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Just Two Canadians - A Journey in the EPL

Two Scrappy Lads Take on England!
Started on 8 October 2014 by CarlosV96
Latest Reply on 8 October 2014 by CarlosV96
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CarlosV96's avatar Group CarlosV96
5 yearsEdited
July 1st, 2013

Canadian Duo Join Premier League Managerial Ranks

Verde Takes Over at The Hawthorns

In an intriguing move, West Bromwich Albion have appointed 31 year-old Carlos Verde as the club's new manager. Verde, a versatile defender who was capped 27 times for the Canadian national side, ended his professional career in 2011 after a horrific knee injury suffered while playing on a horrendous pitch for the Canadian national team against St. Kitts.

A rookie manager whose only experience is a six-month stint as an assistant with Portuguese minnows Belenenses, Verde is seen as a shot-in-the-dark by most West Brom fans, but they're willing to give him time.

"Verde as a player was something special," says West Brom supporters' spokesperson Ian Grisham. "Stints in La Liga, Serie B, and the npower Championship...he's certainly been around as a player, and we're definitely hoping his playing abilities translate into managerial ones!"

The Baggies' board of directors have no illusions of European grandeur in their minds, and stated openly that they'll be happy if Verde can lead them, "To a respectable league position." Behind closed doors, however, The Baggies' board of directors will probably extend Verde's contract through next season as long as he avoids relegation.

McDonald Takes Charge at Carrow Road

In another surprising managerial move, Norwich have lured sought-after Italo-Canadian manager Tyler McDonald to Carrow Road, where he will face the tough challenge of saving the yellow minnows from relegation.

"We definitely targeted Tyler because of his impressive, if brief, managerial resume," commented Norwich chairman David McNally. "His work with Bologna, and getting them to a Europa League final, was mighty impressive. We hope he can eventually take us to Europe, though we know that dream is far in the future."

Aside from his golden tenure with Serie A's Bologna, McDonald has also had brief stints managing Bursaspor (Turkey), Peterborough (League One), and Mallorca B (Spanish 3rd tier).

The 37 year-old Italo-Canadian is known to prefer an attacking 4-2-3-1 formation, something that may bring about a radical change in footballing philosophy with the previously-conservative Canaries.

"I know what works for me as a manager," said McDonald from his summer home in Barrie, Canada. "I want to bring in fast, attacking players that will push the tempo on any defence in the world. Once we do that, we can begin to assess the rest of the team."


One thing is for sure after today's EPL managerial hirings - Canada is no longer a minnow on the international soccer scene.

CarlosV96's avatar Group CarlosV96
5 yearsEdited
July 2nd, 2013

"McDonald il miracoli" Faces Tough Pre-Season Tests

Tyler McDonald, the miracle worker who guided Bologna to last season's Europa League final, is no longer managing in his ancestral home land.

The 37 year-old Canadian, who enjoyed an unspectacular MLS career spent mostly with D.C. United, has taken charge of Norwich City F.C., essentially minnows who will have to white-knuckle their way through an inevitable relegation battle if they want to survive the 2013-14 EPL campaign.

Faced with a tricky, travel-heavy nine game pre-season fixture list, McDonald is confident about his side's depth and readiness for some of the bigger challenges.


GDS: Tyler, why did you leave Bologna?

TM: Don't get me wrong, Bologna was a fantastic club for me and I furthered my career there more than I ever dreamed I would. However, the opportunity to manage in the largest and most well-marketed league in the world popped up, and how could I say no? I've fallen in love with Norwich - the club, the city, the supporters - so naturally. It's a good fit for me and my family.

GDS: You open up in less than a week's time against Belgium's A.A. Gent. Are you confident your squad can get good results against the top-division likes of Genoa, Gent, and at the very end of the pre-season, Spanish giants Atletico Madrid?

TM: Everything in football is a process - I know that, the players know that, and the club knows that. We will be ready to challenge Atletico, if all goes according to plan, by the end of the pre-season. Our goal this year is not to stave off relegation, but to reach into the safe confines of mid-table. We have the squad to do it, and I truly think the lads will buy into my system.

GDS: Fellow Canadian Carlos Verde was appointed by West Brom yesterday. Do you two share any kind of friendship?

TM: I played against Carlos a few years back in MLS. I was an established, veteran striker, and he was a bullish young defender. We had a few clashes and I think he split open my nose defending a corner once, if I recall correctly. It will be good to have another 'Canuck' in the league!

GDS: Seriously, what do you need to do to improve the squad at Carrow Road?

TM: Honestly, I'm relatively content with the squad I have right now. I think we can finish in the 10th to 12th range if everybody does their part. We've got strikers, a solid defensive core, a good goalkeeper in John Ruddy - all the ingredients are there for a safe season!

GDS: Grazi for your time, Tyler. A pleasure as always.

TM: Keep Italy as controversial as ever, lads! Have a good one!


Norwich City F.C. 2013 Pre-Season Fixture List
06/07/2013 - v. A.A. Gent (Denmark)
09/07/2013 - v. Cottbus (Germany-2)
13/07/2013 - @ Heracles (Holland)
16/07/2013 - @ AFC Wimbledon (England-4)
22/07/2013 - v. Genoa (Italy)
29/07/2013 - v. Middlesborough (England-2)
03/08/2013 - @ King's Lynn (England-7)
06/08/2013 - v. Atletico Madrid (Spain)
12/08/2013 - @ Lowestoft (England-8)

July 3rd, 2013

Verde Set for Baggies Pre-Season Debut

"This really is my first big-time managerial position," admits 31 year-old West Bromwich Albion manager Carlos Verde. Though he does boast experience at the highest level of the beautiful game as a player, Verde is still adjusting to life on the sideline.

"Yeah, it's been a difficult adjustment - of course. Having your playing career cut short is never ideal, but the fact is things happen in life and you've just got to make the best of it. I'm thankful that West Brom have given me an opportunity so quickly to return to the top of the world's game here at The Hawthorns, and I'm excited about the direction the club is going in."

Verde will be eased into his role at West Brom during the 2013/14 pre-season, with his side only venturing as far as Denmark, to face Danish champions Randers, during the run-up to his competitive debut on August 17th against Manchester United.

"For sure, we've got some sitters in our schedule. Playing three Welsh teams and a League Two team in Wimbledon in the span of eleven days could be choppy in terms of injuries," he laughs, somewhat perilously. "In all seriousness, those are all professional teams and we expect they'll be professionally prepared and ready to challenge whatever Starting XI we play against them."

Verde hinted at one final friendly, perhaps in the week just before the Manchester United EPL opener on the 17th, saying, "We have got eighteen days between our final scheduled friendly and the United match. That's too long for a professional club to sit on their hands, and there are some big foreign clubs that will be around at that time."

Regardless of Verde's pre-season record against largely-inferior competition, his slate will be invariably wiped clean come August 17th, when he'll face Manchester United in front of 26000 raucous West Brom fans at The Hawthorns.

2013 West Bromwich Albion Pre-Season Fixture List
06/07/2013 - @ Randers FC (Denmark)
09/07/2013 - v. Red Bull Salzburg (Austria)
12/07/2013 - v. Santos Laguna (Mexico)
20/07/2013 - @ AFC Wimbledon (England-4)
23/07/2014 - @ Rhyl (Wales)
26/07/2013 - @ Carmarthen (Wales)
30/07/2013 - @ Newtown (Wales)
08/08/2013 - v. TBD (Foreign)

Good luck Carlos, love your stories! :D
Good luck!
August 1st, 2013

Baggies Month in Review: July

It was a bizarre month at West Bromwich Albion Football Club, one that was marked by a changing of the guard, an elite talent transferring to The Hawthorns, and some up-and-down friendly results.

Eduardo (ST) - The 30 year-old Brazilian-turned-Croat signed with The Baggies for a 2.1m fee. While surgery on both his knees has slowed him down some, the 30 year-old still has elite ball skills and is clinical around the net. He marks manager Carlos Verde's first foray into the transfer market, and is expected to start up front in his preferred 4-4-1-1.

Adil Nabi (Loan) (ST) - Already being labeled as a bust by some, the 20 year-old striker has been sent out on a season-long loan to League One club Sheffield Wednesday.

The Matches

While the pre-season didn't get off to the greatest start, new boss Carlos Verde has rallied the troops and recorded sound victories against lower-league competition towards the end of the month. New signing Eduardo pocketed a pair of goals during the month of July, while young striker Matej Vydra is making a strong case for a starting position up front, having netted four goals in five starts.

06/07/2013 @ Randers (2-2) Vydra, Anelka.
09/07/2013 v. Red Bull Salzburg (1-1) Dorrans.
12/07/2013 v. Santos Laguna (1-2) Eduardo.
20/07/2013 @ AFC Wimbledon (1-0) Eduardo.
23/07/2013 @ Rhyl (3-1) Sessegnon, Anelka (2).
26/07/2013 @ Carmarthen (3-0) Vydra, Dawson, Roofe.
30/07/2013 @ Newtown (5-1) Vydra (2), Amalfitano, Dorrans (2).

Manager's Quote

"It was a time of adjustment for everyone at The Hawthorns, but I'm very pleased with how the lads have adjusted to my managing style. I think the past few results have been quite positive, and we certainly don't lack any scoring ability up front now. Eduardo is a real solid signing for us, and brings not only his goalscoring ability but a veteran presence to teach the likes of Matej Vydra. Things are looking up for us at West Brom!"

August 1st, 2013.

Canaries Month in Review - July 2013

July was a very positive month for The Canaries. Despite the appointment of a new manager, the club has maintained a lot of continuity in its first team squad, with no transfers in and out of the club, and new boss Tyler McDonald has rattled off an excellent string of results to begin his tenure in East Anglia.

No Transfers

The Matches

A string of tricky top-division opponents to begin the pre-season were handled well by McDonald's Canaries, who featured a very narrow 4-1-2-1-2 for most of their July matches. The Canaries were clinical in front of goal, converting almost 40% of their shots on target, and the attack was very balanced, with nine different players netting for McDonald's side.

03/07/2013 - v. Norwich U21s (4-0) Snodgrass (2), Olsson, Johnson.
06/07/2013 - v. A.A. Gent (2-1) Elmander, Murphy.
09/07/2013 - v. Cottbus (1-0) Becchio.
13/07/2013 - @ Heracles (1-1) Hoolahan.
16/07/2013 - @ AFC Wimbledon (3-0) Bennett, van Wolfswinkel, Murphy.
22/07/2013 - v. Genoa (1-2) Snodgrass.
29/07/2013 - v. Middlesborough (3-1) Elmander, Snodgrass (2).

Manager's Quote

"July was a good month for us, as we set up shop tactically and the players got used to my style both in training and on matchday. We've got two sitters to end the pre-season, with the massive match here at Carrow Road against Atletico Madrid sandwiched between them.

Obviously we've got the trickiest draw of Matchday 1 in the EPL, away to Chelsea, but I know the lads will be raring to go and prove to the rest of the league that we can do this!

Stay loud, Canary faithful!

Nice start Good Luck
August 6th, 2013

Canaries Fall 3-0 to Spanish Giants Atletico Madrid in Final Pre-Season Match

A capacity crowd filled Carrow Road in hopes that the Canaries could upset their European giant visitors, but they were disappointed, as the home side slumped to an uninspired 3-0 defeat.

Diego Costa opened the scoring just under five minutes in, when he tapped home a cross-goal pass from Koke past Canaries keeper John Ruddy.

Costa nearly had his second four minutes later, as the Brazilian was played in by strike partner David Villa before being superbly denied by Ruddy. Off of the ensuing corner, Atletico did double their lead, as Koke's header deflected off of David Fox and into the Canaries net for an own goal.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel nearly brought the hosts back within striking distance in the 26th minute, as his blazing effort from just outside the Atletico 18-yard box was denied by a diving Thibaut Courtois.

Atletico almost found a third goal late in the first half courtesy of winger Diego. The speedster ran down the left flank and received a great ball from Diego Costa before firing a shot that grazed the top of the Canaries' crossbar.

At the half, Tyler McDonald's side were lucky to find themselves trailing by just the pair of Atletico goals.

The Spanish visitors came out even stronger after the break, and it took only nine minutes from the restart for Costa to find his second goal of the evening. A long, floating cross from youngster Alvir found the head of the Brazilian, who powerfully deposited his header into the top corner past a helpless Ruddy.

Costa came dangerously close to completing his hat trick in the 64th minute, when his header off a Manquillo cross found the back of the Canaries net only to be called back due to an offside.

The match settled down in the final 25 minutes, with the Spanish giants content to hold the ball in the midfield and not allow the Canaries any possession.

"All things considered, I didn't think it was a terrible performance," stated Canaries boss Tyler McDonald post-match. "We outshot our visitors, and just lacked the clinical finishing necessary. We gave a very good account of ourselves going forward, and I think we've proven we're ready to go to Stamford Bridge now to face Chelsea on opening matchday (Sept. 17th)."

Atletico manager Diego Simeone was very brief and professional in his post-match presser, praising Norwich for the, "Professional environment we played in," and, "The level of competition," his side faced. They'll open up their La Liga campaign on August 17th with a trip to Sevilla.

Canaries (5-2-1-2): Ruddy, Garrido, Yobo, Bennett, Turner, Martin, Fer, Fox, Snodgrass, Elmander, van Wolfswinkel.

Atletico Madrid (4-2-2-2): Courtois, Insua, Godin, Miranda, Manquillo, Gabi, Mario Suarez, Diego, Koke, Diego Costa, David Villa.

Scoring Summary
5' - ATL - Diego Costa
10' - ATL - David Fox O.G.
54' - ATL - Diego Costa (2)

Booking Summary


August 8th, 2013.

Baggies Stun Monaco in Final Pre-Season Fixture

James Morrison led the way for the hosts on a rainy Thursday evening at The Hawthorns, as the Baggies knocked off nouveau-rich French club A.S. Monaco. Despite boasting some elite talent in their XI, the French visitors were outplayed throughout the ninety minutes by the cohesive and focused West Brom side.

Morrison, who took home player of the match honours, opened the scoring on 25 minutes when he tapped home a Sadio Berahino rebound from close range.

Young Berahino would then get on the scoresheet himself five minutes later, slotting home from the penalty spot after a clattering tackle by Monaco defender Layvin Kurzawa.

Baggies newcomer Eduardo's accidental slip in the 48th minute allowed Monaco striker Dimitar Berbatov to race in alone on West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster, and the Bulgarian international made no mistake, curling in a shot from just inside the Baggies' 18-yard box.

Eduardo atoned for his mistake in the 61st minute, as his strike from 25 yards out clipped the bottom of the Monaco crossbar before going in, bringing The Hawthorns faithful to their feet in the process.

James Rodriguez scored a consolation goal for Monaco in injury time, but it was too little too late for the uninspired French giants, who would have hoped for a better result on English soil against a traditionally mid-table club.

"It is not an ideal result, no," admitted Monaco boss Claudio Ranieri. "But we must credit West Bromwich's manager, Carlos Verde, for the tactical supremacy he has brought to this small club. He did great things at Bologna, and I fully expect him to elevate this club's stature here in England as well," said the Italian manager.

To his credit, Verde did not let the result go to his head, saying calmly, "It's one result in a meaningless game. This is a long process, and we are only at the beginning. Am I happy? Absolutely. But my focus has been, is, and will continue to be the opening match against Manchester United in ten days' time."

August 11th, 2013.

In what will most likely stand as their only large move of the summer, Norwich unveiled the transfer of Armand Traoré to Carrow Road earlier today from Q.P.R..

Traoré, 23, is an attacking wingback who can play virtually anywhere on the left side of the pitch. A product of Arsenal's academy, Traoré made thirteen appearances with the Gunners' first team from 2007 to 2011 before a full-time move to Queens Park Rangers, where made over forty appearances in two full seasons.

"We're very happy to have brought in Armand," explained Canaries manager Tyler McDonald. "We had to dip into the bank reserves a fair amount, but we believe he is the type of player that can transform a club. He is young, he is fast, and he is an intelligent player," explained Norwich's Canadian manager.

Traoré, to be fair, is not a player that deserves to be in the Championship, where Q.P.R. find themselves this season. He is a young, dynamic player who deserves a place in the Premiership, and this could very well be that place.

Though details of the deal were not officially disclosed, a SkySports insider believes the transfer of Traoré was worth about 2.8 million pounds - well out of the normal range of Norwich's transfers.

"We firmly believe in Armand as a leading player at this club, and his versatility is second to none right now in the Premier League," explained McDonald.

Traoré is expected to start for the Canaries next weekend, when they'll travel to Stamford Bridge to face José Mourinho's Chelsea side.

Premier League: Matchday One

18.08.2013 @ Chelsea

The Canaries traveled to Stamford Bridge to face José Mourinho's supberb team on Sunday afternoon, falling 1-0 to a second half Joseph Yobo own goal. Norwich were outshot 15-6 by the hosts, and were it not for the stellar performance of John Ruddy in the Canaries' net the score would have been more lopsided. Norwich's lone chance of the afternoon came in the 28th, when Johan Elmander's shot clipped the Chelsea crossbar.

"Tough, unlucky loss for us Canaries, including the traveling fans. We'll be looking to rebound next week at home against Sunderland. Get loud and get green Canaries!" - manager Tyler McDonald.

18.08.2013 v. Manchester United

The Baggies got their season off to a dream start on Sunday afternoon, beating David Moyes' United side 2-1 on the strength of a pair of goals from French loanee Thiévy. After withstanding United's offensive storm in the first half, largely thanks to Ben Foster's impressive play in goal, The Baggies took the lead on the hour mark, courtesy of Thiévy's long distance strike. The French loanee then shocked everybody four minutes later, scoring on a counter to double The Baggies' lead. Ashley Young got a goal back for United, but West Brom buckled down and secured the three points.

"An incredible result for everyone associated with the club. To start off my time here like this, really is a dream come true. Full marks to Thiévy for both of his world-class goals, and now we head to Stamford Bridge in search of three points we KNOW we can get mid-week against Chelsea." - Carlos Verde, West Brom manager.

Other EPL Results
Southampton 1-1 Arsenal
Cardiff 2-2 Aston Villa
Hull 0-2 Newcastle United
Sunderland 1-3 Swansea
Tottenham 3-1 Stoke
West Ham 0-0 Fulham
Man City 4-1 Crystal Palace

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