THUNDER BAY – 2014 is a huge year for soccer. The FIFA World Cup will be held this June in Brazil. Closer to home, and another sign that the long slow spring is actually arriving in the start of the Thunder Bay Chill Training Camp.
The Thunder Bay Chill will begin their preparation this Saturday May 10th at Fort William Stadium marking their 15th anniversary playing in the Premier Development League of the United Soccer Leagues.
Training camp for the Chill will mark the return of some players from the 2013 league championship team. Returning is captain Nolan Intermoia, defenders Paul Dillon, Zetroy Robertson and Kristian Zanette, midfielders Gavin Hoy and Dominic Roberts and forward Sullivan Silva. Silva didn’t play much last season due to a foot injury seeing action only in the play-offs last season and things are not looking up for him at this time as a knee injury may require surgery. A big absence of this year’s team will also be 10 year Chill veteran Stephen Paterson who is now living in the US.
Returning for his 15th season Head Coach Tony Colistro says, “It’s a tough loss not to have Steve and it will be different for me personally as I have had the privilege to watch him grow and develop into a professional since he was playing with our youth teams.” However, finding available quality players for the Chill is not a difficult task as over 100 players expressed interest in playing with the Chill this season. The team will once again bring in players from all over the world such as Spain, Holland, Brazil, Australia, France, Chile, and the US.
“I think the team will be of quality as always and our goal is to continue to win and make the play-offs which is never an easy task”, states Colistro.
In an already very competitive Heartland division, the league has moved the Chicago Inferno over from the Great Lakes division and moved Real Colorado to the newly created Mountain Division. Qualifying for the playoffs in this competitive 64 team league has not been made any easier by these changes.
In addition to the competition, the Chill faces additional obstacles at home where it struggles to play at Chapples Park. Last year the team had 7 of their home and play-off games moved to the Fort William Stadium and didn’t train once on their home field for the whole season. Weather conditions played a huge factor and will be hoping for better conditions this season.
The Chill finished the 2013 season with a 12-1-1 record for 37 points and winning the over-all league title. The Chill lost the PDL Final Championship game in Austin, TX to the home team 3-1 last season.
The Chill will be making a presentation to city council this Monday May 12th requesting improvements to their home field at Chapples Park.