Friday was moving day at the Masters. Sunday was moving day for most of the participants of Rhinos training camp in Cary, NC.
The Rhinos broke camp on Sunday with some players headed straight back to Rochester, some to gather up their stuff for a move to Rochester, and yet others were moving on to their next stop on their path along pro soccer's winding road.
One player that will eventually land in Rochester is non-roster invitee Nate Craft. Nate has played the past three seasons with the Michigan Bucks of the PDL. Last season Nate played in Michigan with two other players in Rhinos camp, 2005 PDL Defender of the Year Kevin Taylor and forward Mychal Turpin. Taylor and Turpin were signed by the Rhinos after the 2005 PDL season was completed and thus had a leg up on Craft when it came to knowing the coaches and players with the Rhinos.
Last season with the Bucks, Nate Craft won the prestigious Paul Scicluna Award, which has been voted on annually by Bucks players, coaches and owners since Paul's tragic passing in 1999. The honor is for the Michigan player who best exemplifies the qualities of performance, effort and class espoused by the late former co-owner of the Bucks. The rather impressive part of Nate's story is the fact that the Bucks found him not on a college roster like most PDL players, but rather in a men's league. But, Nate's hard work has led not only to his being a strong player in the PDL, but he now has a contract with the Rhinos for 2006.
Jason Perry dealing with a potentially career threatening Achilles injury
Rhinos Head Coach Laurie Calloway was on Kick This! Saturday and said that central defender Jason Perry has been dealing with a degenerative condition due to calcification of both of his Achilles tendons. Apparently the condition has limited Jason's ability to train in the past and has been getting worse as of late.
Coach Calloway mentioned that the condition may have reached a career threatening level and that he is going to sit down with Jason soon and that the Rhinos might have to go out and try and acquire yet another central defender.
If this condition does cause Jason's career with the Rhinos to come to a close, that would be the third retirement of a Rhinos player in the past two months. Perry's retirement would follow the retirement of defensive midfielder Rene Rivas in February and central defender Scott Schweitzer in March.
John Ball's indoor season is complete
The California Cougars were knocked out of playoff contention this past week, and Coach Calloway mentioned that veteran midfielder John Ball has been released and should be in camp with the Rhinos later this week. John is busy getting his family and things ready to move to Rochester for the season, but should be in town soon.
Coach Calloway also mentioned that a few of the rookies in camp still have some schoolwork to finish up and they may be moving in and out of camp until their school years are complete.
The Rhinos first local preseason match will be at 4pm on Saturday, April 15th at Aquinas High School versus the USL 1st Division's Toronto Lynx.
Also of note, tickets for the school day preseason match versus the Syracuse University Men's Soccer team that will take place at 4pm on Friday, April 28th at MCC are on sale now. You may get tickets at Locker Room Sports, Valenti Sports, EuroTech Soccer, The Soccer Shack, the Ling Road Sports Center, or at MCC.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.