Sun, Sep


Can a fence be mended after such a bitter divorce?

Despite his volatile departure from the Edmonton Aviators earlier this month, veteran defender Rick Titus has expressed an interest in rejoining the club.

Titus bolted from the Aviators, delivering a scathing review of the A-League expansion team right from former president Wylie Stafford, through to head coach Ross Ongaro and on down to several ex-teammates.

He then signed on with the Toronto Lynx but lasted only one game in his hometown after a falling-out with management there.

Titus has an offer on the table to rejoin the Charleston Battery, but his preference is to return to the Aviators.

"I signed a three-year deal because I wanted to be here, but I had a hard time with what was going on," Titus said in extending an olive branch.

"I'm not going to take back what I said, but it's a different situation now. A lot of that has to do with Wylie stepping down and Ross and Joe (Petrone, director of soccer operations) now having full control of the team.''

However, the bridge looks to be burned beyond repair.

"In my mind, no, we are not entertaining any thought of him playing for us again, but I told him I'd talk to him in 10 days," said Petrone, who may be waiting to see which foreign players he can attract to bolster the club before making a commitment to Titus.

"In my opinion, it's too far crossed. He's got his emotions. He made his decision and we're making ours, which he may not like. What he said (when released) was totally out of context."

In hindsight, Titus realized that much of his concern about the club stemmed from the Aviators' arrangement with Edmonton Minor Soccer that 50 per cent of the team be made up of local talent. That meant a number of players originally tabbed to make the team back in training camp were forced out because the club had to make room for Edmonton- and Alberta-groomed players.

"I didn't really think about it before, but that probably made things very difficult for Ross," said Titus. "He and Wylie were arguing about that and Joe was caught in the middle.

"Had Ross and Joe been doing everything, I think it would have been very different for me."