• Going in a new direction

      Today marks a turn in course for myself and my role in helping grow Canadian soccer.

      When we started Canadian Soccer News five years ago (actually I can't remember when we started CSN - it feels like it's always just been here now) the intent was to fill the gap in the next to nothing soccer coverage in this country.

      To take it back even further, when we launched the Itís Called Football podcast, one mainstream media site was covering soccer regularly, a paper here or there and it was still hard to find something that resembled selection when watching EPL games on Saturday mornings.

      Today, every major paper in the country covers the game, television contracts domestic and abroad are sought after and to put it in perspective, the Canadian womenís team drew a television audience of 250,000 earlier this year for their rematch game against the USA. Not bad, eh? Emphasis on the eh.

      The other intent to starting CSN was to ensure that a group of writers got on, got exposure and got out. Iím proud of the fact that all of the writers that started with CSN have moved on to bigger and better things - permanently or part-time, they've become the mainstream voices people look to. Iím convinced thatís a trend that will continue with the writers here.

      Today though, Iím stepping back from CSN, to do the same ó but in a different sense.

      I feel like what I set out to do in soccer journalism Ė help give the domestic game a voice, draw attention to our national teams and the problems that plagued them and instill a sense of pride in the idea of Support Local Ė have been accomplished. If Iím being truthful, those are goals that were probably met at least two years ago.

      Additionally, from a personal perspective on what soccer journalism would bring, if I stayed in this lane, I donít think Iíd find myself topping the matchfixing story. And I don't mind saying, in part my decision was made so that I don't have to carry that bullseye anymore.

      However, I do expect to put bookend on that in the coming months. CBC nominated the Fix the CSL documentary for this springís Canadian Screen Awards and as Iíve been hinting for some time, there is one more story to tell from that investigation. Actually, itís more like 10 stories rolled into one.

      Those will come when they come. Right now, I need a new challenge. And thatís why Iíve accepted a job at the Ontario Soccer Association.

      In large part, what lays ahead there in the next couple years offers an opportunity for myself to make a real difference in the grassroots of this game. With the launch of the semi-pro League 1, to the further rolling out of OPDL, to their coming governance reform, Ontario Ė and provincial soccer Ė is going through a real regenesis. Itís something I want to be apart of and will offer real challenge.

      CSN will continue on as it always has. Michael McColl and Daniel Squizzato will pick up where I leave off. Michael will handle soccer in the West. And if youíve been following the growth of him and his team youíll know that theyíre a crew set to collectively break out. Squizz will handle helping writers in the East. And if you follow his work for MLSsoccer.com, you know he is the next writer about to find his trajectory turn up.

      There are other promising new writers coming on in the spring. And after speaking with Duane Rollins last night, you can expect the return of the Itís Called Football podcast under a new banner in 2014. He's itching to get it back. If it wasn't for me being eternally sidetracked by the fixing, it would have been back long ago.

      So, thatís it. For now. Thank you for your support. I love this community. And I hope you will continue to support the many talented writers here. Promote them and help them get their name up and out.

      And if youíre still looking for a better description of how Iím feeling today, this video should sum it up:

      Comments 22 Comments
      1. Bill Spiers's Avatar
        Bill Spiers -
        Congratulations, Ben.

        I'm sure I'll run into you at 7601 Martingrove some time in the New Year.
      1. Ben Rycroft's Avatar
        Ben Rycroft -
        Look forward to it Bill
      1. Simon B's Avatar
        Simon B -
        Best of luck.
      1. carnifex2005's Avatar
        carnifex2005 -
        Grats Ben! I've followed this site from day one and always enjoyed your work. Hopefully you can fight the good fight for helping the next generation of soccer players meet their potential.
      1. mowe's Avatar
        mowe -
        Good luck in your new role, Ben. I will be rooting for you.
      1. nello's Avatar
        nello -
        Good to have the right people in the thick of things. Thanks Ben. make us proud.
      1. peter3's Avatar
        peter3 -
        Congratulations, Ben. I think most people who follow these things would agree that the OSA will benefit from having a knowledgeable news media pro helping with their communications. Sounds like a win all around.

        Best of luck.
      1. TheatreRed's Avatar
        TheatreRed -
        Congratulations, Ben. All the best, and thank you for everything.
      1. adrenaline11's Avatar
        adrenaline11 -
        This could've been said many times about CSN but today, you can rightfully and truthfully say that you have a man on the inside.

        Congrats Ben. If your writing is any indication, I know that you will try to make everything you do open and transparent to the public.
      1. McGuire's Avatar
        McGuire -
        All the best to you have appreciated your efforts here
      1. Fort York Redcoat's Avatar
        Fort York Redcoat -
        All the best, Ben! Can't wait to see what's in store!
      1. Saber1989's Avatar
        Saber1989 -
        Another great writer that I've enjoyed reading, all the best
      1. ray.'s Avatar
        ray. -
        From one important soccer role to another. Thanks for your efforts, Ben. You've made a difference in Canadian soccer and I'm sure that will continue.
      1. Doyle's Avatar
        Doyle -
        Congrats Ben. Canadian soccer owes you a debt. And thanks for giving me a platform to faff on about soccer--it's served me well. All the best in the new gig.
      1. levyasin's Avatar
        levyasin -
        Congratulations are in order!!
        This is and will be in the future a place to give and get good reporting .
      1. Initial B's Avatar
        Initial B -
        Good luck Ben. I'm sorry to see you go, but you can effect real change at the OSA, so go and reform the governing structure into something that can make us proud. Give Mr. Smale my regards and work at getting rid of the petty regionalism that is holding back the sport in this province.
      1. Brad Fougere's Avatar
        Brad Fougere -
        Have you decided to come back yet?
      1. Brad Fougere's Avatar
        Brad Fougere -
        What about now?
      1. Brad Fougere's Avatar
        Brad Fougere -
        Now?
      1. Brad Fougere's Avatar
        Brad Fougere -
        Hmmm....
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