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Saturday, January 19, 2013

LETTERS FROM CAMP: Pitching a tent for 2013

Official red long underwear with giant, strategically-place maple leaf? Yup. Backpack full of guarded optimism? Check. Stale buttys to throw at any roaming bears/Collin Samuels? Packed. English-New Zealish Dictionary? On order.

Yes it' s the only return to sporting action anyone is talking about in Canada tonight as your Tee Eff Cee'ers trudged through the tundra to "Camp Shining Light". Relocated from its old lakeshore site, "Shining Light" (located in the middle of a creepy abandoned and no doubt haunted air field) will be the home base for the campers until they make their road trip to Florida.

For our readers who can't sit by the fire waiting for the latest scary story about ghosts of managers past, the "Letters From Camp" series will try to wrap up the latest news, rumours and tidbits from the Kiwi Jamboree. Now pass us those buttys... I heard a distinctly Trinidadian growl...

The on-going tale of a Kiwi far, far away is going to dominate much of the conversation through camp and the fact that Ryan Nelsen played another full 90 for QPR on the day that his new charges arrived for camp hit the point home hard today. As the anxious wrung their sweaty palms and the cynical Marinerlytes loaded their mouth-cannons, the announcers during the West Ham v QPR match casually talked about how Nelsen would be with QPR until March. Inside knowledge or an educated guess? Who knows? However, during an interview with Sportsnet's Gerry Dobson, Kevin Payne remarked that "we (TFC) have a pretty good idea when (Nelsen) will arrive". He added that he felt fans would be pleased, and you get the feeling that it will be sooner rather than later, but also that the season won't feel "for realsies" until Nelsen touches down permanently.

The Canadian national squad's minor youth movement definitely has a heavy TFC influence as no less than five Reds will be headed down to Arizona and Texas to train with Colin Miller's team until January 30. Ashtone Morgan, Matt Stinson, Doneil Henry, SuperDraft sweetheart Kyle Bekker have all been called up as well as old man Terry Dunfield who will be driving the station wagon down south. We assume. The only important result from a Toronto point of view? No injuries.

The TFC press machine was in fine form this morn tweeting TMZ-style paparazzo pics of happy Reds arriving at the KIA Training Ground. Thankfully no Richard Eckersley upskirt pics. One face who didn't skip through the door was French striker/ ink junkie Eric Hassli who has reportedly gone into "Full Anelka Mode" and wants out of town. There is no secret that Hassli was very close to Paul Mariner and was excited to play under him. There is also no secret that Kevin Payne will not be talking le guff from Hassli and has warned of "repercussions" if the big forward doesn't show. According to the club however, Hassli is expected to show up to Downsview sometime Saturday or Sunday. No matter what, this story is far from l'over.

A bit of positive news on the Danny Koevermans front. First, his front isn't an issue. As opposed to years past where... well just let's say the pancakes prevailed... Koevermans is looking trim. A winter spent in godless Dutch honey-cake-free Canada obviously help cut the cravings. The other slight positive is that Koef has begun light running in his long path back from his ACL injury. Light running to goal-scoring is likely a six-month process, but it's a start.

Yes we will all just end up calling him "Boss" because we are lazy but young defender and lottery prize Gale Agbossoumonde took to the airwaves (well TFC's YouTube channel) to teach us just how to pronounce his name in full. It's actually still pretty fun too! You hear that Keith "It's Not Boo-Yah" Makubuya? Practice here.


  1. Almost time for an official band meeting!

    Danny does look rather trim - must have been playing the aerobic expansion of Catan.

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