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  • Sunday, July 16, 2000

    All for Canada

    Corazzin stands proud for team

    By SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

     EDMONTON -- Carlo Corazzin deserves a salute for the commitment he's displaying to his country at the expense of personal gain.

     One of Canada's more talented offensive threats, Corazzin stepped into the limelight during February's Gold Cup, scoring four goals during the championship tournament - one on a penalty kick in the final against Colombia - and another three in the qualifying games.

      The Gold Cup all-star is no stranger to knocking balls behind the opposing 'keeper, registering 73 goals in four seasons in England.

     But after a 17-goal campaign last year for Northampton Town and helping the club earn promotion to the Second Division, the family man from Vancouver, who is sure to be in the starting lineup tonight as Canada meets Trinidad and Tobago at Commonwealth Stadium, now finds himself without a steady paycheque.

     The veteran of 43 capped appearances for Canada, who made his debut on the international stage in 1994 against Morocco, could take the money and run away from the national team, but that's just not his style.

     "It's not an easy thing to just walk away from, especially since we're on an upbeat scale and things are moving in the right direction," said Corazzin yesterday. "There's been a lot of hard years and to leave in the good times just wouldn't be right for me personally."

     Corazzin and his agent have discussed contracts with First Division side Gillingham and Oldham of the Second Division, but the response is pretty much the same -- we'd love to have you, just give up the national team commitment.

     At least through the T&T tilt, Corazzin's answer is thanks, but no thanks. Right now, the 28-year-old forward is receiving the small appearance fee playing for Canada, but that's all as far as income is concerned.

     "Being realistic, it doesn't pay the bills. You play on the national team for honour. I've got a wife and a little boy now and I've got to look after their best interests. It's hard to juggle the whole thing together," said Corazzin.

     "The fact of being a free agent, those teams really have the knife by the handle in the sense of 'this is the contract under our terms -- take it or leave it,' '' he said.

     "I don't think I'm prepared enough to say I've had enough of the national team and walk away.''

     Surprisingly, Corazzin's strong performances at the Gold Cup and Canada's rise up the FIFA world rankings are actually working against 5-ft. 11-in., 170-pounder. In the past, clubs overseas would sign Canucks without hesitation, realizing that their national team commitment would be fairly shortlived.

     In the wake of head coach Holger Osieck's realignment and the squad's charge in the last year, suddenly Canadians need to be away from their teams for extended periods and the clubs aren't eager to dole out heavy wages to someone who will be gone for a good portion of the campaign.

     There are some other options available, yet there's nothing as appealing as landing another job in the United Kingdom.

     Osieck, the architect behind the Gold Cup success and a 15-game unbeaten streak, couldn't ask for much more out Corazzin, who has vaulted to fifth spot on Canada's all-time top scorers list.

     "He was one of the few I retained from the old players' pool and I knew why," explained Osieck. "In order to build up a new team, I had to have some cornerstones and some experience that could lead the younger guys and Carlo was, in my calculation, one of those."



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