute, the scrappy Patriots were finally able to antagonize the Storm into making a big mistake. A Patriot was taunting Zuniga on the far side of the field. Zuniga retaliated by kicking the Patriot, resulting in a red card.

The shorthanded Storm was able to hold on for the final ten minutes of regulation time. Shortly into injury time, Jose Abarca had a good chance to tie when he attained possession in front of the Storm net, but he hit it too high. The final score was Calgary 2 El Paso 1.

Calgary: David Wiebenga, Liam DeSilva, Tommy Wheeldon Jr, Ajai Authers, C.J. Pesznecker, Jordan Gillespie, Conrad Chala, Richard Henry, Nicolas Zuniga, Ian Dawes (Sean Fraser 25th), Mark Korthius

El Paso: Scott Alexander, Sidnei Dos Santos, Carlos Martinez, Guillermo McFarlane, Ahmed Figueroa (Javier Carrasco 67th), Freddy Juarez, Pablo Cabrera, Sem Lopez, Omar Millan (Jose Abarca), Michael Griego, Tim Pierce,

Calgary: Fraser (53rd), Zuniga PK (57th)
El Paso: Griego (78th)

Calgary: Korthius (43rd), Authers (79th)
El Paso: Dos Santos (15th), Millan (21st), Griego (57th),

Calgary: Zuniga (80th)
El Paso: none

Attendance: approximately 350
Weather: cloudy, windy (in first half), 7C (45F)

Ian Dawes left the game with an injury…Nik Reyes, Brett Bachelu, and Jamie Auvigne all missed the game with various injuries. Auvigne was slated to be captain of the squad but has not dressed this season for the club. He is out indefinitely…Keeper David Wiebenga is a grad of Truman State who has USL experience with the PDL Kansas City Brass and spent last year with the D3 Pro Arizona Sahuaros…Defender Thomas Wheeldon Jr. returned to action after missing a game due to suspension…Jamaican Jermaine Richards did not dress, presumably because the Storm had already dressed the maximum number of imports allowed…The Storm will play a friendly on Sunday against the “Sons of Italy” from Winnipeg. They are the reigning Canadian Senior National Club Champions…Calgary’s next home game is on Thursday against the Seattle Sounders at 6:30pm.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The most famous Storm alumnus is goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld. The Edmonton native is now considered Canada’s first choice keeper. He left the Storm last July to join English Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur. He successfully made the jump from the A-League to the EPL and dressed as Kasey Keller’s backup early in the English season. He eventually was loaned to Second Division Luton Town where he saw some action until he injured his hamstring. This injury has kept him out of action indefinitely. It is not known if he will be ready for the Gold Cup in July.

Timbers Score Early and Often

By Allison Andrews (courtesy of Timber Rattlers Website)

May 14, 2003

2003 A-League scoring champ McKinley Tennyson scored twice, and 2003 goal-scoring co-leader Fadi Afash also scored as the Timbers zoomed out to quick two goal lead, and ended up with a convincing 4-1 win over the Calgary Storm in a match played in front of an announced crowd of 2,772 at PGE Park. Jason Melendez had the other Timbers goal, while Mark Korthuis had the lone goal for the Storm.

The Timbers wasted absolutely no time getting on the board, with perhaps one of the fastest goals in A-League history. Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar played a diagonal cross into the box, which bounced in front of Calgary goalkeeper James Glasnovic. Portland's McKinley Tennyson got to the ball first, and headed the ball over the keeper across the goal mouth, where it was knocked home by Fadi Afash, and just 35 seconds into the match, the Timbers were already up 1-0.

The second goal didn't take much longer. In the 7th minute, Afash played a ball wide to Tennyson, who cut back in across the top of the box, and hit a low, hard shot to the bottom left corner of the net, just inside the post, to give the Timbers an early 2-0 lead. Portland's Scott Benedetti had a good shot at a header off a corner kick in the 13th minute, but his header towards the far post was covered by a scrambling Glasnovic.

In the 17th minute, the Storm had their first good attack after Gavin Wilkinson lost the ball near midfield, but Nick Downing scrambled back to knock the ball out of bounds. Two minutes later, another turnover had Ian Dawes in on net, but his shot was a yard over the net.

In the 26th minute, a dangerous cross in from the right side by Alcaraz-Cuellar required a diving punch-out by Glasnovic to stop the ball getting to Tennyson, and stopped a dangerous Timbers threat. Six minutes later, Nicolas Zuniga got around the Timbers defense and made a diagonal run into the Timbers box, and his shot required a jumping save from Portland's keeper Cole Burgman, who knocked it wide left on the hard shot from 15 yards.

But in the 36th minute, the Timbers looked ready to take a 3-0 lead when anTennyson cross to the middle of the box saw Benedetti wide open, but the ball was slightly behind him, and he stumbled on the turf, and was unable to put the ball towards the empty Calgary net. Later that minute, the Storm pulled one back when Burgman was not able to hold onto a Conrad Chala cross, and the ball fell to the feet of Mark Korthuis, who knocked the ball home, and the Storm had pulled to within a goal at 2-1.

The game looked to be a one-goal affair at halftime, but deep into stoppage time, a low pass from Alcaraz-Cuellar to Tennyson deep inside the box allowed the Timbers striker to flick the ball towards net, where it hit off the right post and was into the net, and just before the halftime whistle sounded, the Timbers had widened the lead to 3-1.

In the first twenty minutes of the second half, only the Timbers were getting shots on net, with Alcaraz-Cuellar, Afash, and Manuel Brasil forcing saves from Glasnovic. In the 68th minute, a dangerous Calgary cross into the Timbers box required a punch-out by Burgman, who came well out of the goal mouth to barely get a fist on the ball. The game became more physical as the second half dragged on, with elbows being exchanged on violent collisions a few minutes apart, the second drawing a yellow card on Portland's Alcaraz-Cuellar. But in the 80th minute, the Timbers scored another goal, seemingly out of nowhere. Portland's Jason Melendez made a charge deep into the box after a free ball, and flicked it up over Glasnovic from only seven or eight yards out. Melendez was flattened in the collision with the keeper, but the high chip came down barely under the bar to put the Timbers up 4-1 as Melendez recorded his first professional goal.

The Storm had one more good chance to score in the 87th minute when Zuniga took a free kick for Calgary just a yard outside the Timbers box. Both teams had a few more shots on goal in the last few minutes, but none forced difficult saves by the respective keepers, and the Timbers held on for a 4-1 victory, their second over Calgary in three days.

Storm Drop Home Opener 1-0

By Jason Kmet

The Calgary Storm began their home schedule for 2003 with a loss to divisional rival Portland on Wednesday night in front of a small crowd at Foothills Park. There were a lot of skeptics who thought the club would not survive into its sophomore season, but they have returned with a revamped roster which showed signs that they can improve on their four win inaugural season.

The Timbers had a decent chance early when Storm defender Liam DeSilva gave the ball away to McKinley Tennyson right in front of the net, but Jamie Glasnovic made the save at point blank range.

In the 6th minute, the Storm showed a bit of offense. C.J. Pesznecker made a run along the left side and put a nice ball on the ground across to Sean Fraser, but he put it over the net. Jordan Gillespie also attempted to set up Fraser from the same position in the 11th minute, but the Storm forward’s header went wide.

Portland had a couple of chances in the 14th minute. First there was a chaotic scramble in front of the net, with the ball being chased by several players. Glasnovic was able to scoop it up. Moments later Timbers scoring machine Fadi Afash was alone in front of the net on his back. He tried to flick the ball over Glasnovic, but the keeper was able to reach up and deflect the ball over the net.

One of the Storm’s new Jamaican recruits had the next two scoring chances. Jermaine Richards knocked a volley over the bar in the 19th minute. In the 32nd minute, he launched a rocket from about 40 yards from goal. Timbers keeper Cole Burgman was able to get in front of it, but he bobbled the ball. Unfortunately for the Storm, the keeper recovered before anyone could collect the loose ball.

The deadlock was broken in the 43rd minute when an unmarked Afash put the ball past Glasnovic after receiving an excellent pass from Tennyson on the left side. There was some suggestion there was a handball on the play, but the officials did not call anything.

There wasn’t much to report in the second half until the 57th minute, when Portland’s Brian Winters had a breakaway of sorts. He didn’t have total control of the ball and Glasnovic was able to come off his line and successfully challenge him.

The Storm applied some pressure just after the hour mark. Substitute Mark Korthius had the best chance in the 73rd minute, but was unable to finish.

The Timbers tried to pad their lead in the 81st minute when Manuel Brasil put the ball through to Jason Melendez in the middle but he shot the ball wide.

Calgary’s last chance to tie occurred near full time, but Nicolas Zuniga was not able to control the ball in the Timbers’ box sufficiently to get a shot on goal.

Lineups: Calgary: Jamie Glasnovic, Jermaine Richards ( Mark Korthius 57th ), Liam DeSilva, Ajai Authers, C.J. Pesznecker, Jordan Gillespie, Conrad Chala, Richard Henry, Nicolas Zuniga, Nik Reyes (Dawes 40th), Sean Fraser (Keegan Thomas 78th) .

Portland: Cole Burgman, Nick Downing (Bryn Ritchie 87th), Gavin Wilkenson, Aaron Heinzen, Brian Winters, Hugo Alcaraz-Cueller, Manuel Brasil, Jason Melendez, Scott Benedetti, Fadi Afash (Jacob Vaughn 74th), McKinley Tennyson (Daniel Antoniuk 57th)

Goals: Portland: Afash (43rd)

Cautions: Calgary: Peszneker (40th), DeSilva (45th)

Ejections: None

Attendance: unannounced – estimates from 250 to 600. Weather: sunny, calm 10C (approximately 50F)

STORM WARNINGS: The public address announcer started the proceedings with some unintentional humor when he introduced the opposition as the Seattle Sounders. He quickly corrected himself…Nik Reyes left the game with an injury …Reyes was a key member of the 2001 Storm PDL side that went to the league championship. He played in local league last season…Sean Fraser is another member of the 2001 PDL side to return to the club this year. However, Fraser never saw the pitch in 2001 because of an injury…Storm forward Brett Bachelu was injured last week in Seattle and will be out of the lineup for about two weeks…Defender Thomas Wheeldon Jr. sat the game out due to suspension…Among the Storm players making their first appearance at Foothills Park were Jamaicans Richard Henry, Jermaine Richards, and Ajai Authers. All three are on loan from Constance Springs FC of the Jamaica National Premier League. Henry has represented Jamaica at the senior national team level. Richards and Authers have both played for the Jamaican U23 national team…Nineteen year old English midfielder Ian Dawes made his A-League debut. He spent the last six years in the youth system of soccer giants Liverpool…Due to technical difficulties, there were no national anthems played and the Timbers were unable to broadcast the game back to Portland…The club returns to Foothills Park on Saturday when the El Paso Patriots pay a visit.

Storm Fall Flat


Looking to make a statement in its home-opener, the Calgary Storm fell short against the Portland Timbers last night.

Instead of winning two in a row, the Storm fell 1-0 to the visitors, who picked up their first win of the season at Foothills Athletic Park.

The lone goal came at the 43-minute mark when Portland jumped on a Calgary turnover at midfield and moved the ball into Storm territory. Fadi Afash, the Syrian soccer whiz, found the back of the net.

It was a controversial marker as many in the crowd, along with Storm coach Tommy Wheeldon, thought they saw a hand ball before Afash scored but no infraction was called.

"We're looking at hand ball and quite a few people saw it but the officials are against us here," said Wheeldon, whose side falls to 1-2 on the season.

But the bench boss was also unhappy with his team's performance for its first game back on the pitch since a 2-1 victory last week over the Seattle Sounders.

"I'm very disappointed in the performance. The effort's there but there was no quality of play and we resorted to their long ball which is not what we're about and I was very disappointed not to come away with anything," he said.

Calgary did have a couple of glorious chances in the first half, especially striker Sean Fraser, who took a cross from Jordan Gillespie but headed the ball wide on the far side.

"I was just trying to head it into the far corner but I got too far over and it spun off my head a bit," said Fraser.

"I was thinking too hard about where to put it and I changed my mind. That's what happens when you think too much about scoring."

Nicolas Reyes went in on a partial break soon after but the striker's shot went wide.

The Storm will be out for revenge tomorrow night in Portland.

Home-opener far from sweet

Storm plagued by familiar problems

Murray Rauw - Calgary Herald - Tuesday, May 13, 2003

There was a new look to the Calgary Storm lineup, but too many things looked the same Monday.

There was unpredictable weather, sparse attendance, some rather shaky off-field preparation and a dearth of Storm goals.

The Portland Timbers got a goal from Fadi Afash in the 44th minute and made it stand up as they defeated the Storm 1-0 as Calgary opened its A-League home schedule in front of about 250 fans at Foothills Athletic Park.

The loss dropped the Storm to 1-2.

Calgary coach Tommy Wheeldon didn't try to sugarcoat the loss. He felt his team took a step backwards from their level of play on the schedule's opening weekend when they split two games on the West Coast.

He said the effort was obvious, but his team seemed to lack intensity.

"There was no atmosphere in the stands, but we have to make our own excitement," said Wheeldon. "There was no quality of play. It's a loss when we should have won."

Cole Burgman, making his first start in the Portland goal, wasn't pressed in recording the shutout. He needed to make only five saves while eight other attempts missed the target.

Rookie Sean Fraser seemed to be set up perfectly at the 12-minute mark after a crossing pass from Jordan Gillespie, but he directed the ball wide.

The Storm also felt they were victims of poor officiating on the only goal of the game. They wanted play blown dead and a hand-ball called after the ball bounced off bodies before Afash deposited it in the net.

"It's all dependant on whether the referee sees it," said Storm player-assistant coach Conrad Chala. "If he can't see it, he has to leave it up to the linesmen and neither of them were there to call it. There is no question about it, from our angle, it was (touched)."

The Storm complaints were ignored.

"Quite a few people saw it," said Wheeldon. "Again, the officials are against us here. They say coaches have problems but they are in world of their own."

"We're not worried," said Chala. "Fom what we saw of their team, we feel we can beat them. One fluke goal and we had our chance. We didn't capitalize."

The opening results had to be disappointing for Storm owner Michael Vandale but he remained positive that better results would come Saturday when the El Paso Patriots are at Foothills Athletic Park.

Vandale was braced for a poor crowd. Monday night games are never popular and a series of showers prior to the game didn't help lure fans. There was not a drop of rain during the game.

Monday night, lineups weren't available for fans and substitution cards weren't ready for the officiating crew. A Portland radio announcer wasn't able to call the game back to Oregon because the booth wasn't prepared for a live broadcast.

The Storm hit the road Wednesday looking for revenge in Portland.

Calgary Loses Close One

May 12th, 2003

Calgary lost a close battle with the Portland Timbers on Monday night.  In front of a sparse crowd at Foothills Park, the Storm missed some glorious chances and eventually fell to a late first half goal by Portland's Fadi Afash.

Match report by Jason Kmet to follow.


Timbers provide tall order for Storm

Graeme McElheran - Calgary Herald - Monday, May 12, 2003

Only two games into the season, Calgary's premier professional soccer team is already on track to eclipse last year's dismal record.

After a split of games on the road during the season's opening weekend on May 3 and 4, the Calgary Storm is 1-1, thanks to a solid 2-1 victory against the defending A-League champion Seattle Sounders.

Today, the Storm faces the Portland Timbers, another team that had Calgary's number last season, when it tallied only four wins in 28 outings.

"We've yet to beat them," said Storm head coach Tommy Wheeldon. "I think we tied them one time last year, down at their place."

The prospect of facing Portland (6:30 p.m., Foothills Athletic Park) is daunting, even on the Storm's home turf, but that doesn't phase the team.

"It's going to be a difficult year for us again," Wheeldon said. "The three teams that are in our conference are recognized as top teams."

Those teams include the Timbers, the Sounders and the Vancouver Whitecaps, which soundly thrashed the Storm 6-0 in the season-opener.

Wheeldon said the Storm is fortunate to have a win at this early stage in the season, especially against the defending champs.

"That's the big thing for us, and we're happy to build on it," he said.

At this point, Wheeldon said, the Storm's main goal is to improve on last year's record with five wins. And he'd like them as quick as possible.

"That's our target," Wheeldon said. "If there's any chance for playoffs we'll be pushing for that."

Wheeldon put his final squad together just a week before the Vancouver opener -- which he says showed in the Storm's sound defeat.

"We hadn't really had the preparation we should have done," he said. "That didn't help us when we went to play Vancouver."

With the recent acquisition of Liverpool-based midfielder Ian Dawes, the Storm has finally rounded out both its team and the five-man international component provided by the league.

But the Storm's fledgling status coupled with foul weather that has so often forced its practice inside Currie Barracks, where players work on a gymnasium floor too small to accommodate set plays, has left little time for the team to gel.

As for the Timbers, Wheeldon professed great respect for coach Bobby Howe's experience and noted the club has just re-signed forward McKinley Tennyson, the A-League's leading goal scorer last season.

But for the most part, the Storm is going into today's match blind.

"Generally, we're going into the unknown because they've changed so many of their faces as well," Wheeldon said.

Storm hoping to keep rollin'


 It's still early in the season but the Calgary Storm will get a big test tonight.
The exam will be to see how much momentum and confidence the side brings when it takes on the Portland Timbers (Foothills Athletic Park, 6:30 p.m.) after upsetting Seattle 2-1 last weekend.

And Storm head coach Tommy Wheeldon hopes the win over the Sounders wasn't a flash-in-the-pan.

"The lads have just got to build and hopefully it wasn't a one-off against Seattle," said the bench boss, whose team is off to a 1-1 start in its second A-League season.

"If it is a one-off, it's going to be hard to take because we played really well against Seattle."

Portland had an 0-2 record heading into Vancouver last night and, while Wheeldon doesn't expect the Timbers to be a pushover, he does expect his side to open it up a bit for its home-opener.

"We're going to have to work as hard as we did against Seattle and we've got to be a bit more adventurous at home, obviously, because of the (fan) support," said Wheeldon.

Last week's weather forced the Storm indoors, except for a couple of practices.

Calgary's Brent Bachelau will miss the game because of a stress fracture in his foot, while Tommy Wheeldon Jr. will sit out his one-game suspension for a red card.

Wheeldon is unsure who will start in goal between Jamie Glasnovic, who was in net against Seattle, or Dave Wiebenga, who played in the Vancouver loss.

Gillespie Makes Team of the Week

May 7, 2003 - Courtesy of Calgary FC

Calgary Storm's Jordan Gillespie was selected to the A-League Team of the Week. Jordan's success came in part from scoring the opening goal in Storm's 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders last Sunday at Seahawks Stadium.

Jordan, who hails from Saskatoon, currently attends the University of Alberta in the off- season while studying for a degree in the arts. At 6'0" tall and 175 lbs., Jordan has brought physical play to the team since joining Storm midway through last season after playing in the reserve team at the PDL level.

"I am very honoured to be selected this early in the season., It was a great win against Seattle, but one game does not make a season. We will have our work cut out for us this Saturday on our home opener, which is a rematch against Seattle. I am sure the Sounders, who had the best record in the league last year, will be out for revenge." Said Jordan.

Storm Sign Ian Dawes

May 6, 2003 - Courtesy of Calgary FC

Calgary Storm are pleased to announce the signing of 19 year old midfielder Ian Dawes to a one year contract.

Dawes, a 5' 8" 165 lb.midfielder, was with Liverpool FC youth system for the past 6 years before being discovered by Storm at the England Premier League Assessment Trials in February of this year.

" Ian is a crafty player who should be able to fit in well with us. We are hoping he will add creativity in the midfield as well as provide a few more goals for us." said Tommy Wheeldon, Calgary Storm Head Coach.

" I am pleased to be here. Tommy knew a few of the soccer people I knew back home and they spoke highly of him. I hope I can give the club a good run, although I sure hope the weather improves !" said Dawes.

The Storm are home for the Portland Timbers on Monday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. Predicated on their success at the Bachelor Auction in the Women's Show, where proceeds went to Big Brothers and Big Sisters, The Storm will be hosting their first Ladies Night for the Portland game. All girls can gain admission for $5.00.

Storm Rebound to beat Sounders

May 4, 2003 - Seattle, Wash.

Calgary 2 - 1 Seattle

Calgary managed to pick themselves up and dust themselves off after being humbled the previous night by Vancouver.

The Storm put in a gutsy performance and managed to walk away with a 2-1 victory over the always-tough Seattle Sounders at Seahawks Stadium.

The Storm rode into the win column on the back of goals by Jordan Gillespie and Nicholas Zuniga.  Gillespie's marker came in the 12th minute and Zuniga's came from the penalty spot in the 55th.

Seattle's Kyle Smith managed to score a consolation goal in the 90th minute and spoiled the shutout attempt of Calgary keeper, Jamie Glasnovic.

Like Calgary did on Saturday, Seattle had to play with 10 men for most of the game when Sean-Michael Callahan was red-carded for a wicked, studs-up tackle in the 22nd minute.

The Storm are now 1-0-1 on the season and sit third in the Pacific Division.


Storm Get Hit By Tsunami

May 3, 2003 - Burnaby, B.C.

Vancouver 6 - 0 Calgary

Last year, in the Storm's inaugural first match, they were humbled 4-0 by the El Paso Patriots.  Calgary decided to go one (or two) better for this year's season opener.

The Calgary Storm were swamped and swept overboard by a vastly superior Vancouver Whitecaps team at Swangard Stadium on Saturday night.

First half goals by Tiarnan King, Jason Jordan, Oliver Heald, and Steve Kindel staked the Whitecaps to a commanding 4-0 lead at the break.  Two second-half markers by Paul Dailly and Andrew Veer completed the rout.

The Vancouver faithful reported that Calgary looked disorganised and confused throughout the game and much of this can be blamed on lack of pre-season preparation.  Vancouver's News1130 even stated that some of the Calgary FC player's jersey numbers did not match the numbers on their shorts.  Fashion faux pas aside, it is clear that Calgary will have to get up to speed quickly if they hope not to repeat last season's dismal record.

If any silver lining can be found in this result, it is the fact that Calgary rebounded after last season's opening-night trouncing to defeat Minnesota in their next match.  To do this sort of thing again, however, Calgary must beat the powerhouse Seattle Sounders in the host's impressive new venue on Sunday.  This is a tall order, indeed.

Snow Greets Storm Recruits
No worry of getting cold feet, three Jamaican players say.

Murray Rauw - Calgary Herald
Sunday, April 27, 2003

Talk about a shock to the system.

Three Calgary Storm recruits from Kingston, Jamaica, arrived in the city only hours before the freak snowstorm that paralysed the city Saturday.

Surprisingly, none asked Storm chairman Michael Vandale to put them on the next plane bound for the Caribbean.

This was the first time Richard Henry, Jermaine Richards and Ajai Authers had ever seen snow.

"I knew Canada was cold, that was expected," said Authers, who was indoors for practice with the rest of the Storm at the Calgary Forces Base. "We just have to adjust to the weather."

"It's OK, it's fun," said Richards, 21, after throwing his first snowball. "No, no. There are no second thoughts."

None of the Jamaicans could even remember meeting a Canadian tourist in their home country until Vandale was introduced to them this winter.

"But the weather, I heard about it," said Richards.

They are here for one reason, to improve their soccer opportunities. It's a passion that has become a year-round occupation.

They finished playing for Constant Springs of the Jamaica Senior League on Wednesday and now have met their new A-league teammates.

Henry remembered thinking about the daring move to Calgary earlier in the week and wondering what it would be like.

He never imagined anything like the snow that blanketed the city.

All three come to the Storm with high recommendations to Storm coach Tommy Wheeldon, who must have his team ready to open the new season in Seattle on May 2.

The references came from Steve Hart, the Canadian under-17 national coach, and the Jamaican national coach.

"I still have to see them play, myself," said Wheeldon, stressing the only promise made to the trio was that they would be given an opportunity.

But after a 4-12 inaugural season, the Storm needs help and the Jamaicans are seen as part of the seven-player foreign content that is being injected into the lineup.

The Jamaicans join Tommy Wheeldon Jr. of England and American goalkeeper Sean Weibenga on the roster along with two players from England -- Jason Cousins and Paul Buckle who are slated to join the Storm on June 1.

"It's a privilege and great opportunity for me to to meet new people and see a different country and see what Canadian soccer is all about,'' said the six-foot-one Henry, who at 24 is the oldest of the new Storm players.

Richards bypassed an opportunity to apprentice as a welder to sign with Calgary while Authers and Richards never considered another line of work.

"I didn't hesitate when I was asked," said Richards, who has been described as a charismatic player, using speed and never-stop hustling style to offset his lack of size -- five-foot-nine, 140 poun

Saskatoon to get glimpse at pro soccer

Kevin Mitchell - The StarPhoenix
Thursday, April 10, 2003

A professional soccer league will put the boots to Griffiths Stadium this summer -- the first step in what may turn into a future franchise for Saskatoon . . . or not.

The A-League's Calgary Storm will play the Vancouver Whitecaps June 14 at Griffiths in a regular-season matchup designed to showcase the circuit to local fans.

"It would be great for Canadian soccer if we can spread the word and see what kind of response we get," said Storm head-coach Tommy Wheeldon, who will be in town for a press conference today. "It's obviously a hotbed of soccer down there in Saskatoon."

Doug Gillespie, who is organizing the game on a local level, said most of the proceeds will go towards the new soccer centre, with the rest being given to the University of Saskatchewan soccer programs.

He hopes the thudding balls and pounding feet show Saskatoon fans and players a side of the game they don't usually see up close.

"More than anything, it's an awareness thing," Gillespie said. "The purpose isn't primarily for the revenue. The purpose is for awareness of the game, and to expose the Saskatchewan market to the professional game. We want to show that local athletes can compete at that level."

The Storm includes both an A-League team and a reserve squad in the Premiere Development League. The latter loop is an amateur, North American-wide circuit geared for collegiate and pre-professional players.

The A-League is a minor-pro circuit based mostly in the United States, with salary ranges comparable to minor-league baseball.

Several Saskatchewan-bred players have ties to the Storm. Saskatoon's Jordan Gillespie, Doug's son, played with the organization last year.

So did Keegan Thomas, Mark Korthuis and Mike Kennedy of Saskatoon along with Brett Bachelu of Regina.

Some of them will play in the June 14 game.

Storm owner Michael Vandale, a native of Kamsack, says he'd love to see Saskatoon land a PDL franchise at some point, but he points out that this city's relatively remote locale could be a problem.

"There's no question that you'd have great crowds in Saskatoon, and that's why we talk about it," Vandale said. "There's no doubt the support would be there, but it becomes a travel issue. We've tossed the idea around, but until we have somebody closer playing . . . it's quite a distance when you go Salem to Abbotsford to Saskatoon.

"But the Saskatchewan Roughriders always make a go of it. If there's support because so many people are playing soccer, why not? It could be a positive step. First things first, though; let's see who shows up (in June)."

More importantly, from Vandale's perspective, is the marketing potential his team can realize from staging a game in Saskatoon.

"From doing things like this, I think you'll see more players coming out of Saskatchewan," he said. "There's always this thing that you have to see it, and once you see it, you'll know you can do it. This will help us in trying to attract more Saskatchewan players to our program, and I think it will give a lot of younger kids the impetus to realize that getting soccer scholarships to the U.S., or trying to fulfill a dream of getting to Europe, is a reality."

Three Calgary FC players headed for overseas action

April 6, 2003  --  Nikolas Ledgerwood, Nicholas Zuniga and Waldemar Dutra have been slated to travel over the two great oceans to showcase their talents in foreign lands.

Ledgerwood appears to be heading to European powerhouse, Bayern Munich, for a year-long trial with the Bundesliga leader.

***Note: It had been stated that Zuniga would be joining Kyoto Purple Sanga of the Japanese J-League.  Zuniga's trial period is over and he is back in Calgary, training with the Storm.

***Waldemar Dutra is headed to Europe, rather than Japan, as had previously been rumoured.  Again, the destination is not known at this time.

Loyal fans of Calgary FC extend their best wishes to these young men for their future endeavours.


Storm full of optimism after tough debut season

Players look for fresh start

Murray Rauw - Calgary Herald - Thursday, March 20, 2003

The off-season was occupied with soul-searching, number crunching and evaluation.

As the Calgary Storm turn the page to a new A-League soccer season, they are confident the worst is behind them.

"I want to play at the highest level," said Jamie Auvigne, a native Calgarian who has been named team captain by head coach Tommy Wheeldon.

Auvigne joined a group of holdovers that attended a Wednesday media conference, all showing a desire to start the year with a positive attitude and a determination to make pro soccer work in Calgary.

The Storm outlined an organization with the pro team at the top of a pyramid with four youth-group teams (boys and girls) that will take Calgary's name from Texas to Spain in international tournaments.

The Storm open their 28-game A-League schedule with road games in Vancouver and Seattle on May 3 and 4.

The home-opener will be against Seattle on May 10.

Auvigne is intrigued by the addition of Richard Henry, Jermaine Richards and Ajai Authers to the roster. All are on loan from their Constance Springs F.C. club team in Jamaica.

"It's positive because you're going to see different styles of soccer," said the 25-year-old Auvigne. "They will be flamboyant with their attacking. It will be interesting as long as they flow into our system."

The Storm now admit they weren't good enough last season, which was complicated by player walkouts, a coach's firing and financial problems that forced the local contingent to play without being paid.

"For a while, we played with no substitutions available, then we brought some new players in and it was hard to gel," said Auvigne.

Wheeldon, who replaced Thomas Niendorf as coach in early July after the team started 1-12-2, was still defending the development model followed by the Storm. His observation was that maybe they tried to move ahead too quickly.

"It was a massive job going from the PDL (Premier Development League) to the A-League in one year," said Wheeldon.

"And when you look back at it, I'm not sure it was the right decision. I would probably have stayed in the PDL for two or three more years."

Wheeldon revealed the Storm has suffered one serious setback.

Damir Jesic, a versatile member of last year's team, injured a knee while playing indoor soccer at the University of Alberta and is out until late this summer.

And efforts to upgrade Foothills Athletic Park didn't get far, so they will play another season in the sub-standard facility.

But Wheeldon is optimistic that, by next year, the Storm will have an Alberta rival.

An announcement is still pending, but Edmonton is closer to landing an A-League franchise.

Storm Acquires Caribbean Beat - from

Michael Vandale, Chairman of the Calgary Storm secured the talents of three players from Constance Springs FC of the Jamaica National Premier League while there as Canadian Head of Delegation for the Men’s U17 friendly games with Jamaica.
Richard Henry 24, a 6’ 2” 180lb. midfielder is described as a smooth player who is creative and tackles brilliantly. Henry represented the Senior Jamaica National Team and has represented Constance Springs F.C. since 1998. Prior to that he played with Arlington F.C. and Rainbow F.C., both located in Jamaica.
Jermaine Richards 20, is smaller than his teammate coming in at 5’ 8” 150lbs and also displays his abilities in midfield. Richards was invited to play on the U23 Jamaican National Team and has been with Constance Springs F.C. since the beginning of 2002. He has been praised as an agile player who shows determination in his tackling.
Ajai Authers, 22 yrs. of age shows his talents both in defence and as a centre forward. At 5’ 11” 185lbs he is recognized as a strong soccer player who anticipates the game well. Authers is noted for his ability to use both feet and for being spectacular in the air. He was also invited to play on the U23 Jamaican National team, and has been representing Constance Springs F.C. in youth and senior team play since 1992.
All three players will add their strengths and abilities to the Storm roster for the 2003 Season starting with the home opener being played on May 10 at Foothills Stadium against Seattle Sounders, Western Conference A-League champions.
Richard Henry, Jermaine Richards and Ajai Authers, on loan for the 2003 A-League season, come to the Storm on the recommendation of Carl Brown, Jamaica National Team coach and technical director.         See:

Nik Ledgerwood's exploits make the pages of the Herald
See for youself - February 14, 2003

Michael Vandale and Mark Cartwright on QR 77
January 24, 2003
Mark metioned the past three clubs that he had played for (Wrexham, Brighton & Hove Albion, and Shrewsbury - for those who didn't know)

He called his time in the Second and Third division "an up and down rollercoaster." This may be reference to some injury problems that he has had and his battle with Michel Kuipers for the number one spot at Brighton.

He mentioned having spent some time with Exeter City and got in contact with Tommy (Wheeldon) and chose to come to Calgary when the opportunity came up.

Mark also noted that he would be looking to get into the coaching side when his playing career comes to an end.

Cartwright acknowledged that he would "probably be relatively busy" in goal this season, but that it would be an opportunity to show the fans the "experience I've had and the games that I've played." He let it be known that he is a very vocal keeper and that he would "yell, bawl, and scream," for the full 90 minutes and joked that "people will probably get sick of me."
* Postscript - Alas, the fans of Calgary will not have a chance to get sick of Cartwright, as he has chosen to sign with Shrewsbury Town of the English 3rd Division.  Calgary coach, Tommy Wheeldon, is said to be in contact with two other keepers at the present time.

On the venue front...Michael mentioned that we would, once again, be watching our footy at Foothills Stadium for one more year and that they would "see what we can do in the future." Sigh.


Courtesy: Murray Rauw, Calgary Herald.

After being frustrated in his attempts to find player help in the United Kingdom, Calgary Storm Chairman Michael Vandale has tapped a new talent pool to supplement his A-League soccer team's roster.

"I just hope they haven't been reading the Calgary weather reports," said Vandale, who has obtained three players from Jamaica on loan agreement for the upcoming season.
Midfielder Richard Henry, 24, midfielder Jermaine Richards, 20, and defender Ajai Authers, 22, will join the Storm for the 2003 season. All three play for Constance Springs FC of the Jamaica National premier League.

"We need some help, I don't think there was any doubt about it," said Vandale, who insisted the Storm mandate to develope Alberta talent will remain a priority. " We needed a bit more than we had last year and we're trying to fill in those gaps.
I saw them play when I was there and I was impressed. I was down there for soccer with the Canadian delegation at the U-17 national team. Some of our games were before the Premier League games."

The trio comes to Calgary with the recommendations of Carl Brown, the Jamaican senior national team coach and technical director.

It provides a good fit for the Jamaicans because the seasons are complementary. Their league runs through the winter months, so they can now concentrate on soccer all year and make some extra money in the process.

"They're young enough and they want to get to the next level," said Vandale, "They want to play as much competitive soccer as possible. This is a great springboard for them. They're looking at becoming permanent fixtures on their national team."

Vandale said the Jamaicans bring the element of speed.
"The speed of the game in Jamaica is exceptional," said Vandale. "All three of these players can run and they're very good with their feet."

Richards was the first player noticed by Vandale. He is small at five-foot-eight but Vandle saw a buzz-saw on the pitch.
"I couldn't believe the way he played... he had an unbelievable engine," said Vandale. "He was all over, tackling and penetrating. He showed a lot of energy."

Vandale has told all three players what they can expect in the A-League, including some new, modern facilities, as well as make-shift facilities such as Foothills Athletic Park in Calgary, which didn't meet A-League standards last year and not much has been improved for 2003.

The Storm also will have Tommy Wheeldon, Jr., of England, the son of Storm head coach Tommy Wheeldon.
They had made overtures to English keeper Mark Cartwright, but he rejected the offer and signed with another tean in England.


The One That Got Away

Goalkeeper Mark Cartwright, who the Storm had been courting to backstop the squad for the 2003 season, has signed with Shrewsbury Town of the English 3rd Division.

The 30 year old keeper had guarded the pipes for such clubs as Wrexham, Brighton & Hove Albion, and the aforementioned Shrewsbury Town. He had the distinction of keeping 6 consecutive clean sheets for Albion in the 2001 season. Calgary coach, Tommy Wheeldon, is said to be in talks with two other keepers.

Calgary FC in hunt for Aldershot FC players

Here are the three players we're trying to sign from the "Shots":

Date of Birth: 16/12/70 - Welwyn Garden City
Joined Aldershot in July 2002 from Exeter City on a free transfer after a career boasting over 370 League and Cup appearances, scoring 24 goals from his familiar defensive midfield position. Paul had rejoined the Grecians in July 1999 on a two-year contract, having become a free agent after spending three seasons with Colchester United. 'Bucks' began his career with Brentford, before moving to Torquay United, and then onto Exeter City in a player exchange deal in November 1995.

Due to financial cut backs at the club, Bucks left Exeter in the summer of 1996 and linked up with Steve Wignall's Colchester United side where he helped them win promotion to Division Two. Having overcome an ankle injury the season before last, Paul played some of the most consistent football of his career last term and also netted some excellent goals. He is a terrier of a midfielder and you can expect to see him cover every blade of grass during matches. His mobility and stamina are likely to make Bucks a crowd favourite at The Rec.

Date of Birth: 02/10/1981 - Hastings
Joined Aldershot in May 2002 having been released from QPR. Spent some time on loan at Hayes last season after Terry Brown joined Aldershot. His performances attracted a lot of attention as Hayes nearly pulled off a dramatic escape from relegation thanks in part to Nikki's ability between the sticks. Hayes hoped to retain Nikki, but he opted to join Terry Brown at The Rec and quickly put pen to paper.

Terry Brown said that Gareth Howells has had no competition for the No 1 shirt and that a young and talented keeper like Nikki will provide that competition as well as very able strength in depth. At just 20 years of age the best of this keeper is yet to come and Paul Priddy, the Shots' highly respected goalkeeping guru, has yet another gem to nurture. In February 2003 Nikki was called up to the England National Game XI and further representative honours dountless await him.

Date of Birth: 14/10/70 - Hayes
Joined the Shots in June 2002 after an illustrious 11 season career at Wycombe Wanderers. Martin O'Neil was a great admirer and signed the no nonsense defender from Brentford where he was a trainee in 1991 and he became part of the team that won the FA Trophy, two successive promotions and played in Wycombe's narrow FA Cup Semi Final defeat. Also picked up two player of the season awards. After the Cup semi final defeat against Liverpool, Jason said "Robbie Fowler was walking about in a Jason Cousins shirt at the end. (I'm sure that will end up in the bin but I'll treasure the one he gave me)."

After 473 appearances for Wycombe, scoring 9 goals, Couz was told by Lawrie Sanchez that his contract was not being renewed. Alerted to this, Terry Brown - who had been tracking Couz for over a year - immediately approached him with a contract offer at The Rec despite the interest of several other clubs. Enough said in terms of experience. Couz is the kind of battling player with that hunger to win that Terry wants at Aldershot. Couz adds yet more steel to the Shots defence and is equally at home in the centre or on the right. In joining the Shots he teams up with former Wycombe colleagues Dave Carroll, John Nutter and Lee Holsgrove.

For Ledgerwood, the busier the better.

Courtesy: Murray Rauw, Calgary Herald
Friday, February 14, 2003

The hectic schedule outlines how Nik Ledgerwood has become the Golden Boy of Canada's soccer future.

He's made the national under-20 team, played when it qualified for the world championship and later toured Mexico with the team.

He has been auditioning with the U-23 Canadian team that will eventually play at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

"I enjoy playing soccer everyday," said Ledgerwood. "If I could play soccer everyday until I'm 40, it would be unbelievable."

In March, the Canadian U-20 team, with Ledgerwood on board, will leave for the world championship, slated for the United Arab Emirates. If political conditions don't improve, the tournament will be shifted to Japan.

"That would be a lot safer, I believe," said Ledgerwood. "As far as I know, the tournament is still going to happen in the United Arab Emirates. You don't feel too safe going over there."

Canada will meet Brazil in its first game and be in a pool that includes the Czech Republic and Australia.

All of this and he turned 18 years old in January. He's proud to be the youngest player to make the U-20 team.

"The under-20 team is actually in Miami right now," said Ledgerwood, who is back home in Lethbridge this week. "Then they go to Trinidad."

Ledgerwood is bypassing that Caribbean tour to rest a right hamstring pull.

"It was a long, hard season last year -- my first in the A-League. We did a lot of pre-season training, plus I was on the Alberta U-17 team, the Canadian U-17 team and I was on the Alberta Summer Games team. I've been having injuries lately, which might be holding me back. That's why I stayed back on this trip."

Which begs the question: Will Ledgerwood have anything left to play with the Calgary Storm in the A-League this year?

"I'm getting good medical advice from physios, doctors and parents," said an unconcerned Ledgerwood, when asked if he might be overdoing it.

Ledgerwood is one of three players from the Storm on the Canadian U-20 roster but he is the only one from Southern Alberta. Chris Lemire and Waldo Dutra, both of Edmonton, have also made the team. Ledgerwood said they haven't forgotten about upcoming obligations with the Storm when the A-League starts in May.

Last season was a nightmare for the Storm. They were bogged down by inexperience and had a 4-12 record in their first season in the A-League.

Despite the long summer, Ledgerwood insisted he was a better soccer player for the experience.

"Playing for the Storm helped me a lot because it was like stepping into Second Division," he said.

He said the added benefits of the international experience of the three Storm players allows them to train all year, and they'll bring new skills back after playing the likes of Brazil.

It's not that he wants to be a lifer in the A-league. His long range goal is to earn a European contract and follow the footsteps of Lars Hirschfeld, the Storm keeper who is now playing with Tottenham Hotspur in England.

The upcoming U-20 championship may provide that window as scouts will swarm the tournament.

His search for bigger things comes with the support of Storm chairman Michael Vandale, who has maintained the mandate of the Storm is to develop players for the highest level

"It's only positive if a player can come through here and work their way elsewhere," said Vandale. "Nik has a promising future, I expect big things from him."

But for now, the Storm and Team Canada can keep him busy.



Albertans remain Storm priority

Murray Rauw
Calgary Herald

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

The Calgary Storm will stick to their philosophy of developing home-grown soccer talent, but when the

A-League season starts, they are committed to finding some help this time.

The inexperienced storm won't be tossed to the wolves. Not again.

"We have to get a bit of a backbone while our kids are developing," said Storm chairman Michael Vandale. "People want to see us do better, but the majority of the players are still going to be from Alberta."

Vandale said the Storm are close to finalizing a contract for English keeper Mark Cartwright, while contract discussions continue with an attacking midfielder and a striker who has expressed an interest.

"Tommy is still talking to them," said Vandale, referring to coach Tommy Wheeldon. "We're getting our act together, but we wanted to be selective about bringing in players that we think will be able to help."

Cartwright has 300 league games under his belt, but he has bounced around England from team-to-team. His latest position was with Second Division Brighton.

"He has experience," said Wheeldon.

According to Vandale, Cartwright would sign his deal tomorrow, but Mrs. Cartwright still has questions.

"He's keen to work with me," said Wheeldon. "The only problem is his wife likes the sunshine."

Cartwright has played college soccer in the southern U.S.

It didn't help that Cartwright was a Calgary visitor earlier this month when the temperature was frigid.

Last year, the Storm struggled on the pitch and at the gate. Vandale has decided the improvement has to be made in the lineup, before anything. There has been quiet progress made before the season-ticket blitz is launched.

"The proof will be on the field," said Vandale, who said the core of local players has trained throughout the winter. "I'm quietly optimistic about the year."

Meanwhile, the Storm have their schedule and Vandale will take his team on the road for a home game.

The Storm open the A-League season with games in Vancouver and Seattle on May 3 and 4. Their home opener is May 10 against Seattle.

They have back-to-back home games against the Vancouver Whitecaps in June, but the Storm will play the June 14 game in Saskatoon and then travel back to Calgary for a rematch the next day.

"We have players from Saskatoon, and there is a lot of interest there," said Vandale, explaining why he would surrender a Whitecaps gate.

Lars Diary: Part 11

I'm just back from Fort Lauderdale after Canada's international against the US. I didn't sleep at all on Monday, so I'm a little jet-lagged at the moment.

We lost 4-0 and although I thought I played OK, it's always very disappointing when you swallow four goals in a game. It just seemed like one of those games when everything went against us. We had a lot of youngsters playing and that made it hard for everyone to gel.

It's upsetting to lose and sadly, that makes 10 games since we beat the US. They are a very good team now and have come on leaps and bounds in the last ten years. They set up their own league and ploughed money into the game, which has paid dividends. It really shows what corporate America can do.

Unfortunately, the power of the Canadian dollar doesn't go quite as far and we still have a long way to go. I think China will be the next up-and-coming team to become world-beaters.

Ferdinand: Different class

They will throw money at it and they must be able to find some good players from 1.3 billion people!

Now I've arrived back and Spurs seem to have turned the corner. A thrilling win over Everton, followed by a hard-fought victory at Aston Villa and people are starting to talk about Europe again. The lads are still upset about our cup exit at Southampton and are desperate to make up for it with our league displays.

A couple of guys have left us in the last week, with Stephen Clemence going to Birmingham and Les Ferdinand across London to West Ham. I wish them the best of luck.

Les is a terrific player, who has had a few injury problems this year, but whenever he has been called upon, he has done well - two goals from four starts is a pretty good strike-rate. He'll do well at West Ham and I'm sure his experience will give them a better chance of staying up.

As for myself, I've only just got back, so I'm waiting to find out whether I will be going out on loan. One of the lads asked me if I was going to a certain club and I said: "Where did you hear that from? I know nothing about it!"

It's strange to read things about yourself in the papers that you know nothing about - that's why I try not to read them. I have read a number of things recently and none of them have much truth in them. I'll just continue to train hard and wait for an opportunity to come along.

Lar Hirschfeld Diary: Part 9

"Thanks for all your e-mails since I started writing this column. I've had a lot of letters from Canada asking if I think the national team will ever qualify for the World Cup.

We've had some good runs in the Gold Cup recently, losing on a penalty shoot-out in the semi-finals last season and winning the tournament before that. We have been successful in short tournaments, but it's a long road to reach the World Cup finals.

That means we have to develop a squad that has a far greater depth. I believe our starting line-up, with players like Tomas Radzinski and Jason de Vos, is good enough to qualify, but we tend to struggle when a few of our top players are out.

If we can all stay fit and some of the youngsters can step up, then we certainly have a chance and it is something we are aiming for. We can do it, but it's not going to be easy.

We have some interesting matches coming up before next year's Gold Cup. We go to Florida to face the US in January, although that will be mainly the home-based players, followed by interesting trips to Libya and Estonia. The more experience we get playing countries like this, the better we will become."

2003 A-League College Player Draft

Tampa, Florida- 2003 A-League College Player Draft was held December 18, 2002 at 3:00pm EST.
The Calgary Storm look to score more goals next season and raise the level of excitement by choosing two forwards.

With the second overall pick Storm selected Terry Bell from University of British Columbia. Terry was a prolific part of the UBC offence in only his second year of eligibility. Terry stands 5’11" tall and weighs 157lbs. He was born in Courtenay, British Columbia on February 6, 1981. The head coach at UBC Mike Mosher, describes Terry Bell as a quick, shifty, attacking player with a great attitude.

With their second pick and 21st overall, Storm selected Flavio Monteiro from the University of Alabama Birmingham. Flavio is 6’3" and weighs 189lbs. He was born March 21, 1978 in Luanda, Angola and grew up in Houston, Texas. Flavio led his team in scoring the last three years. Despite injuries he scored 30 goals in 43 matches. In his first year at UAB he scored 14 goals in 15 games and was named All American Freshman of the Year by US Soccer. University of Alabama Birmingham head coach Mike Getman says, "Flavio is the most natural goal scorer that I have ever seen. He is great in the air, has good foot skills and is a very smart player".

Calgary Storm head coach Tommy Wheeldon is pleased with these draft picks: "Hopefully these two boys will prove to be useful acquisitions to Storm as we try to progress forward in the standings and look to compete more in the upcoming season".

December 9th, 2002

Calgary Storm Midfielder Nik Ledgerwood has been invited to join the Canadian Olympic Soccer team in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for two games against their U.S counterparts. Canada will soon be attempting to qualify for the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Greece.

"It’s a great honour for me, as the youngest player to be invited to the camp" said Ledgerwood from his home in Lethbridge. "I leave on December 14th for the one week camp and I am looking forward to seeing how I will compete at that level".

Ledgerwood, part of the U20 Canadian National Team that recently beat the U.S (3-2) and qualified for the U20 World Cup in United Arab Emirates during March 25- April 15th, has been recuperating from a quadricep tear. "It feels pretty good now and I should be able to go out now".

Storm’s Head Coach Tommy Wheeldon stated "We think it’s a fantastic opportunity for Nik at 17 years of age, to be drafted into the Olympic program". Michael Vandale, Calgary Storm’s Chairman added "We are proud of Nik as a player and a person, again we feel our youth development is paying dividends through this accomplishment".