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  • Sunday, July 16, 2000

    English club wants Carlo Corazzin

     EDMONTON (CP) -- The contract English Second Division club Oldham is offering Canadian striker Carlo Corazzin is very attractive.
     
     It's a three-year deal, and while he won't be specific, Corazzin says the money is good. There's just one problem.
     
     "They would like me to quit international football all together, which I'm not so comfortable with," Corazzin said on the eve of Canada's World Cup qualifying game against Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday.
     
     "I've always said I love to play for Canada. I'm hoping we can come to a compromise somehow."
     
     Time is running out for the 28-year-old striker from New Westminster, B.C., who played for Third Division Northampton Town last season. Oldham wants an answer by Tuesday.
     
     "Whether or not they are stuck to that deadline we'll have to see," said Corazzin, who is a free agent.
     
     A veteran of 40 international games, Corazzin finds himself torn.
     
     He has a wife and family to support and the Oldham deal gives him some stability. On the other hand, he's excited about the direction the Canadian national team is heading under coach Holger Osieck.
     
     Buoyed by the club's recent Gold Cup victory, where Corazzin won the Golden Boot trophy as the tournament's leading scorer, the Canadian team has climbed in the world rankings to No. 55.
     
     "I don't think I'm at the age where I'd like to consider the fact I have to retire from the national team, especially since what is going on now since Holger has taken over," Corazzin said.
     
     "It's been a lot of hard work, so for me to just step away from it would be tearing a piece of me away."
     
     Still, national pride and wearing the Maple Leaf doesn't put food on the table or pay the rent.
     
     "I've always said it's a great honour, a huge honour to play for Canada. But the Canadian Soccer Association or the Canadian team does not pay my wages," he said.
     
     "It is a catch-22 situation, that's why I'm saying hopefully I can come to a compromise with Oldham and we can reach a mutual agreement."
     
     Canadian keeper Pat Onstad, who plays for Dundee United of the Scottish Premier League, said many soccer free agents are running into Corazzin's dilemma. Teams don't want to be paying players only to lose them for parts of the season while they play international matches with their countries.
     
     "Teams are starting to put pressure on the players," Onstad said.
     
     "They are saying 'If you want to play for us you have to retire from international football.' What does a player do? It's a real tough decision and a lot of players are starting to face that, and it's an unfair situation."
     
     There is hope FIFA, soccer's world governing body, will find a solution to the problem by co-ordinating the international schedule so games can be held the same day.
     
     Currently while European leagues shut down to facilitate European internationals, players from North and South America who ply their trade in Europe find themselves missing handfuls of games to play for their country.
     
     When Corazzin returned from the Gold Cup, his former team Northampton Town made him an offer. Corazzin refused to sign and Northampton Town withdrew the deal and offered it to another striker.
     
     Since then Oldham is the only club to step forward with a solid deal.
     
     "If I had to say concrete, that was the only thing I have on the table at the moment," Corazzin said.
     
     "There is no other place at the moment."



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