IMPACT PLAYERS MEET FANS AT COMPLEXE DESJARDINS
MONTREAL, May 7, 2003 — Soccer fans got a closer look at the 2003 edition of the Montreal Impact, Wednesday, during the official team presentation held at Complexe Desjardins. Head coach Bob Lilley has selected 23 players on his roster for the 2003 A-League season, which will resume this Saturday in Toronto, against the Lynx. Fourteen players from the 2002 squad, which finished first in the Northeast Division tied with the Rochester Raging Rhinos, are back. There are nine newcomers.
"This year, we may be a little bit quicker throughout the roster," says Lilley. "And with this group, we expect to be more consistent passing the ball. We have very good distributors in the midfield. The one area where we’ll have to work hard has to do with the fact that in our division, many of the teams are big and physical. The key for us will be to use ball movement and our mobility to get past that."
Among the new acquisitions are 27-year-old midfielder Martin Nash, a Canadian national team member who played in England this winter and has helped Rochester win the A-League championship title in 2000 and 2001. Also on board are two players with one year of A-League experience: forward Chris Lemire, the Calgary Storm’s leading scorer last season, and goalkeeper Michael Ueltschey, who started the 2002 season with the Cincinnati Riverhawks before being called up by the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer.
Three familiar names from local soccer ranks will be joining the fold this year: defender Abraham François, who was also with the Impact in 2000 and 2001; striker Sita-Taty Matondo, a member of the Canadian Olympic and U-20 squads although he is only 18, and Montrealer Andrew Olivieri, a goalkeeper.
Olivieri’s signing was announced Wednesday. The Impact’s first-round draft pick in the 2002 A-League college draft will report to his former team, the Vermont Voltage of the Premier Developmental League, but he will be called up as required.
Lilley has also recruited two young players from the Canadian Olympic team, midfielder Chris Williams and defender Andres Arango, as well as defender Larry McDonald, who has played in Olympic qualifying for Trinidad & Tobago.
In all, 17 of the 23 players on the Impact roster are presently members or have played for national teams: 13 with Canada, at the World Cup, Olympic or U-20 level, and four for other countries — Lloyd Barker with Jamaica, Eduardo Sebrango with Cuba, Larry McDonald with Trinidad & Tobago (Olympic) and Michael Ueltschey with the United States U-17, U-18.
"We wanted to improve our depth, mostly with wide attackers, and we’ve done that," says Lilley. "Not only have we added good, young players, but we’re also seeing the maturation of players that were with us last year, like Patrick Leduc, David Fronimadis and Mark Rowland. I expect them all to play bigger roles this year, and to be part of the growth of the team."
Among the returning veterans are Eduardo Sebrango, who broke two Impact club records last year by collecting 18 goals and 36 points, Mauro Biello, the team’s leading play-maker in 2002 with seven assists, and 35-year-old Nick DeSantis, back for his 10th season with the Impact, as is Biello.
Other notable players back this season are defender Gabriel Gervais, the team’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2002, Brazilian midfielder Zé Roberto, the club’s Newcomer of the Year last season, and 19-year-old Montrealer Jason DiTullio, recipient of the Unsung Hero Award with the Montreal squad.
The Impact lost its inaugural match 1-0 in Charleston, April 26. The home opener at Claude Robillard Stadium will be on Sunday, May 18 at 4 pm against the Richmond Kickers.
For those who don't speak French and prefer the discussion in Shakespeare's language
1 message • Page 1 sur 1