Storm makes pitch to city

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 2:20 PM ET

With another A-League soccer season fast approaching, upgrade is the buzzword floating around the Calgary Storm camp.

That\'s upgrade in terms of a few more wins than its rookie campaign last season and an upgrade to Foothills Athletic Park, which is central to the club\'s survival in the city.

\"It\'s pretty critical,\" Storm chairman Michael Vandale said about Foothills renovations yesterday at a press conference.

\"We\'ve learned a lot about our expenditures last season and got our costs down ... but we need that upgrade.

\"If not, then it\'s not a very happy picture.\"

Vandale said the team has made a pitch to the city with hopes of a $2.75-million upgrade and is waiting for a response.

\"I guess we can just hope and wait,\" he said. \"The city has lots of people approaching it and we\'re in queue, waiting our turn.\"

While the Storm awaits a call from the city, Vandale and head coach Tommy Wheeldon have been busy trying to solidify the lineup and make it more competitive for its sophomore A-League season.

To that end, Vandale picked up three Jamaican players on loan from Constant Spring Football Club in the Caribbean country.

Richard Henry, a 24-year-old midfielder, has played for the Jamaican national team, while Jermaine Richards, 21, another midfielder, was invited to play on Jamaica\'s U-23 national team.

Rounding out the trio is Ajai Authers, 20, who can play defence and centre forward.

Wheeldon is also seeking a striker and goalkeeper from clubs in his native England.

\"We\'re delighted to welcome the Jamaican players and we\'re still talking with 10 English teams,\" said Wheeldon, who took over the reins midway through last season after Thomas Niendorf was fired with a 1-12-2 record.

\"We\'re after three goalkeepers at the moment and the chances are we\'ll get one of the three and we need to get some experience alongside our strikers.\"

Goal scoring was certainly a problem last season, as the Storm potted just 25 goals in 28 games and had a 4-21-3 record.

\"We are a young side and we have to accept we\'re a young side and it\'s going to be the same again. But I\'m going to try build on what we had last year and just improve,\" said Wheeldon.

The Storm has its first game on the road against the Vancouver Whitecaps May The first home game is on May 10 against the Pacific Division champion Seattle Sounders.


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