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Monday, July 3, 2017

Canada's Contributions To The Silverbacks - By Taylor Peyton

As we prepare to celebrate our country’s independence with fireworks, food, and beer, our neighbors to the north are probably just now recovering from their Canada Day hangovers. Canada became an independent country on July 1st, 1867. In Canada’s 150-year-old history, they’ve offered many great things to the whole world, not just Hockey and Maple Syrup. Don’t believe me? Just have a look at some of the great Canadian Players that have played for the Silverbacks over the years

Let me just say right away, the research behind this article was pretty challenging because there simply haven’t been that many Canadians that have played for the Silverbacks. I spent this past weekend asking around, and the responses I got from the likes of Westside 109 members, Justin Hanover, and former Front Office members were pretty mixed. Some 109 members were able to provide me with the names of Women’s players, and Justin informed me that Douglas Diwa was Canadian. Me having already become a fan by the time Kyle Porter joined the Silverbacks, I didn’t really need an explanation on that one. But what you see is the results of my research. If you’re a Canadian, who played for the Ruckus/Silverbacks but aren’t mentioned; first of all, my sincerest apologies. Second of all, maybe an interview with a “forgotten Canadian Silverback” can be a good piece for Canada’s 151st birthday next year… just a thought.

Sharolta Nonen
Vancouver’s Sharolta Nonen was no stranger to Atlanta before joining the Silverbacks. After finishing her College Career with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, she played for the Atlanta Beat from 2001-03. By the time she had returned to Atlanta in 2005 to play for the Silverbacks, she had already played in her second World Cup. She scored 1 goal in 22 appearances with the Silverbacks and was just recently named the head coach of FIU’s Women’s Soccer team.

Christine Latham
In Between scoring three goals at the 2003 World Cup, and later working for Fox Sports at the end of her playing career, Christine Latham was a prolific goalscorer for the Silverbacks. Over a 4 year span from 2005-08, she scored 23 goals in 49 appearances.

Candace Chapman
As opposed to Latham and Nonen, who were already stars before joining the Silverbacks, Chapman played for the Silverbacks as her career was just getting started. After graduating from Notre Dame, she joined the Silverbacks in 2005 and made 10 appearances. Since then she has played in two World Cups in 2007 and 2011 and has was won two Bronze Medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics Games.

Alvin Hudson

Alvin Hudson was a bit of an A-League / USL journeyman. A Chicago Fire prospect who didn’t break through in MLS, Hudson had stints Milwaukee, Minnesota, and Vancouver before landing in Atlanta. Hudson only played one season with the Silverbacks in 2007 in which they made it to the championship game and fell to Seattle. He made 7 appearances for the Silverbacks.

Kyle Porter
Porter was one of many exciting signings before the 2015 Silverbacks. He had made his name playing for FC Edmonton in the NASL, and then DC United where he won the US Open Cup in 2013 over Real Salt Lake, who had knocked the Silverbacks earlier in the tournament. It’s safe to say that justice was done in the end. Well, it wasn’t so much justice as it was the thing that I wanted to happen, but it’s basically the same thing. Porter played in almost every game for the Silverbacks in the 2015 campaign and managed to score two goals. He mainly played on the wing but did have to play a few games as a striker. Since leaving the Silverbacks at the end of the 2015 season, he has had stints with Ottawa in 2016, and now the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Douglas Diwa
An unsung hero on the 2016 Atlanta Silverbacks squad that won the NPSL South Atlantic championship, Diwa was considered to be the best player in Quebec at U-16 and U-17 levels. For the Silverbacks he was an explosive winger with excellent dribbling skills that would terrorize defenders. This season he trained with the Silverbacks with a little bit, but he hasn’t been seen in a few weeks. My understanding is that it’s possible that the 22-year-old is turning his focus towards his education. If this is the case, I’m sure Silverbacks fans will wish him the best. But if it;s not the case, hopefully, he’ll be back at the Park playing again soon!

Melissa Tancredi
I know I messed up the chronological order by putting Tancredi last on this list, but I felt it was appropriate because due to her Bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Tancredi is the most recent Silverbacks-alum to achieve a significant honor. Like Chapman, Tancredi joined the Silverbacks in 2005 after graduating from Notre Dame. She played two seasons in Atlanta before heading on a journey that would take her to places such as New York, St. Louis, Sweden, and Chicago, before she retired in 2017 with two Olympic Bronze medals, (2012 and 2016) and 22 goals in 107 appearances for Canada to her name.

I hope you all enjoyed this brief history of Canada’s connection to the Silverbacks. It was a fun piece to write, as I always enjoy doing research about the history of the team, and it was also a chance to temporarily forget about the rough patch that the current team is currently going through. I’m sorry about my lack of activity, but other things have been taking up my time, but Jordan Coker has been doing an excellent job of writing Previews and Reviews of matches on the official website, so shoutout to him for picking up my slack. I promise there won’t be another dry spell on the blog from now on, and that includes the offseason. Thanks to everyone who was patient with me. One more thing, the Silverbacks last regular season game is Saturday, July 8 against the Georgia Revolution. The fireworks might not be in the sky, but it’s very possible there will be fireworks on the pitch. Enjoy your 4th of July, and make sure you come to Silverbacks Park on Saturday!

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