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Tuesday, February 14, 2012


The Reds announced yesterday that they were taking a compliment of 33 players with them to Florida to continue pre-season training. No major surprise to the travel itinerary as the club has yet to make further cuts after their initial four less than two weeks ago. Not making the trip are long-term injury projects Dicoy Williams and Nicholas Lindsay along with Jeremy Hall who (for undisclosed reasons) "trained away from the team" recently. Two younger Academy prospects, Brandon John and Tristan Jackman, don't get to ride the teacups at Disney neither but it is a magical time for (very) young Jordan Hamilton. The Academy youngster who is a month shy of his 16th birthday gets to continue his journey with the pros for at least a few weeks more.
The Reds will train in the Orlando area while participating in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic. The tournament will see TFC play at least three matches in their group stage involving Swedish club BK Hacken, Orlando City and FC Dallas. It was announced yesterday that live match streaming will be made available on the MLS website which should be much more interesting than the TFC YouTube video of the players boarding a bus to the airport. Way to depart Torsten!
Our good friends over at Waking The Red have been digging through the rumour mill and have emerged with two candidates who could be joining TFC as trialists in The Sunshine State. In line with Paul Mariner's hint last week that two domestic but non-MLS players may join on trial, the names of Kevin Huezo and Julian Uccello have surfaced.
Huezo is a 20-year old leftback who has very little in the way of professional pedigree but has had flirtations with the USA U-20 team as well as Mexican club Pachuca's junior ranks. Uccello is an intriguing character. The 25-year old Toronto-born striker was once promising enough to go on extended trial with Manchester United and ended up in AC Milan's youth ranks. However, things haven't gone as hoped for the twice-capped Canada U-20 and his pro career has seen him bounce around the Italian lower divisions with such clubs as Crotone and Casale. His healthy strike rate at those levels and TFC's weakness at back-up striker could give him the slightest in with the club.

UPDATE: This afternoon, TFC officially tweeted (if that's a thing) that Kevin Huezo would indeed be on a trial with The Reds but joined by another former USA U-20 Moises Orozco. Both players were involved with the U-20 program when new TFC Academy Director Thomas Rongen was involved which illuminates the effects the Dutchman is having on TFC already. No official denial or acknowledgement of any Julian Uccello trial yet.
Much of the Canadian football community was shocked by the story that emerged from long-time player, coach and personality Paul James. In his cathartic and tell-all novel "Cracked Open", James tells the story of a career in football with some highs... but extraordinary lows. The most shocking element of the former Toronto Blizzard and Canadian international midfielder's novel is his admittance to being a long-term crack cocaine addict. Weaving a tale that tackles James' many demons, while traversing the strange world of the CSA, is both a brave and a frightening story. "Cracked Open" is available online now through James' website.

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