• Daniel Squizzato

      As a kid, Squizz spent a lot of time playing soccer, writing and getting overly excited about frivolous things. Not much has changed: he still plays (badly), he still writes (having been published in outlets such as Maclean's and The Globe & Mail) and still has plenty of irrational passion (just wait until the next time the men's national team plays against Honduras).

    • Grant Surridge

      Grant has no soccer playing career to speak of, and probably hasn't been following Canadian soccer as long as you have, but he does spend vast amounts of time reading about soccer online. A proud, self-loathing ex-Winnipeger, Grant also supports Chelsea FC. He writes about the Canadian mens' national team, as well as Canada's rivals in Central America and the Caribbean.
    • Some Canadian Guys Arguing: WWC2015 in Toronto?

      During the 2010 World Cup, two of your trusty Some Canadian Guys took to the (online) pages of Maclean's magazine to bicker about pressing soccer issues of the day. Now we're using this forum to bicker about a pressing soccer issue of the present day.

      With the 2015 Women's World Cup officially being awarded to Canada, it appears that Toronto will not be one of the host cities. Does it matter?

      Squizz: It's most important for folks to realize that this isn't a case of the CSA intentionally shutting Toronto out. The city -- and region -- will be busy with the 2015 Pan Am Games, and didn't express an interest in hosting any WWC games. But no matter the cause, even if this inconveniences me personally, I think it's a great thing, as it allows the games to be spread into cities and areas that may not have otherwise had them.

      Jamie: I agree that it's not the CSA's fault (wow that feels weird to say), but it's still a problem that Toronto isn't involved. I can't argue them into inclusion the city opted out but I can argue against the idea that this is a good thing. Spreading the game beyond Toronto is necessary, but we can't pretend that the game especially the women's game is so entrenched in Toronto that we can take it as a given.

      The attendance figures in Toronto for the matches against China and the U.S. in the last two years weren't great, but they showed potential. Just one World Cup match (say, the opener, which has the best chance of not competing with the Pan Am Games) would certainly sell out, and seeing a meaningful Canadian victory (fingers crossed) would do wonders for the support here.

      Squizz: What, people in Toronto don't have televisions? They can't watch games in Montreal or Edmonton or wherever else, and still be filled with pride and excitement if the team does well? There was this funny little sporting event called "the Olympics" last winter, and people in Toronto seemed to get plenty excited about that, even though they were in Vancouver. Besides, one of the goals of the World Cup is to build the sport in this country which, as I'm sure you're well aware, does include cities outside of the GTA.

      Jamie: Hey now I'm not trying to be Toronto-centric, here. (Although it is awkward that the World Cup won't visit the country's largest city, and won't have any games at the country's ahem National Soccer Stadium.) Also, lest we forget, Canada isn't the only country competing in this tournament. Most of the group matches, obviously, will be country A vs country B with Canada nowhere in the mix. Toronto as we've all seen, often to our dismay can muster up fan support for any country on Earth. Will Halifax be clamoring for Equatorial Guinea v Norway? Perhaps irrelevant to Canada's success in the tournament, but relevant to the tournament's success overall.

      Squizz: Alright, I'll grant you that, with the field expanded to 24 nations for the first time, there's a damn good chance that there'll be a lot of real stinker games that probably won't get the juices flowing. But then, who could have expected 11,500 in Victoria for Uruguay v. Zambia, or 26,000+ in Ottawa for Panama v. North Korea during the men's U20 World Cup in 2007? During that same tourney, New Zealand v. Gambia drew fewer than 12,000 to BMO Field. Not that I'm saying a match of that, ahem, "quality" should have drawn bigger, but the idea that any two soccer nations will instantly sell out in Toronto is fallacious.

      The crux of my "Mission Moncton" (or Sparkle Moncton, if you will) argument is that cities that aren't accustomed to hosting major sporting events will likely flock to them, unlike in Toronto where people can be complacent. Just look at the first event held at Stade Moncton. Who the hell knew that so many New Brunswickers cared about junior track and field?

      Jamie: "Sparkle Moncton," if you please.

      I'd be surprised if a match in Toronto didn't sell out, but that's a hypothetical. To change gears, here's another one: If Canada was up against real competition to host this tournament and submitted a bid that didn't include the largest city, do you think we would have won? I don't. Why? Because it's a bit embarrassing, if only because it shows that we're (the city, the CSA, the country whoever we all come off looking the same) prioritizing the Pam Am Games (the fucking Pan Am Games) ahead of the World Cup.

      As you mentioned, yes, Torontonians can watch the games on TV. So can people in Buffalo, or Berlin. You don't have to actually have a ticket to the game to enjoy the World Cup in your city surely the 2010 experience in Johannesburg wasn't limited to those inside the stadiums. In any host city, especially on game day around the stadium, you get all kinds of peripheral hoopla that involves a lot of people beyond just those with a seat for the game. That's how you grow the game with a tournament like this, experientially and financially.

      In southern Ontario, the tournament experience can reach hundreds of thousands of people (including kids from some of the country's biggest soccer clubs) over the course of a tournament; in Moncton, well.... In a Toronto with no hosted games the experience is lost: there's no players about, no foreign fans, none of the festival-ish crap (the "sparkle!"), no impetus to do anything other than sit at home and watch the game on TV.

      I don't mean to take away from Moncton or Halifax or anywhere else I'd love for a city in every province to get a piece of this but Toronto should be included. (And, from what I hear the CSA agrees with me, and they're pretty pissed with Tourism T.O. for skipping this.)

      Squizz: Tourism Toronto's lack of vision is neither here nor there, as far as we're concerned. And sure, in an alternate universe perhaps Toronto's absence from the bid may have hurt us; but the fact that we demolished any and all competition even without the country's largest city on board speaks pretty highly of our national capabilities, wouldn't you say? (And even if you wouldn't, I am.)

      Don't forget, Canada also gets to host the 2014 U20 Women's World Cup. You know you can't, in good faith, say that such a tournament wouldn't draw here, 'cause then I'd just predictably trot out the 60,000+ attendance in Edmonton in 2002 when we hosted the U19 World Cup. If Toronto being part of this bid is soooo important, then perhaps the CSA and Tourism Toronto could strike a deal to have U20 games played in the city, since there'd be no conceivable conflict with the Pan Am Games.

      Either way, wherever the games are played, I think we can agree that winning the bid is terrific news for Canadian soccer, yes?

      Jamie: Sure, Toronto may get U20 involvement, and it'll be great and all, but it's not same: the Confederations Cup ain't the World Cup. In the end, there's even the chance that something will be worked out after the fact, behind closed doors (in international soccer! Gasp!) and Toronto will have some kind of involvement in 2015. There's a lot of time between now and 2015, and there's too much money to be made (or not made) for Toronto not to realize their mistake and try to butt in.

      Until then I'm happily planning my trip to Montreal, Moncton, Moose Jaw wherever because, all gripes aside, this is a huge boost for Canadian soccer, and the most important thing is to get out and show support wherever the games are held.

      What do you think? Does it make a difference whether or not games are played in Toronto in 2015?
      .
      Comments 17 Comments
      1. Jamie's Avatar
        Jamie -
        Reading this, it occurs that I don't make it clear enough that, first and foremost, I'm thrilled that Canada will be hosting the World Cup. I'm not that big of a grump.

        This is a huge deal, and I'm proud that our girls will get to represent Canada on home soil; all arguments/nitpicks about the tournament are secondary to that.
      1. Diego's Avatar
        Diego -
        People are already framing this as an "Oh my, those whiny Torontonians thinking they're the centre of the universe..." issue which drives me freaking bonkers. An article was written in the Toronto star that said something along the lines of "You wouldn't have a world-class event in the Phillipines without Manila. Or in Argentina without Buenos Aires" which makes sense. Of course, 90% of the commenters decided to show off their Grade 8 geography and say "Dur, those be da CAPITAL cities so it's DIFFERENT."

        This isn't about spreading soccer to new places in Canada, which I agree is a good thing. Correct me if I'm wrong but we have 6 host cities and that's the minimum amount, no? I.e. There's no reason Toronto can't be added as an additional city. We're not saying take it away from Moncton. We're saying to market a major international event to the world as all across Canada and then say "Nah, we're not going to include Toronto, or any of the Golden Horseshoe for that matter" is ridiculous and to dismiss it as whiny Torontonians is simply ignorant.

        (Btw, Squizz's arguments are more logical and don't really fit into the attacks I'm fighting against here. Call this a pre-emptive strike I suppose
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Here's the story, men's pan-am soccer is going to be played anyways so I just don't see it as that big a deal.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Besides, upgrading the Moncton arena is the perfect thing to see a CFL and NASL franchise appear there.
      1. Tuscan's Avatar
        Tuscan -
        I think they really need to look into using the Rogers Center as the opening match stadium. An opening match for the WWC will draw enough people from not only the GTA, but across the country, that I could see it easily selling out that cavern. No, it isn't the greatest stadium to use for soccer, but BMO isn't large enough, plain and simple. The opening game will be a cash cow, everyone will be pumped, merch will sell like crazy, the CSA will rake in a profit unheard of for a single home fixture (especially for the Women's team).

        Despite the venue, let me tell you when the home crowd shows up pumped and ready to support like at the big Owe for the Impact vs. Santos Laguna, it is surreal and a genuine experience where you leave feeling like you were just part of something big. Imagine a sell-out at Rogers with a clear Canadian majority, everyone pulling for Big Red to run out an opening victory. Now THAT would be worth every penny, and should constitute the useage of Rogers.
      1. KSutton's Avatar
        KSutton -
        Squizz makes a good arguement. As much as I'd love an opportunity to see the WWC up close...moreso than the PA games; I understand why it might be for the best and why Toronto wasn't involved.
      1. Benjamin Massey's Avatar
        Benjamin Massey -
        No Canadian national team, men's or women's, senior or junior, has played a single game in this country west of the Canadian Shield since 2008 and there have only been two since we hosted the U-20 World Cup. This is completely fine and never worth even mentioning. Toronto opts out of a tournament. THE SKY IS FALLING! That's why Westerners mock you, Ontario.

        (Note: this whinge does not apply to this blog post, which was a well-written point-counterpoint which raised good points on both sides. This tournament would be better with Toronto involved than with Regina, with all love to the Queen City. But if it is in Regina rather than Toronto, that's not the end of the friggin' world.)
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        The City of Toronto apply to CSA to be host city. Why are we evening arguing this a mistake by the CSA? You can't force a city to participate in an event. But, I'll take the free advertising this is producing
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        @7:29 pm, it has nothing to do with the city and everything to do with the Pan-Am Games committee. They have contract for exclusive use of BMO during that time and there is no reason for the Pan-Am Games to have a competitor for eyeballs just before and/or during their games.
      1. elmateo's Avatar
        elmateo -
        This is stupidity on the part of the Pan-Am committee. Its not 'competition' but part of increasing the 'sports environment' in the city. Maybe it has something to do with corporate sponsors as well, but fuck them. To those who are labelling this 'centre of the universe' crap, I'm tired of this stupid argument - the GTA has 7 million people or 1/5th of this country's population. It's not about being the centre of the universe, it's economics and demographics.
      1. Diego's Avatar
        Diego -
        The problem all comes from Toronto feeling middle aged and settling. After somehow losing the 2008 Olympics to Beijing and with the 2010 Olympics being given to Vancouver, it was pretty clear Toronto wasn't getting the Olympics anytime soon. So we said "How about the PanAm games? SURELY, we can't lose THAT!" and settled for something entirely lame. Because of that, we'll be missing out on something cooler.

        To Unreg@7:29pm, nobody is arguing this is the CSA's fault. The only people you can really blame this on is the PanAm game organizers. Which is not very exciting since these people are just some abstract entity for us. So us complainers are pretty much just saying "This SUCKS. And kind of doesn't make sense. Somebody should do something about fixing all the problems." That's as far as we can logically go right now.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Hey Toronto, Wanna see a game in person? Drive to Ottawa. I drive to Toronto all the time to see cool shit that does come here. Suck it up.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Agree with 12:47 am comment. Ottawa is near enough. Besides, Toronto still sucked last time I was there and will always think of itself as the center of Canada's universe.

        Otherwise, this is good to send games to "the rest of Canada" for once.
      1. Califax's Avatar
        Califax -
        Got news for everyone. Toronto is the Center of Canada's Universe. And that's coming from a Halifax boy. I love how everyone takes issue this as open season on Toronto. Coming from out east, we rag on Toronto as much as the next guy, but westerners seem to actually get angry that they are not considered in the same class. That's why easterners look down on westerners, your always complaining how someone is getting more attention than you. We are all one country, grow up. Rant over.

        A lot of good points made here, 1 Toronto people can drive to Ottawa. 2 Toronto already supports a pro soccer team. This is a chance to get other cities to spring up soccer boners and it will be more helpful in the end. 3. Those cities will draw people out anyway without Toronto hosting 4. Toronto is hosting the Pan am games.

        I like the idea of having the opening match here, or maybe the Final but other than that, Toronto can take a break and let everyone else waive the flag for a month.
      1. Jamie's Avatar
        Jamie -
        Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
        Agree with 12:47 am comment. Ottawa is near enough. Besides, Toronto still sucked last time I was there and will always think of itself as the center of Canada's universe.

        Otherwise, this is good to send games to "the rest of Canada" for once.
        This isn't about self-centred Torontonians throwing a big tantrum cause the party's somewhere else. And I certainly don't think it's an issue of Toronto fans being willing to travel support for MNT matches, at least, across Canada pretty well always have a healthy Toronto contingent. I don't see why the WWC wouldn't draw the same interest.

        The debate here is intended to be purely about whether skipping Canada's biggest city (read: biggest market) is a good thing or a bad thing for the tournament and for the game of soccer in this country, all egos (and Toronto has plenty) aside.

        As for Ottawa, it's a great town; I was there last weekend and I'll be there in 2015.
      1. paul-collins's Avatar
        paul-collins -
        I think the media is more taken aback than the general population is. After all, THEY are largely in Toronto. (I'm not lumping CSN in there, I'm talking the mainstream)

        My guess is some sort of accommodation will be made in order to get a big match in Toronto (which means our National Soccer Stadium is too small, if the Germany stadia are any guideline), which means not only will Pan Am games have scheduling impacts, but so will the Blue Jays. Not an easy logistical problem to solve.
      1. Ottawa_TFC's Avatar
        Ottawa_TFC -
        Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
        Agree with 12:47 am comment. Ottawa is near enough. Besides, Toronto still sucked last time I was there and will always think of itself as the center of Canada's universe.

        Otherwise, this is good to send games to "the rest of Canada" for once.
        Are you joking??... Man, I'm from Ottawa and if it wasn't for the great job I have here, I'd choose Toronto over Ottawa anyday. Ottawa closes after six. The people are bland and theirs really one of the most boring MAJOR cities I've ever lived in. Not sure what Ottawa you live in.

        So Toronto "sucked" last time you were their, where the heck were you? Burlington?... Ottawan's try to compare Kanata to Misssisauga... Kanata is PART OF OTTAWA. It is served by OC Transpo and they don't even have their own Mayor.... Missisauga is a completely separate city... that's the Ottawa world view.

        Toronto is in a different stratesphere compared to Ottawa. My biggest petpeeve is that most Ottawan's have never actually LIVED in a real city, so there world view of cities revolve around Ottawa. Close friend of mine lived in Shanghai for a year, a city with 20 million people, and he's divides different sections of Shanghai using Ottawa as a reference (That's the Kanata of Shanghai, or the a given Subway station is "like Hurdeman bus station")

        Every time I go to Toronto, at any given time, I can find a hundred awesome things to do a short subway ride or TRAM ride away. In Ottawa, if we digged deep, we might find something fun to do (IE: Ottawa Oktoberfest), but its not like we have much choice and with no real transit system (no subway), its a drag to get anywhere unless you own a car.

        The successful U-20 at Lansdown aside, there's only ONE BAR in downtown Ottawa that carries Setanta Sport's and that's Georgetown. Ottawa barely has a soccer spectator culture here. Toronto's random outpouring of pride, culture and party during the World Cup? Doesn't happen in Ottawa. Not even in Little Italy unless its the finals.

        Don't get me wrong, I think the NEW Lansdown would be a great Venue for the Women's World Cup, but if it were a choice between Ottawa or Toronto as the ideal city to host a match, skipping Toronto is a mistake.

        8 million people or 1/4 of Canada's population is within an HOUR from Toronto. So skipping Toronto and Southern Ontario in general makes this 3/4 Canada World Cup rather than ALL OF CANADA!

        Skipping Ottawa and their 700 000 residents? That's barely puts a dent in Canada's 32 million residents... SUBURBAN Missisauga has more people than Ottawa
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