This interview first appeared on the CanPL.ca Newsroom, a weekly podcast dedicated to the Canadian Premier League and Canadian soccer. Click here to watch, listen, and subscribe.
As always, Cavalry FC has a plan A, B, C, and D.
Head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. joined the CanPL.ca Newsroom on Friday to chat with Marty Thompson and Charlie O’Connor-Clarke about his club’s recent return to the training pitch, as well as how he’ll have to adapt his attack in the wake of recent news that Argentine striker Matias Roskopf won’t be able to join them for 2021.
“Matias Roskopf is a hell of a player, we were excited to have him,” Wheeldon said.
“There’s a nervousness and excitement from when I put my GM hat on, because you want to make sure you’re getting the right players in, and he would’ve certainly improved the league, would’ve improved the team… The lad left on very good terms, it’s just unfortunate we didn’t get a player like that due to the pandemic restraints.”
Fortunately for Cavalry, it sounds like they do have a solid backup plan. Other key international players, like José Escalante and Richard Luca, have secured their visas, so they’ll be joining the Cavs in training soon.
Plus, with some extra roster slots open, Wheeldon suggested he still has room to improve his squad.
“We’ve already agreed to terms with a couple of other strikers that we’ll announce here shortly,” he hinted, pointing out how in a similar situation in 2020, he signed Marcus Haber to shore up the attack to great effect.
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At the moment, Cavalry has 17 players signed, including seven newcomers. After last season’s Island Games, which saw Cavalry finish first after the opening round but miss out on the Final, the club is looking to shore up its depth and rejuvenate the squad a bit.
All in all, Wheeldon is impressed with what he’s seen so far from the first few days of training. And regardless, it’s nice just to be back on the pitch.
“It’s brilliant because just being outside, being able to train properly, I think that’s great for everybody’s physical and mental wellbeing,” Wheeldon said. “As I said when we returned to training, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. We’ve now taken a few back to where we want to be, and that’s here at Spruce Meadows, playing in front of our fans again. ”
He added: “We think just having seen the players that are here, we look very dynamic, which is part of the way we play. We’re a very attack-minded football team, but we’re also quick to close people down. It looks very good at this point.”
Certainly, Cavalry will have a very different look to them this season with a host of new, young signings.
Wheeldon went on to chat with the CanPL.ca crew about some of his favourite Sean Fleming stories, as well as José Hernández’s sudden rise to stardom in this week’s eCPL finals.