Sullivan Silva said there’s a bit of unfinished business he’d like to take care of this summer with the Thunder Bay Chill.
The Brazilian striker, the reigning most valuable player in the Premier Development League, is nursing a foot injury that’s kept him on the sidelines for the past two months. But he’s raring to go for a second season with the Chill, looking to build on what he started a year ago.
“I had a great season last year, so I thought it was another great opportunity to come back and seem the teammates I played with last year,” said Silva, who topped the PDL with 13 goals and six assists.
“We had a pretty good chemistry, so I thought it was a good idea to come back.”
Last year’s abrupt playoff exit, at the hands of eventual champion Forest City London, also played a role in his decision-making process.
Silva, like the rest of his teammates, wants to bring home a second championship banner, adding to the one the Chill won five summers ago.
“It was frustrating last year. We had a very good team. But this year we have great guys coming too, so hopefully we can get that title.”
The budding star, who had a tryout with Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps, said he hopes to be back in two weeks, when the Chill open regular-season play on the road against WSA Winnipeg.
Coach Tony Colistro, who braved wintry temperatures as camp opened Saturday at Fort William Stadium, said getting Silva back is an important piece of the championship puzzle.
“I thought we built a good nucleus last season and I thought we brought in players that were going to make us strong for this year.
Getting that call (from Silva) back in February thinking that he might return was definitely a nice call to have as well,” Colistro said.
Silva will be joined on the pitch by a familiar face in 2013, with the return of midfielder Nolan Intermoia, who took last season off, his body too beaten up to handle the rigors of another PDL season.
But the Florida native said he felt the itch all last summer, and with his injury woes in the past, is ready to contribute again.
“I just needed some time for my body to recover. It wasn’t the strongest. But I talked to Tony over the Christmas break and we decided it was time for me to come back. I made sure I got myself in shape and ready for pre-season,” said Intermoia, a member of that 2008 championship squad.
Like Silva, the overall goal is the same – a PDL title and nothing less.
“It’s always our goal to make it to the finals, let alone the playoffs. Tony brings in a world-class players and now it’s just our job to mesh together and try to go all the way,” Intermoia said.
Colistro does have a few holes to fill.
Forward Juan Velez and defender Sicelo Buthelezi are not returning this season, though most of the remaining core is back, including defenders Axel Sjoberg, Zetroy Robertson and Paul Dillon, midfielder Abraham Villon and goalie Stephen Paterson.
Pitch marks: The Chill have moved next weekend’s exhibition games against the Winnipeg Lions from Chapples Field to Fort William Stadium, due to soggy ground. Game times are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
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