Kingston’s new professional soccer team club has been holding tryouts for the past two weeks, but the open sessions haven’t attracted local players.
Kingston Prospect FC President Jim Hamrouni said he was disappointed by the lack of Kingston-based players at the sessions.
“Lots of clubs from around here haven’t sent their players to tryouts. I’m surprised,” Hamrouni said. “The door’s open to everybody.”
The new franchise, formed in July, has a pro team, a reserve team and an academy program within the Canadian Soccer League — Canada’s only pro soccer league.
Kingston Prospect FC’s reserve team lost 9-1 to Toronto FC’s academy team at Tindall field on Saturday night. Club executive Sean Fraser said the reserve squad didn’t contain many players who will play for the pro team.
Kingston Prospect FC will be targeting players from all over the world. League regulations stipulate that a team must spend a minimum of $75,000 on nine designated pro players. The rest of the first team will consist of unpaid players, many of whom will come from North American universities.
“We’re trying to promote soccer at the grassroots level, with a view of bringing them up into the pro ranks,” Fraser said. “It’s great to see that Kingston’s on board and we’re very happy to see that Queen’s is such a strong partner with us.”
Kingston Prospect FC will play regular season games at Richardson Stadium, the Queen’s men’s soccer team’s home field. Prospect FC’s inaugural season starts in May 2012. President Jim Hamrouni said he wants to include Kingston-based players in his team and has already spoken to some Queen’s players.
“It’s a nice community and there’s no professional team around, so we’re trying to get something going here,” Hamrouni said. “There are a lot of kids playing soccer in Kingston.”
But Hamrouni said Kingston Prospect FC’s pro team will be at a higher level than what most Queen’s players are used to.
“It’s a different level — nice, smooth, and technically sound,” he said. The Queen’s men’s soccer team co-captain, Jordan Brooks, has already spoken with Hamrouni. Brooks said a local pro team would allow players to stay in Kingston and play at an elite level all summer.
“I would be shocked if anyone on our team wasn’t interested,” he said. “As a player on the varsity team, you want a good place to play in the offseason.” Brooks said the lack of competitive soccer in Kingston has hurt the men’s program in recent seasons.
Brooks stayed behind in Kingston over the summer to stay connected with the Gaels, but only played in a recreational league.
“The quality just isn’t high enough,” he said.
No players from the men’s soccer team attended recent open tryouts. Brooks said his teammates would have to consider conflicts and time commitments before joining Kingston Prospect FC.
“It’s still so early,” he said. “We’re just focused on the Queen’s season.”
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