BY MICHAEL BULLOCK
Even though the holiday season is upon us, the USL Second Division's Harrisburg City Islanders are not going to let trips to the mall disrupt what they hope to do.
Find talented players.
The City Islanders and reigning USL-1 champ Vancouver will co-host a tryout camp Wednesday and Thursday at In The Net, where 100 players lugging hopes of playing professional soccer are expected to descend on the Campbelltown complex.
"I fully expect [this] week to be a bit crazy," said City Islanders general manager Mike Henning, referring to the seven-session event. "There's a certain logistical challenge to hosting this many people at one place.
"Obviously, we need to be very efficiently organized to make things run as smoothly as possible and to ensure that every player gets a fair look, which is clearly our goal."
With the United Soccer Leagues' Combine in Charleston, S.C., running through Tuesday, Vancouver's presence on the East Coast was a prime reason why the Whitecaps decided to link up with the City Islanders to look at possible prospects.
Vancouver will have three members of its coaching staff present, including assistant Todd Wawrousek. Wawrousek had a lengthy run as the women's soccer coach at Gettysburg College, and he also served as an assistant with the A-League's Hershey Wildcats when Henning played there.
City Islanders coaches Bill Becher and Steve Widdowson, along with Henning, have lined up notables such as former Hershey and Vancouver player Steve Klein, former Harrisburg Heat coach Richard Chinapoo and one-time Heat keeper Todd Hoffard to assist with the evaluation process.
With 100 players on hand, including 20 goalkeepers, they'll need it. City Islanders Nigel Marples, Nate Baker, Ryan Pierce and Jason Pelletier will give the eyes a benchmark to read the other wannabes. Of course, they may be angling for USL-1 deals, too.
Henning also was grateful to the football-playing Central Penn Piranha, who also utilize Skyline, for moving several games to other venues so the project could be started earlier than planned.