Blue Bomber Report Record: 3–1–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Goossen flies in for centre gig

Bombers' No. 2 draft pick acclimatizing self

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Matthias GOOSSEN may be the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' centre-in-waiting, but he had bigger things on his mind on his first official day in the club's colours.

Number one likely being this: trying to soak up as much of his new surroundings as possible. But the 21-year-old Simon Fraser product could also get used to life as a pro footballer.

"The dorms are really nice, the food's been really good, the guys are nice... I can't ask for anything better," said Goossen Wednesday night after practice.

"It was very exciting. My first practice was a lot of fun, very fast, very physical and it was pretty tiring, too."

The Bombers announced the signing of Goossen -- drafted second overall earlier this month -- on Wednesday. And while contract details were not available, he did receive a $15,000 signing bonus.

His next task? Pushing to impress enough to stake a claim to the starting-centre gig left vacant when Justin Sorensen left for Edmonton this winter. Goossen, for what it's worth, is listed third on the Bomber depth chart behind Steve Morley and Quentin Saulsberry.

"I'm just trying to go out there every day, do my best and put my best foot forward.

"As a football player I want to play. But I'm not putting any expectations on myself other than just trying to do my best every day, trying to get better and contribute to the team in any way possible."

Bomber head coach Mike O'Shea said it was important for Goossen to be on the field for Day 1.

"He knew that," said O'Shea. "We talked to him and said, 'You need to get here, and you need to learn at the rate everybody else is learning. You can't be left behind, because when the vets come in it's a whole different practice."

Asked for a quick first impression, O'Shea added:

"It wouldn't probably be fair. We drafted him at that spot for a reason, because we like him a lot. He's going to be just fine."

THREE MORE ON BOARD: In addition to Goossen, the Bombers also announced the addition of three other players, all imports. Coming aboard are:

-- Davion Dumas (6-1, 180, Northern Arizona): A defensive back, Dumas played four seasons at Northern Arizona. He missed 2010 because of injury, but in 2009 started all 11 games and finished fourth on the team in tackles.

-- Quentin Saulsberry (6-2, 304, Mississippi) was with the Bombers earlier this offseason, including attending the club's Florida mini-camp. He spent last season with the New Orleans Voodoo of the Arena Football League and was with the Denver Broncos for the 2012 season on the club's practice squad, and also had a stint with Los Angeles of the AFL. At Mississippi State, he started primarily at right tackle, but also saw time at guard and centre. In 2012, he played in the East-West Shrine Game and earned All-SEC Honorable Mention by The Associated Press.

-- Jesse Peterson (6-1, 286, Wheaton College) appeared in eight games as a regular starter at offensive tackle in his senior year of 2011, helping an offence that averaged 34.5 points per game. He then spent time in the Arena League with New Orleans prior to signing in Winnipeg.

TRANSIT PLANS: The Bombers were stiff-armed by the city on Tuesday when they were told the city is no longer prepared to offer the club $650,000 in transit subsidies for game-day transportation.

But, just FYI for the roughly 10,000 fans who use transit to get to and from games, the Bombers plan to reveal their own plans on Monday.

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 29, 2014 D2

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