April 20, 2012
Chicago, IL - Back in September 2011, Inferno president Todd Short and team manager Branko Savic began constructing their soccer network for the club. One of the teams on their contact list was Capital City FC of the Canadian Soccer League (CSL). The Ottawa-based club just completed its inaugural season in Canada’s top-flight professional league, falling just short of the 2011 championship by dropping a 1-0 decision to Toronto Croatia in the title match.
"Capital City technical director Shaun Harris has plenty of experience in the United States with both the United Soccer Leagues and Major League Soccer. We felt that Shaun’s knowledge of soccer in the U.S. and his experience building a new franchise, makes him a valuable person for us to know," stated Todd Short.
Inferno head coach Branko Savic went on to say, "When I sat in on the conference call with Todd and Shaun, my main goal was to open a door for our players if they were deserving of a shot at professional soccer in Canada. If we had a player that was looking to the CSL, we could call Shaun and get them a look."
All parties on that phone call back in September must have liked what they heard...fast forward to April 2012 and Capital City FC has entrusted Chicago Inferno with three of their up and coming Under-23 players for the 2012 PDL season:
Emir Zrnic, a midfielder, was born in Bosnia-Herzegovina and lived in Switzerland before coming to Canada. Zrnic was a gold medal winner in the Canadian games with Quebec in 2009. He has participated with clubs such as Stade de Reims (France), L’U.S Albi (CFA France), and Montreal Impact (academy). "Based on what I have seen Emir seems to be the creative midfielder we need. He has the potential to develop as a player and continue to a career in professional soccer," said Branko Savic.
Damiem Rolon-Mérette, a midfielder and native of Gatineau, went to Brazil and competed with Portuguesa Futebol Clube in Sao Paolo. He was selected into the Canadian Youth National Teams at U15, U16, and U17 and named captain. Damiem remained in Brazil at Nacional Atletico Clube, Ole Brasil FC and Camasari of Bahia.
Francis Létourneau-Mathieu, a defender, was born in Hull, Quebec and had collegiate soccer experience playing for Cegep de l’Outaouais. His team won the 2009 gold medal at both the regional and provincial championship. At the university level, he is a member of the University of Ottawa Gee-gees men’s soccer team. Mathieu also brings seven years of experience with FC Outaouais AAA club team, where he was part of the 2009 Saputo Cup championship team.
The top developmental men’s league in North America, the PDL features 73 teams within four conferences across the United States and Canada. The PDL season consists of 16 regular season matches for each team, eight home and eight away, and provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility. In addition to league play, PDL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various exhibitions. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world.
Chicago Inferno is set to kick off the 2012 PDL season on May 19th at Michigan Bucks. The first home match is set for May 25th at Wheaton College against the River City Rovers.