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3 Cuban soccer players defected in Toronto

Published October 13, 2012 12:55 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Toronto • Soccer's governing body says the three Cuban soccer players who disappeared before a World Cup qualifier against Canada have defected.

FIFA said in an email the players defected Thursday, one day before the game. U.S. Customs and Border Protection would not confirm reports the men tried to cross into the United States at the Niagara Falls border point.

The defecting players left Cuban coach Alexander Gonzalez with only 11 players on his team. He said another player was ill and didn't make it to the game, which Canada won 3-0.

Last January, two players with the Cuban women's team defected following a match against Canada in Vancouver.