Havaris big key to City's new team

JIM KERNAGHAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

The show went on without the star yesterday, but otherwise London City's news conference for its new elite women's team had the professionalism that City is seeking.

Here was Canadian Professional Soccer League's all-everything Stan Adamson in from Toronto. There was general manager Ryan Gauss and head coach Tonino Commisso.

Nearby was Harry Gauss, who runs the CPSL men's team, along with scouts and other club personnel.

But where was the player around whom the team will be built, Eva Havaris? Doing what she is supposed to be doing -- working on her thesis at Western.

"My priorities are school, coaching and playing," the former UWO midfield scoring sensation and all-Canadian explained. "But I'm looking forward to it. I've been making some contacts already."

Havaris has been named team captain and also is described as a consultant by Gauss. Translation: She's recruiting players for the team.

There are still a few maybes in her conversation. But having not heard from the other elite team in town -- the London Gryphons of the W-League -- it's almost certain the talented playmaker/scorer will be in City colours for the inaugural step into action.

That will be as a six-team tournament in the coming summer involving teams from Toronto, North York, Essex, Durham and Vaughan, all in enclosed stadiums. Kickoff for official league play is slated for 2006.

There remains a roadblock, which is no surprise in soccer. The Ontario Soccer Association has yet to give its blessing for reasons known only to itself.

But Gauss, who calls the loop "by Canadians, for Canadians," says all the proper documentation has been presented to the provincial body.

Whether the Canadian card was intended for the Gryphons cannot be known, although Gauss did offer the opinion criticism that there aren't enough quality players "by the other team is ignorant."

Adamson, who has been a soccer administrator for more than 40 years, says the scope for women's soccer in Canada has never been greater, and he had a handy graph to back up his argument. He noted that 42 per cent of Canada's 825,323 registered players, or 347,228, are women.

His figures show that of Ontario's 356,768 registered players 151,019 are women. Outlets for elite players seeking to advance to a higher level are necessary and will be filled, he added.

As for Havaris, she'll bring a wealth of credentials to the table. She remains coach of the Canadian champion London Supernova under-14 girls and is assistant coach of the Mustangs.

She was in the running for the head coach position but didn't make the short list, probably due to her age (26).

It would seem the job will be hers one day, though. And she'll come equipped.

Along with coaching credentials (she also managed an under-19 rugby team), she is arming herself with a powerful resume for anyone heading into the often turbulent world of soccer administration.

The master's thesis the one-time top graduating athlete is working toward for her sport management degree relates to policy-making within Sport Canada and the progress women have made as a result.

Not much, one presumes. But timing is everything, and the confluence of school, coaching and playing elite soccer dovetail rather neatly for an athlete who turned down scholarships at U.S. schools to play here and continue her quest.

Kernels

Doubly embarrassing for one whose name is regularly misspelled to do it himself, but the Mustangs goalie's name is correctly spelled D'Alessandro. . . . When London City lost striker Paul Munster to Slavia Praha, not known was that it would cost them physiotherapist Shawn Froats. He was flown to the Czech Republic to help Munster with a foot injury and was put on staff.


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