Lady Selects keep on plugging

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

It's going to take a lot to make the pain of this 2006 soccer season go away for Ryan Gauss.

No doubt the pain would be eased somewhat if his London City Lady Selects were able to win the Canada Cup women's tournament, the London and Area Women's Soccer League and the Ontario Cup.

Gauss is general manager of the team. It might come as a surprise to many that the Lady Selects are still operating. Most of the news early this season revolved around the inability of the Canadian Soccer League to get its Canada Cup women's tournament up and running.

The battle among the Ontario Soccer Association, the CSL's women's division and most of the district soccer associations led to embarrassing squabbles and game cancellations.

"I would like to sincerely apologize to everyone who has been inconvenienced in any manner because of these broken promises and petty soccer politics. I can assure you that everything was done to try and make this venture a success," Gauss said.

"However, with the Ontario Soccer Association putting up roadblocks, dissenting soccer districts and competing leagues doing their very best to put on the brakes, it was impossible for females to play in the Canada Cup. We were rendered powerless."

Even though there was no regular Canada Cup schedule, his club participated in tournaments and league play.

"It isn't ideal. The women's league is operated in a fantastic fashion and it's growing, but it isn't quite there yet. There's only two or three teams that can give us a competitive game," Gauss said.

"But the one fear I had was that my players would say they had enough of all the crap and say they were leaving. But they've been great, sticking it out and many have committed to next year."

Next year?

"The OSA has promised the CSL autonomy as of Nov. 1, so we'll be able to do what we like and we're planning to have a women's division," Gauss said.

Both the men's and women's Canada Cup will be held at Cove Road in London on Labour Day weekend.

On Sunday at 5:30 at Cove Road, the Selects will play Scarborough in an Ontario Cup quarter-final contest.


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