Morace coming to spread her skills

GEORGE GROSS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

They say that behind every successful man there's a woman.

I say that behind every successful woman there are thousands of gifted female soccer players.

The reference is in the fact that Toronto's Joe Parolini, former general manager of the Toronto Blizzard and trainer of the 1986 Canadian men's World Cup team, invited one of the world's foremost female soccer players from Italy and paid her way to Toronto in order to hold a four-day camp for GTA girl soccer players this weekend.

"Her name is Carolina Morace and she was not only a star soccer player, but also coach of the Italian women's national team," Parolini said. "We'll be holding the camp at Wild Water Kingdom in northwest Toronto so that our girls can learn from Carolina about the theory of the game, tactics, systems and whatever the modern game requires today.

"I also plan to invite Carolina in the summer, so she can work with club teams and teach them all about attacks and defence in matches. She knows about those things because, among other things, she was not only named World Player of the Year in 1997, but also because she has been in charge of the women's section of the Italian Football Association."

To find out more about Venice-born, Carolina Morace, 44, I did some research and found out that she scored well over 500 goals in the Italian national women's league and represented her country in 153 international matches while scoring 105 goals. With such a record, one could call her a female Pele.

What is fascinating about her talent is the fact that she coached a men's team in Italy. The team was Viterbese of the Italian Serie C1 in 1999, but she resigned after two years because of intensive media pressure.

"When we perform on the pitch, we have to put on a good show and prove that we are quality players," Carolina's assistant, Elisabetta Bavagnoli, said. "By that I mean, demonstrating our technique, controlling the ball and generally playing decent football. We have to show the people that women's football, although played at a different rhythm, can be as good or better than the men's. That way we can win over the people and attract the public to our games."

They sound like fighting words because the Italian men's team has won the FIFA World Cup three times and the women's team can only hope.

Blatter speaks

FIFA president Sepp Blatter, a former Swiss army colonel, doesn't like mincing his words. The other day Blatter told the London Times that he would propose "lifetime bans and criminal prosecutions for footballers guilty of dangerous tackling." Blatter was quoted as saying that "players who do this kind of thing intentionally should be banned from the game."

He also believes that "the full force of criminal law should be brought to bear on the players.

"Attacking someone is criminal, whether it happens on a football pitch or elsewhere," Blatter said. "It is a crime and should be treated as such."

The global boss of soccer also feels there are too many foreign players on teams and believes his legacy hinges on enacting a quota system, in which six places in the starting lineup for domestic league matches are reserved for players eligible to play for the national team.

Corner kicks

Tom Anselmi, senior vice-president and chief operating officer for Maple Leaf Sport and Entertainment Ltd., as well as boss of Toronto FC of Major League Soccer, intimated that the club will hold a press conference Wednesday to probably announce a player signing. Hopefully, it would be a better player (or players) than what Mo Johnston came up with last year ... The two traditionally outstanding Czech soccer teams, Slavia and Sparta Prague, continue to battle for top spot in the Czech Gambrinus League. Slavia Prague leads with 38 points in 17 matches and is five points ahead of Sparta Prague. The once famous Bohemians Prague team is second-last in the 16-team league with only 14 points.


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