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NEW Mother of all Canucks Abroad (and domestic)

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I believe this sums up all the moves for the week.

Fraser Aird (23) loaned from Dundee United to Queen of the South in the Scottish Championship.

Rocco Romeo (18) loaned from TFC to HB Koge in the Danish 2nd tier.

Liam Millar (19) loaned from Liverpool to Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership.

Ballou Tabla (19) loaned from Barcelona to Albacete in La Liga 2.

Adonijah Reid (19) signs Le Havre Ac in Ligue 2.

Will include Zorhan Bassong because he is still eligible for us. (19) transfers to Cercle Bruges of the Belgium 1st tier.

That is a lot of young Canadian talent, imagine it will only increase with the CPL starting!!

While looking at Le Havre wiki page noticed that they have a 17 year old Canadian goalie playing on their reserve squad. Nikola Curcija, anyone know anything about him?

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4 minutes ago, Stryker911 said:

While looking at Le Havre wiki page noticed that they have a 17 year old Canadian goalie playing on their reserve squad. Nikola Curcija, anyone know anything about him?

https://socceracademyalliancecanada.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/anb-gk-offered-a-one-week-trial-with-a-french-ligue-2-club/

He was scouted by Le Havre at an ANB ID camp in 2017 and signed with their academy. He just started playing for their reserve team in National 2 (4th tier) this season.

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1 hour ago, Stryker911 said:

While looking at Le Havre wiki page noticed that they have a 17 year old Canadian goalie playing on their reserve squad. Nikola Curcija, anyone know anything about him?

I posted about his trial last year in this thread...

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5 hours ago, Stryker911 said:

 

While looking at Le Havre wiki page noticed that they have a 17 year old Canadian goalie playing on their reserve squad. Nikola Curcija, anyone know anything about him?

Yeah we did. I reported him playing those two games in the appropriate threads. 

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On 11/8/2018 at 9:45 PM, pöhelö said:

Yes he has signed.  

So in a couple of hours VPS are gonna play their 2nd game in the Finnish Cup group stage, and since Jonas Häkkinen's paperwork is finally done (it wasn't for the first game...) it also probably means that he's gonna make his debut tonight, possibly from the bench but still. I will be watching him today and post a report later in the other thread. 

Now to make this news a bit more interesting to you I'm gonna post a medium sized wall of background as to what kind of club Jonas has arrived in from Vancouver. 

---

So VPS are a Finnish top flight club who come from a city in the West Coast that starts with V. But that is as far as the similarities with Vaasa and Vancouver go as while 70k is a good mid-sized town in Finnish standards, Vancouver kinda shades it in comparison. 

For a long while VPS were just a run of the mill club, traditionally playing long ball football, for most of the time aiming just to survive in the top division and never winning a title since the 40's. So essentially we were one very boring team for any outsider to follow & was justifiably nothing to get excited about when some earlier Canucks played for us (Andrew Barsalona 2014 and Tomer Chencinski 2011). 

But everything changed when the long time assistant manager named Petri Vuorinen rescued the team from relegation in 2015 and was named the head coach before 2016. He decided to change around the entire philosophy of the team, and VPS were suddenly playing very much a possession based game. Along with a renovated stadium with a smooth artificial pitch replacing the old, bumpy stadium mid season, Vuorinen's 4-2-3-1 format genuinely worked and we were actually quite close to title that year. 

So along came 2017 and Vuorinen decided to take his system one step further. Some young coaches were recruited from Portugal to assist Vuorinen, he changed the system to 3-5-2 and turned the football absolutely crazy. Tall defenders who, prior to VPS never looked like they had any business passing the ball, were now passing the ball A LOT. Like, genuinely A LOT. Between the goalkeepers and the 3 stoppers VPS just wouldn't give the ball away, but even under intense pressure from the opposition team, would just pass the ball amongst each other, seemingly more afraid of losing the ball than conceding goals. 

I genuinely believe Vuorinen's system has no precedent in the history of football amongst teams that are not dominant, because when you're a small club and have shite players it just doesn't make any sense to play like Barcelona. But Vuorinen thought otherwise and thought he can develop any lanky tall defenders into Gerard Pique, small young midfield prospects into Xavi and journeymen wingers into Messi. And now put your Swansea example back in your bag, I'm genuinely not exaggerating when I say "no precedent" and "like Barcelona". We ended that season with an average possession of 63.3%, breaking the 70% figure many times. We also had over 600 successful passes a game and almost broke 1000 in one game. Out of ALL clubs in Europe in 2017, only Bayern Munich had higher avg figures in their league than us. Barcelona was 3rd, PSG 4th and City 5th. 

And for the first half of 2017, this....worked. The players genuinely adopted the system in time for the league started, and time and again even stronger opposition teams would be surprised by the system, not knowing at all how to combat "Vepsulona" because usually the worse team doesn't keep the ball. Of course we would still sometimes concede silly goals, losing possession in the ever-going rondo in our own penalty box, but regardless of them mid-summer we found ourselves 2nd in the league standings, and in Europa League qualifiers we surprised the 10 times richer and larger Olimpija Ljubljana 1-0, 0-1; they clearly hadn't scouted us and didn't know what hit them when the VPS carousel set off and left them looking like a low league club. And the 30 times larger Bröndby that was our next opponent beat us 2-0 at their home but at our stadium we had the advantage of a smooth artificial pitch. We took the control of the game from the first whistle, scored an early 1-0, the entire stadium if not the city was pumped and bouncing... and then our GK scored a ridiculous own goal from a corner. So we won 2-1 anyway but was not enough. 

Then after the disappointment opposition teams finally learned to combat us in the league too and we hit a rapid downward spiral, not winning in 13 games a row or something. And the way we played suddenly looked absolutely horrible and frustrating, as understandably when a possession based football goes wrong, it looks like the players aren't even trying so we dropped to midfield in the league eventually.

So after the disastrous end to the season, Vuorinen was forced to tone the Barcelona aspect down for 2018 and we had a bit of a "meh" season with a bit of a mishmash playing system, with some signs of the ball playing defensework retained, but the formation reverted back to 4-5-1 and some counter attacks attempted. We still finished 6th but after all this, Vuorinen has now attracted a lot of criticism for refusing to go back to the long ball system. 

So now we're in 2019, and unfortunately the new stadium has turned out to be very expensive to maintain and the cashflow isn't what it used to be. We've had to offload many important players, have a lot of injuries and only got a GK just before the first game, so people are expecting us to fight against the relegation mostly. Now I know Häkkinen has also played in the central midfield in the past, but that position has enough players as it is. Whereas apart from Jonas the club has 2 serious stoppers right now. One of them is Timi Lahti who is something of a club legend by now and will not give away his spot in the first 11 any time soon, but the other is the young Eero Auvinen, who didn't really impress last year nor in the first game. So at least the fans are counting on Häkkinen a lot & expecting the young Vancouverian to impress and perhaps even claim the other spot in the opening 11.

Finally, below there is a nice video made by Copa90 about our club & how it is for a foreign footballer to settle in here (albeit from before the new system): 

 

--

Tl;dr? In short - Jonas' new club might be fighting against relegation this year, but the club now counts on Jonas a lot because of financial reasons & still have knowledgeable coaches who believe in player development, and the playing system which likely still relies a lot on the defenders' on the ball skills which, hopefully is going to improve Jonas's skills. So I hope it's a good place for him. 

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Nice little post, I won't quote it though, too long, but nice story and quite interesting.

I can also quote a few teams on the modest end of the spectrum that have out-possessed Barcelona, like Rayo Vallecano a few years ago.

It's a strategy, like any other. It is important to know what the fans want, if they enjoy watching it, since some fan bases actually get a kick of their team dominating the ball, regardless of the score. What do VPS fans want to see? Maybe they don't care to have low possession as long as they win, which was what Whitecaps fans were being fed as the principle. for the last few years.

The other thing is if your club is daring enough to play the academy teams like the first team. If they do that, with the u-14s playing possession as well, at least you are going to be doing the kids a service and maybe develop some nice talent for Finland. 

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On 2/2/2019 at 7:56 AM, Jith12 said:

@pöhelö Thanks for the insightful post! I remember reading somewhere that Hakkinen was called up to a Finnish youth national team. Is this true?

A couple of my friends taught him in grade school. They say he is an outstanding young man from a great family. Best of luck to him. Nice when good things happen to good people. Thanks to @pöhelö and please keep us posted.

Edited by nolando

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20 hours ago, Unnamed Trialist said:

Nice little post, I won't quote it though, too long, but nice story and quite interesting.

I can also quote a few teams on the modest end of the spectrum that have out-possessed Barcelona, like Rayo Vallecano a few years ago.

It's a strategy, like any other. It is important to know what the fans want, if they enjoy watching it, since some fan bases actually get a kick of their team dominating the ball, regardless of the score. What do VPS fans want to see? Maybe they don't care to have low possession as long as they win, which was what Whitecaps fans were being fed as the principle. for the last few years.

The other thing is if your club is daring enough to play the academy teams like the first team. If they do that, with the u-14s playing possession as well, at least you are going to be doing the kids a service and maybe develop some nice talent for Finland. 

Yeah in a single match, I'm sure several La Liga teams have outpossessed Barca. But over a full season, the highest avg possession figure Rayo Vallecano - or the other small Spanish club that generally plays possession based, Las Palmas have had - was "only" below 57%. Or that is what Whoscored tells me at least? So in that sense I think our system was even more extreme. 

Traditionally the club has neglected its own junior teams so the players haven't generally been good enough for the top division level & VPS have had to steal the local players from the other clubs around age 20. But for a couple of the last years the VPS junior teams, too, are adopting a similar-ish Vuorinen influenced philosophy that puts weight on ball control and player development instead of the result itself, and already it seems to be paying off a bit, yesterday in the opening 11 there were 3 young guys from VPS' own academy including the goal scorer. 

What do the fans want to see, though, is a more difficult question. The general sentiment in the stands seems to be very divided in that, while us younger fans are generally more understanding to a structured, possession based game (although it can get frustrating to anyone when it goes wrong and we get 0 shots in a game...), the old fellas who have watched the team for a long time are usually up in the arms and screaming at the head coach every time the ball is passed laterally or, heaven forbid, back to the GK.

19 hours ago, Jith12 said:

@pöhelö Thanks for the insightful post! I remember reading somewhere that Hakkinen was called up to a Finnish youth national team. Is this true?

He was called to a U21 camp in January where they played an unofficial game against a club team, yes. Don't think Häkkinen has any caps with Canada so it doesn't tie his final adults team choice yet even if he plays an official U21 match for Finland? 

--

So finally about the game. VPS beat KuPS 1-0 which was a very good game and result for us, and Häkkinen played the full 90 in the central defense. The 1 thing that struck me was how surprisingly assured he was with the ball already in his debut, not afraid to go for the more difficult pass option and play forward quickly, which allowed us to make some rapid attacks in a couple of instances. 

While it was not perfect game by Jonas by any means, as he lost a couple of physical battles due to his lighter build - the way he looked confident and very much gelled with the team in his first game created a lot of positive sentiment amongst the fans, with nearly everybody agreeing that it looks like he could become a very good player for us. 

On the flipside, Jonas' haircut has already attracted considerable criticism. (It's genuinely terrible.)

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On 11/5/2018 at 11:24 AM, ray said:

Yeah, sort of.  I think it was Marc P maintaining the Canadians Abroad list while I was tracking official Canadian caps (Senior, Olympic, U20, U17) back in the day when cap-tied meant cap-tied, no ifs ands or buts.  There was something to be said for simplicity back then :).  I wouldn't attempt the endeavor today.

Here's a couple of files I kept from that era.  One is my official caps list.  The other is the first "Canadians Abroad" type list I ever came across from Jason Kmet.  Have fun reminiscing.

canadians_caps-A.html

can_register.htm

Just ran across this today.  Ah, memories!  Hard to believe that was 20 years ago.  It's good to see a new generation take over and go further than I could've ever imagined back in those early days.  I'm amazed anyone still remembers at all.

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6 hours ago, Jason said:

Just ran across this today.  Ah, memories!  Hard to believe that was 20 years ago.  It's good to see a new generation take over and go further than I could've ever imagined back in those early days.  I'm amazed anyone still remembers at all.

Owen Hargreaves:

PLAY FOR CANADA! DON'T FORCE ME TO TAKE YOU OFF THE REGISTER!

That always stuck with me - In the now invalid <blink> tags :).  Memories indeed.

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