Noel Chenier photo/Telegraph-Journal

Football players answer call for Canadian duty

by Kevin Barrett - Saturday, November 8, 2008

This article is courtesy of Telegraph-Journal

Two years removed from an award-winning campaign on the high school football field, Aaron Gordon is gearing up for an international tour of duty in his sport.

Gordon, an all-star defensive back with the Saint John Greyhounds in 2006, and three other New Brunswickers will be part of a 44-player Canadian delegation that will travel to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

"As soon as I heard it was Team Canada, it was an easy decision," said the 19-year-old Gordon, who was named the defensive player of the year in the South Western Conference in 2006 for his abilities as a defensive back.

The first tour, for players 18-22 years of age, is slated for Dec. 11-21 to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic followed by a jaunt to Scotland and Ireland in March, Holland and Belgium in May and Japan in August.

"I plan on being there for every single one," Gordon said.

There is a also Canadian senior team for players 22-40 and they have a trip to Nevada in December, Kentucky in April and next October, there will be mini tournaments in three centres, including one in New Brunswick.

Gordon is enrolled at the New Brunswick Community College in Saint John but wants to combine power engineering study with football duty at Queen's, one of three Canadian Interuniversity Sport squads that recruited him at Saint John High School.

He is honing his academic skills at NBCC and his athletic skills with the Canadian program.

The other New Brunswickers taking part are Joel Seale of Saint John, John Livingstone of Saint John and Donovan Boucher of Moncton.

They will attend a training camp in Toronto from Nov. 29-30.

The commitment comes with a hefty fund raising component but Gordon, a enthusiastic and optimistic defensive back who wants to develop his skills to hopefully get a short at cracking the Queens lineup in the future, is game.

"I have played against men in the MFL (Maritime Football League) but these guys are the cream of the crop for the countries," he said. "It is an awesome opportunity for me and even if Queens doesn't work out, I can go over to Europe."

Michael Davey is the general manager of the Canadian project and says in its five-year existence more than 20 players have graduated to play some professional football in Europe.

"It promotes Canadian football athletes," Davey said. "That's what we are here to do."

The New Brunswick influence in December is just the beginning.

Early next year, a training camp will take in Saint John (Jan. 31), one of 17 across the country that will be held to allow team officials to evaluate talent as well as promote their program, which is not affiliated with Football Canada.

The tryouts start in Vancouver Jan. 10 and wrap up in Halifax Feb. 2 to determine players for the 2009 programs.

"That way, players can go to the tryouts, we can evaluate and gets stats on them and they can get information the tour," Davey said.

Further, Davey is working on a tour with a team from Ireland to play an exhibition game in New Brunswick next October.

Gordon was recognized for his abilities with the Saint John Wanderers in the Maritime Football League and shortly after that season ended, he got a call from Davey with an offer to play.

The fund raising required starts at approximately $2,000 per tour per player and sponsorship packages range from $50 to $500.

Throw in travel costs to camps and Gordon needs to raise approximately $12,000. He can be reached at 506-652-6403.