Victory opens home season; Calloway returns to Bay Area
The California Victory finally opens its regular home season Saturday when it takes on the visiting Rochester Raging Rhinos at Kezar Stadium at 7 pm.
The games marks a return to the Bay Area for Rochester head coach Laurie Calloway, who played under Victory general manager Terry Fisher when Fisher was coaching the San Jose Earthquakes back in 1979.
"Calloway is committed 'soccer-lifer,'" said Fisher. "He lives for the game. I traded for him from San Jose in 1976 when I was coaching the Los Angeles Aztecs. He refused to report because he hated LA!"
"He had a great left foot and was tough defender," he added. "He's a proven winner and a great competitor."
Calloway went on to coach the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks in 1990 with Fisher at the helm as GM, taking the club to the semifinals of the 1992 CONCACAF Champions' Cup. The two were again reunited in 1996 at the San Jose Clash.
"He was always a fan favorite for his charm and great looks," said Fisher. "All that was along time ago, though."
Victory head coach Glenn Van Straatum has played with and against Calloway many times and considers him an good friend.
"He has a certain style I remember well," Straatum said. "I'm very familiar with that style of football and looking forward to seeing our teams compete together at this level. It should be a great match."
But sentimental rumblings aside, Van Straatum knows the Victory has its work cut out for Saturday night.
"Rochester are a fantastic side," he said. "They are a very professional setup with a lot of history. It will be tough."
Van Straatum said that the Victory is recovering from a string of niggling injuries and should have Cameron Dunn fit again for the weekend, although Mike Muñoz is doubtful.
"I'm really happy with the guys overall," Van Straatum said. "They have shown such great spirit and character. It's going to be a good season."
The Victory (0-0-1) has played only one game in the 2007 USL First Division, a 2-2 tie with Vancouver Whitecaps, compared to Rochester's four (1-1-2). Rochester currently sits fifth in USL-1, three points below league leader Atlanta Silverbacks.
The Victory takes on Vancouver on March 19 in a rematch of the season opener. For tickets, go to www.californiavictorysoccer.com.
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USL First Division Stories from May 9, 2007
- Victory opens home season; Calloway returns to Bay Area - California Victory
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