2008 Annual Report
Canadian Boys measure Up Just Fine Against Europeans
Winning a soccer tournament is not easy. Winning a soccer tournament in Europe, some say, is nearly impossible. The Europeans have soccer in their blood; they take the game very seriously. They are out to win. The Roman Tulis U13 boys’ team went to Europe to compete, to see first hand what “football” in Europe was all about, and to see how they measured up with their European counterparts. They knew that it would take all of their skill, discipline, and determination to do well and they gave it everything they had. In the end, they proved to themselves and to the Europeans that they did indeed measure up when they earned themselves the 2nd Place trophy from the Dana Cup Tournament in Denmark. In the first game of this tournament, the team played “Thor Akureyri” from Norway. With no benchmark to start the competition, it would be the team’s first test on European soil. The boys jumped to an early 4-0 lead and despite a long trip and jet lag, they looked in complete control throughout the game. Day two they faced the best team of the tournament, Club do Futebal de Odivelas from Portugal. The Tulis boys played an excellent match again their Portuguese opposition and the game finished with 0 – 0 draw. Game three saw a dominant performance once again by the Canadian boys against Brummendal (Norway) and it was then off to the quarter finals.
The Tulis boys came away with a 2-0 victory over Alno IF from Sweden which earned them a spot in the semi-final match. Their opposition in this round was against IL Eiger from Norway. The Tulis team had worked extremely hard to get this far but their ultimate goal was to play in the championship final and they would have to be very disciplined and keep their focus on winning the game in hand against an equally determined Norwegian team with a huge and very vocal fan support. The Tulis fans were not to be outdone. While not the biggest group in number, they were by far the tournaments best in their support, cheering, and camaraderie! The Canadian flags and Roman Tulis signs dominated the sidelines to support the boys.
The game ended in a 1–1 tie ending the Tulis boys’ 4 game shutout streak. Now they had to collect themselves and face two seven minute overtime periods to earn their place in to the Dana Cup final. They would have to draw upon all their Tulis training, stay focused on the goal, and give 110 percent to reach the final. They gathered their strength and marched back onto the field playing with every ounce of strength and heart. Their break came five minutes into the overtime period when the boys capitalized on a loose ball in the Norwegian box; heading it in to score. The elation for the players and fans was only tempered by the long seven minutes of extremely intense soccer with two balls cleared off the line, and another deflected by our goalie off the crossbar. One final header into our box went wide and the boys were through to the finals. It was perhaps the most intense and emotional game ever played for these boys. The Tulis team moved on to the championship game facing their rivals; the Portuguese.
The Portuguese did not want a repeat of the game two draw and would do anything to win. A free kick from 45 feet resulted in a goal against us in the 8th minute. The second goal came in the 20th minute, after a Portuguese corner ball made it into the Tulis box. It was difficult to penetrate the Portuguese half. Their strong defensive line constantly frustrated the Tulis attack. Through the second half, the Tulis boys’ defense was outstanding, keeping Odivelas away from dangerous scoring positions. However, the Portuguese were very physical and near the end of the game, our Captain was taken down by a high kick. He was taken off the field to hospital in a stretcher and would have to sit on the sidelines for the remainder of the trip with a broken collar bone; a major void and role to fill for our boys. The final game ended in closely contested 2 – 0 loss, but it was hard fought and these two teams were by far the best in the tournament.
The next day the tour continued with a two hour ferry ride across the North Sea to Gothenburg, Sweden and the Gothia Cup Tournament. The boys’ first test would be Rijeka from Croatia the next morning. Unfortunately, the Tulis team could not find enough momentum to score after the travel, the previous tournament high, and the loss of their captain. The Tulis boys then played Vasalund from Sweden. They played well but could not find a way around the solid defense to score and the final score was 1-0 for Sweden. The final game was against SK Sprint/Jeloy from Norway. The Tulis boys had many shots that barely missed the net and they looked the dominant side and had all the momentum to score. But it was not to be. The final score was 2-0 for Norway, ending the Tulis team’s tournament.
Throughout the trip, the Tulis commitment and standard of play never faltered. They never let up and played each minute with all their skill, discipline, and intensity. They also played with all their collective hearts and respect for one another. No one could have asked for or expected any more. In the end, hoisting the silver trophy at the Dana Cup tournament high above the podium with hundreds of fans cheering was a sweet victory for this unknown and untested Canadian team. In both tournaments, the boys played with all their skill and heart and left an indelible mark. The Roman Tulis team continued its tradition of setting the bar high in international play and they will always remain true to the Roman Tulis’ motto – “Be the best you can be”.
Tulis U13 Girls Prove To Be Very Strong Contenders
Back in 2001, the U13 Tulis Girls brought home the coveted Dana and Gothia Cup 1st prize trophies becoming the first Canadian team to ever do so and this year our U13 girls set out to follow in their footsteps. Despite their best efforts this was not in the cards for the girls in 2008; however, they did not come away empty handed. Their teamwork, work ethic, and never-say-die attitude proved them to be one of the strongest contenders in both tournaments and they earned themselves the 2nd Place award from the Dana Cup Tournament in Denmark. Their Scandinavian tour started out in Frederikshavn, Denmark at the Dana Cup tournament. In the past 25 years more than 88 nations have participated in this prestigious event with more than 6000 teams and 300,000 visiting Frederikshavn. The girls had a competition of 11 teams from Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the USA. Their first game was against Ekhagens IF from Sweden and here the girls set the tone of their play for this tournament; they came away with a final score of 6:0. They went on to play IL Eiger (Norway); the Tulis girls dominated the play and came away with a 5:0 win. By the third game against Thor Akureyri (Iceland), the girls’ jetlag started to catch up with them and they could not capitalize on their chances and lost this game 0:2.
In the quarterfinal game against Ry Sportclub (Denmark) the girls came out strong and came away with a 3:1 win and moved to the semi-final game. The semi-finals did not start well for the Tulis squad. In the 1st minute, out of nowhere, came a free kick from more than 30 meters and the ball (with the help of the strong wind) found its way into their net. This only served to invigorate the girls who then started pressing the opponent all over the field and their hard work paid off and soon the game was tied. In the second half, both teams played an excellent defensive game, trading off few chances. The game finished with a tie even after two five minute overtimes and went on into a penalty shootout which the Tulis girls won and advanced into the championship game.
The final game was against Benson Soccer (USA); this game was the third final of the Dana Cup where the Tulis girls met this squad. In the two previous finals the Tulis girls lost in penalty shootouts and therefore, this time our strategy was very simple; start aggressively and win in regulation time! Both teams played an excellence game trading off few chances. The game finished with a tie even after two five minute overtimes and again the Tulis girls found themselves in a penalty shootout which unfortunately went to the Benson squad.
In week two of their trip, the girls moved on to Sweden to compete in the Gothia Cup Tournament which is one of the largest youth tournaments in the world. This year’s event boasted of well over 35,000 players and coaches representing 67 countries. The Tulis girls finished second in their group, with a 2 win, 1 loss record.
They opened the tournament beating Kungsbacka IF (Sweden) and the second game found them paired with LB 07 (Sweden) and once again the Tulis girls dominated the play and came away with a 1:0 win. They then moved on to meet AIK FF Stockholm (Sweden). The gusty wind proved to be a decisive factor in this game when in the 1st minute, an AIK player took a long shot off the wing (from about 25 meters) and despite the fact our goalie got a touch on the ball, she could not manage to get it high enough to avoid the goal. The girls fought hard to get the equalizer goal but unfortunately came short and came away with their first loss of the tournament.
However, they earned right to compete in the play off round and their first opponent was to be Benson Soccer (USA). This game was a repeat of the Dana Cup final, and the girls were pumped and ready to fight. However, once again the girls gave up an early goal on a long, floating shot from about 20 meters. They then regrouped and started pressing their opponent; they scored on a “rocket shot” in the 22nd minute tying the game and then scored once again in the 2nd half.
In the quarterfinal game, the girls met PK 35 (Finland) and dominated the first few minutes. However, it was the PK 35 player who scored in the 5th minute and in the 19th minute the Tulis girls scored on a penalty shot. For most of the second half, the Tulis girls were under pressure and defending; trying to secure their spot in the next round. Unfortunately the match ended in a tie which sent the game into a shootout match in which our girls lost 2:4
All in all, the girls competed extremely well and once again proved that Canadians can compete with Europe’s finest and come out on top!
2008 Players in the News
3 year Tulis player Gianni Patino was selected for the elite Barca U-12 soccer team, part of the phenomenally successful Barcelona soccer stronghold. There were kids from all around the world vying for one of the few spots on this team. During the one week try outs back in April 2008, Gianni took a ball, went through two defenders, took out the goalie, and scored. The coach then came right over and said, “We’ll see you in September!” Gianni is doing very well at FC Barca. “He is demonstrating Canadians do indeed have skills,” says his mother, Hannah.
Back in February 2008 the Toronto FC acquired Canadian midfielder Kevin Harmse from the Los Angeles Galaxy and announced that he also had been named to the Canadian Men’s National Team roster that will compete in the qualifying games for the World Cup for 2010. Harmse, 24, will be seeking his 9th cap after making his last appearance for the Canadians on October 15 in Edmonton, as the team faced Mexico in group play with an end result of 2-2. This will be the third call-up in 2008 for Harmse, having played in Honduras on October 11 in another qualifier as well as a friendly against Martinique in January of 2008. The Toronto FC midfielder started 13 of 16 games for the club this past season logging 1077 minutes. Paige Adams who this past September obtained a full scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison won a gold medal at the 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship in Puebla, Mexico after a 1:0 victory over the United States in the final. She also participated with this team at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile.
Brandon Bonifacio who was voted 2nd for CSA Canadian U-20 Player of the year award in 2008 along with Tulis teammate Marcus Haber are currently preparing for 2009’s CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 Championship in Trinidad and Tobago (5-16 March). The top-four teams in the tournament will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009. Canada has already participated in eight of 16 FIFA U-20 World Cups and is looking to advance for the fifth-straight time. The FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009 runs 25 September to 16 October. Twenty-four teams will participate in the tournament, of which host Egypt and European nations Czech Republic, England, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Spain have already qualified.
The three Tulis players who signed on with foreign professional teams in the same year continue playing in the Netherlands in 2008: Brandon Bonifacio (Cambuur-Leeuwarden), Marcus Haber (FC Groningen), and Michael Nonni (FC Groningen).
Another former Roman Tulis player and U-23 Mexico National team forward, Santiago Fernández, has joined Mexican Premier Puebla FC to continue his professional soccer playing career in Mexico after playing for Barcelona FC’s reserve team.
We wish these players all the best of luck in their soccer careers and are very thankful to each and every one of them for representing the Roman Tulis program so very well and for being an inspiration to our up and coming Tulis hopefuls!