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Fury hits the road

What was a roster of 23, now sits at 22. And what was an extensive list of player options will be just 15 this weekend for the Prince George Fury, a pro soccer team about to make its maiden voyage.

What was a roster of 23, now sits at 22.

And what was an extensive list of player options will be just 15 this weekend for the Prince George Fury, a pro soccer team about to make its maiden voyage.

The Fury, which lost two home games to open the season last Saturday, is in the state of Washington for games against the Tacoma Stars (today, 7 p.m.) and Wenatchee Fire (Sunday, 5 p.m.).

Head coach and top player Sipho Sibiya, who can dress 13 players each game, will have fewer choices as the costs of funding all players for road travel precludes all members from heading south. One player who won't be there, and that goes for the rest of the season, is forward Bruno Rodrigues, who quit the team on opening day.

With so many bodies to fit into the puzzle, Sibiya wasn't surprised to have someone bring less than a team focus -- he was, however, shocked at how it took place.

"Bruno is off the team," said Sibiya.

"It surprised me only in the manner of how it happened. Guys are going to get upset that they don't play, but to flat-out quit when you are playing, that's another story. I don't think anyone wants something like that, but it's about professionalism and you have to have that. Guys getting upset about playing time is a good thing, if it's handled right, but you don't quit the team. You work harder.

"We said from the get-go that it wouldn't be easy. You need a big roster. Both teams were tired for the second game and were a little flat."

Players on this trip include Shawn Basi, Jon LaFontaine, Kyle Flannagan, Matt Mehrassa, Andrew Mehrassa, Tyson Williams, Joao Medeiros, Scott DeBianchi, Andrew Seabrook, Joe Lavoie, Chris Russell and Tyson Von Den Steinen.

Fortunately, this journey does not require a two-game day, as the Fury will play at home in order to control facility costs.

"Not everyone can play a doubleheader, that's something I got from it," said Sibiya.

"I only made one change, and I might have to make more. The teams coming in are only going to use probably 13 guys, so I have to handle that better and take advantage of the bigger roster more."

Plenty was learned by Fury players, Sibiya said, after 9-8 and 6-2 losses to the Stars last weekend.

"I learned I have to be fitter," laughed Sibiya, who scored the franchise's first goal.

"I think the biggest lesson was about the tempo of the game, how to slow it down, and how to play the indoor game. I hope the guys learned a lot from playing a pretty good team.

"Tacoma will be similar to the other teams we'll face, a good team, and they were probably ahead of us in being ready to play games. I'm encouraged, but the biggest thing for me is that we have to minimize the mistakes. A lot of teams won't make the mistakes we will, giving up easy goals. We handed them four or five, but we can compete."

Sibiya said this weekend's road games are slated to be broadcast through the Fury website, www.princegeorgefc.com. The next home action for the Fury is Saturday, Jan. 30, when Wenatchee comes north.

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