And so a new chapter in Canadian soccer has begun. With Werder Bremen capturing the Bundesliga title, Paul Stalteri has proven himself to be a Voyageur in his own right, treading upon territory not yet visited upon our kind: that of Champion in a European Superpower.
Now that this barrier has been crossed, the question needs to be asked: Which Canadian footballer on a European club will be following in Stalteri’s footsteps? Surely we do not expect Tomasz Radzinski’s Everton to win the Premiership anytime soon. Hannover 96 struggled against relegation this year, meaning Julian Guzman doesn’t appear poised to make that jump.
Quickly scanning through the 5 European Leagues that can be classified as Giants (England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France), it doesn’t appear as if Canadians are about to suddenly become the rock on which Championship teams are built. But a quick look at who might be transferred to a top Euro club reveals a picture that becomes a little less murky.
What’s the future for Radzinski and Hume?
Not many people expect Tomasz Radzinski to remain with the Toffees, nor Iain Hume with Tranmere. Speculation is rife about Radzinski, some saying he will end up in Scotland, others at Fulham. If one thing seems certain about his destination, it’s that it will be within the British Isles and not on the Continent. A quick peek at the top five teams in the Premiership needing a striker, and the two clubs that pop to mind are Liverpool and Newcastle. Emile Heskey is on his way to Birmingham, and Michael Owen is rumored to be on his way to Spain. Radzinski is no Michael Owen, but he is certainly better than Emile Heskey. Interesting; the Mersey River has never looked so narrow.
Newcastle has an impressive striking tandem of Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy, the only problem being Bellamy’s injury troubles. Last season, the Welshman partnered Shearer in only a handful of matches, spending most of his time on the trainer’s table with a variety of leg injuries. His volatile temper has also found him in Sir Bobby Robson’s doghouse on more than one occasion. Radzinski and Bellamy are two spark plugs with similar attributes and talents. Sir Bobby might well want to take a look at Radzinski, who is much more reliable. Perhaps one of his former players, who happens to be the Canadian manager, could put in a friendly call to a knight of the British empire?
As for Hume, he may still be 2 transfers away from being a star on a top European club. Most pundits agree that a jump up from the second division would go a long way towards his development, but that such a jump needs to be somewhat tempered. Better he play in the first team of a First division club than pull a Hirshfeld and rot away in a Premiership club’s reserve squad.
And the rest of the squad …
As for the rest of the list, one that includes Jim Brennan, Dwayne DeRosario, Atiba Hutchinson, etc., some have reached their full potential and others need to be patient and prove themselves further with their current lot in life. Stalteri may soon be joined by Radzinski and Hume in the Champion’s circle, but conventional wisdom states that it may be some years before we enjoy watching a Canadian succeed such as Diesel this year. We may as well just savour the sweet taste of victory from a German Cup for now.
About this Article
This article appeared sometime in 2004 on The Voyageurs soccer website