Duane Rollins

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Duane Rollins last won the day on February 1 2016

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  1. And the journey never really ends. If Canada loses today – and they are far more likely to lose than they are going to win – then all that means is that we have to listen to drive-by reports about how horrible we are and how everything is hopeless and we should probably just fold the men’s programs. So, like a Tuesday. Whatever. The reality is most of us will just google when men’s u-20 qualifying starts and get back to arguing with each other on the Voyageurs board. But, if we win… Man. One day it will happen (maybe) and it will be a hell of a night. In the meantime we’ll just keep on keepin’ on with the understanding that we’ve already seen the bottom and still came back to watch Kyle Bekker play Denmark in Arizona. Enjoy the game and keep some aspirin on the bedside table. U-20 qualifying starts February 17, by the way.
  2. CSA General Secretary Peter Montopoli confirmed the transition process to CSN over the phone the day after Montagliani was elected President of CONCACAF. He has one year to resign his position as CSA president according to CONCACAF bylaws. Montopoli said that there is not yet a timetable in place for Montagliani to step aside. Once he does, CSA Vice President Steve Reed will take over the position on an interim basis until the election takes place. However, there will be a democratic process to determine who will finish out Montagliani’s term, which has nearly four full years remaining. Montopoli said that he did not anticipate any change in direction by the CSA during the interim period, stressing that Reed works closely with Montagliani now.
  3. Canada will be anticipating the El Salvador clash to be something momentous on the line as Benito’s squad looks to secure its spot in the final round of the World Cup qualifiers in the CONCACAF area also known as the Hexagonal. Prior to the September 6th home game, Les Rouges must come with a win from a tough trip to the Honduras on Friday, September 2nd. Addressing the CSA press conference in downtown Vancouver on Friday morning, Benito not only talked about the hilarious support his team received during the Mexico and Honduras qualifiers but also the environmental factors as reasons for playing the Group A schedule at the BC Place. We decided to continue playing in Vancouver since firstly when we were victorious against Honduras; we got tremendous support from our fans. It also started to nature an excellent feeling about the team and the fans, Floro commented. We faced off with Mexico, and the stadium was full. That support was imperative for us as they were helping us in that match as well. We require two things to resonate this support and also the continuous adoption of our game in this special stadium which is vital for us. I love the BMO Field in Toronto however; sometimes it’s very windy thus making it very hard to play. Our players are not well exposed to such conditions. Hence, they lack the experience of playing in windy conditions. Therefore, it is crucial for us to play in Vancouver since the stadium is covered. Despite the majority ratifying that Vancouver has earned the right of hosting the El Salvador qualifier, there are complaints from the media and fans alike that other Canadian markets are being alienated when it comes to hosting men’s national team games. Like Benito, the CSA president Victor Montagliani is keen to ensure that Canada’s national team appears in all the stadium across the country, whether it’s friendly matches or the World Cup qualifiers in the Hexagonal in the near future. “You have to view it in two ways, from both a qualifying and a friendly point of view,” Montagliani said. We are considering to increase playing more friendlies on FIFA dates here in Canada since I am of the opinion that it’s paramount for our fans to witness our men’s national team as they have our women’s national team. Logistically, it is harder to get the full men’s national team together since all the players are internationally based. However, I think it is incumbent for us as we move on to play in all the venues across Canada from a friendly point of view. When it comes to qualifying for the World Cup, it is not about sharing the love but about the home victory. If the technical staff believes that a certain Canadian marketplace is suitable for the match, then that’s where we will probably go. Paid content
  4. Sponsored content Last month, the Canadian team drew close to 55,000 fans at BC Place in Vancouver for the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers match. This was the largest attendance total for any national team sport event in Canada’s history. The Rio 2016 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament will be held in August as the team heads out to Rio de Janeiro for matches. Canada will open on August 3 with a match against Australia and will also face off against Germany and Zimbabwe. Coach John Herdman is hoping to see that all the players on the side will continue to grow and mature. He is looking forward to watching some of the younger players on the team develop. Canada is hoping to advance upon the bronze medal it won in London in 2012. This was the first team medal for a Canadian team in the summer Olympics since 1936. The team will have two matches in June, one in Toronto and one in Ottawa, in the Road to Rio International Series. The matches on June 4 and 7 will feature the team taking on Brazil. Canada already has eight wins in ten international matches in this calendar season. The competition for Canada will go well beyond the Olympics. On September 6, the Canadian team will head to Vancouver to face El Salvador in the CONCACAF semi-final. Matches with these two and Honduras will determine who will join Mexico in the CONCACAF Final. Canada will be on the road before the match with El Salvador. They will take on Honduras on September 2 in San Pedro Sula. Canada has plenty of points but their goal differential is worse than what Honduras has. Mexico has already clinched a spot in the final for leading in the group. Many of the matches that the Canadians will be involved in will be on TSN and RDS. The Road to Rio series will be aired on these stations as well as the Amway Canadian Championship series. RDS will still air Impact Montreal FC matches. On the men’s side, the Amway Canadian Championship series will continue to offer some great matches with teams like the Vancouver Whitecaps, Ottawa Fury, FC Edmonton, Impact Montreal FC and Toronto FC competing to be the best men’s soccer team in the country. The matches will take place in June. Home and away legs will be played in the finals as Vancouver will take in either Ottawa or Edmonton and Montreal will face Toronto to see who will get into the finals.
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  7. Daniel Lovitz has recovered from the concussion suffered on opening day in New York. Jonathan Osorio will likely be available for selection after picking up a knee strain prior to the defeat against Sporting Kansas City last time out. If so, Grey Vanney will have a full squad to pick from for the first this season. Colorado is also 1-1-1 after three games. In that time, Toronto have four goals to the Rapid’s two but Colorado has still registered more shots on target (40 to 34). This is largely due to the pragmatic approach TFC have taken on the road so expect them to line up sitting deep, look to take advantage on the counter. Despite the satisfactory points tally from the first three of the eight road games the Reds will play before the home opener at BMO Field on May 7, it’s been a question of what might have been. If contentious refereeing decisions in each game had gone the other way, Greg Vanney’s side could be sitting pretty at the top of the Eastern Division. Particularly grating to TFC fans, Brad Davis’s winner for Kansas City came on the back of what many saw as a foul on Reds defender Justin Morrow, not called by referee Baldomero Toledo. Ismail Elfath will take change of the whistle this weekend. Colorado will be without their Designated Player Kevin Doyle. The Republic of Ireland striker suffered a gruesome leg injury on international duty against Switzerland that could keep him out for up to seven matches. Fellow DP Shkelzen Gashi is also a doubt for the Rapids with a minor calf injury picked up in training with the Albanian national team. Marco Pappa and Michael Bradley will face off in midfield for the third time in nine days after the United States and Guatemala split a two game World Cup qualifier series. In last year’s only meeting between the sides, Toronto came out on top, winning 3-1 at BMO Field in September. Projected Line-ups Toronto: C.Irwin, D.Moor, D.Perquis, S.Beitashour, J.Morrow, M.Delgado, M.Bradley, W.Johnson, T.Endoh, S.Giovinco, J.Altidore Colorado Rapids: Z.MacMath, M,Williams, J.Watts, A.Sjöberg, M.Burch; M.Azira, S.Cronin, D.Badji, D.Powers, M.Pappa L.Solignac Referee: Ismail Elfath Broadcast: TSN2
  8. There is no obvious reason for that. Maybe I’m a glory hunter (stay with me here)? I first started to really absorb sports through my own eyes in the mid-1980s. I can still recall being absolutely transfixed watching the Los Angeles Olympics as Canada won medal after medal. My childish mind didn’t realize that the reason Canada was doing so well was because a boycott had weakened the field considerably. No, it just loved watching Canada win. When the games ended I wanted to watch Canada win more so I would seek out TV coverage of sports that most kids my age had little to know interest in in. The only requirement was that the red and white were involved. That brings us to that faithful day in 1985 when I saw a Canadian soccer team on my television. This was perfect -- my English meeting my Canadian. Obviously I watched. Canada beat Honduras 1-0. You may be familiar with the game in question. Yes, I started at the top. And now I’m here. It’s been an interesting journey. As my friend Daniel Squizzato has written, emotionally attaching yourself to the plight of 11 men or women chasing a ball in short pants is completely and totally irrational. It has no real meaning. The result of a game cannot significantly make a difference in your day to day life. It has no tangible value. Except that it does. Caring about something – and that something doesn’t have to be sports for everyone that’s just the focus here – is what gives life value. Perspective is required, of course, but we should never question how much richer our lives are for being part of the community that has decided to emotionally invest in Canadian soccer. This point was driven home to me this week when I received news that a dear friend had passed away. That may seem strange to some that a death would make me appreciate something like soccer more – the accepted narrative is to say that death drives home the frivolity of all but the most basic things – but what it’s made me realize is that the value of life is living it. Jason wasn’t a soccer fan. He’d probably think it a bit odd of me to eulogize him on a soccer web site, actually. What Jay was, however, was someone who was passionate, who believed in the importance of community and family and who was always positive, even when things seemed bleak. Sounds a lot like the Voyageurs, eh? I’m a better person for having known him and I’m a better person for having found a community of likeminded people that have decided to care about something. By the time you read this there is every chance that the game will be over. There is also every chance that Canada will not have gotten the result that we wanted them to get. However, there is no chance that we will have lost. Lost the game, sure. But, truly lost? Nah, we won when we took the journey. Allez les Rouge
  9. GK- Marco Carducci | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC* GK- James Pantemis | CAN / FC Montréal CB- Marko Aleksic | CAN / FC Edmonton* CB- Liam Fraser | CAN / Toronto FC II CB- Thomas Meilleur Giguère | CAN / FC Montréal CB- Fikayo Tomori | ENG / Chelsea FC FB- Gabriel Boakye | CAN / Unattached FB- Kadin Chung | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps 2 FB- Marcus Godinho | CAN / Unattached M- Tristan Borges | NED / sc Heerenveen M- Marco Bustos | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC* M- Alphonso Davies | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps 2 M- Marco-Leonel Dominguez | CAN / FC Montréal* M- Duwayne Ewart | USA / Pittsburgh Riverhounds M- Shamit Shome | CAN / FC Edmonton M- Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla | CAN / FC Montréal M- Luca Uccello | CAN / Toronto FC II F- Jordan Hamilton | CAN / Toronto FC* F- Dario Zanatta | SCO / Heart of Midlothian FC The most interesting player on the roster is likely 15-year old Alphonso Davies. With the Whitecaps 2, via Edmonton, he's eligible for the next two cycles having been born in 2000. Dario Zanatta has also been turning a lot of heads at Hearts in Scotland and might be in line for a look at the senior level soon. There's no word on whether there will be television or streaming options for the game.
  10. (Chivas USA and the MetroBulls, if you are looking for the answer to the trivia question). It could be argued that Vanney still has his job only because of that dismal record. If the Reds had made sensible hiring/firing decisions all along the way then new president Bill Manning would have been justified in canning him. It's likely only the newly found commitment to "stability" that saved him. The season ended terribly, after all. He seemed paralyzed to make adjustments to his tactics and if Seba Giovinco wasn’t producing magic TFC wasn’t winning. That was compounded by poor buying decisions, highlighted by Ahmed Kantari, who was historically poor even by TFC’s disastrous standards. Compounding things even further was the bad taste left in fan’s mouths after being blown out by a rival in the playoffs. TFC fans are notorious for being resilient – this club has done things that few fan bases would have put up with yet TFC's support remains among the biggest in MLS. However, everyone has a breaking point. Fan cynicism creeps in more and more each year and losing to Montreal like they did was just about enough to convince many that TFC was not heading in the right direction despite the “historic” playoff berth. So, no one would have blinked if Vanney had been fired, especially if he had been replaced by Manning's former coach at Salt Lake, Jason Kreis. Manning admitted that the thought had crossed his mind. He called the playoff performance embarrassing and fired a warning shot across the bow of the S.S. ThatsSoTFC. Manning didn’t spell it out directly, but the implication was clear – if the team started poorly in 2016 he would be making changes. He even put a specific point total out there – eight points on the eight game road trip to open the season. It’s probably worth pointing out that Kreis is currently living off City Football Group’s money while doing busy work for MLSSoccer.com. It’s a short flight from Manhattan to Toronto. He still might end up making that flight, but Vanney is already half way to the eight point target. A 2-0 win in week one against the Red Bulls was followed up by a cagey 2-2 draw with NYCFC in the second. The Reds sit just two points off the top of the conference without having played a home game. You would think that they might fall a bit off that pace in the weeks ahead, but you’d also assume that it should be easy enough to find four more points against Sporting KC, Colorado, New England, D.C. United, Montreal and Portland. Hell, Giovinco will probably win one of those games on his own. What’s even more promising about the results so far, however, is the way that they’ve been had. Whether it was an off-season coaching epiphany, or if the addition of new players is allowing Vanney more tactical flexibility, the bottom line is that he is simply better in 2016 than he was in 2015. Vanney completely out coached Jesse Marsch in week one, forcing the Red Bulls away from the favoured tactics and keeping a lid on the freelance tendencies of Michael Bradley. It wasn’t pretty, but the three points were fully deserved, despite playing most of the game without the ball (by design, it should be stressed). The second trip to New York did start poorly, but what followed ended up being even more impressive for Vanney. He proved that he could change directions mid-game, something that many thought he was incapable of. After the second New York goal (the one that shouldn’t have counted, but never mind that) the game was controlled by TFC. The tying goal seemed inevitable all second half and if Will Johnson had finished either of his point blank chances (or if the ref wasn’t having a howler, but never mind that) TFC’s nice little road point would have been three. It hasn’t all been Vanney, of course. Johnson and Jonathon Osorio are working brilliantly together (*cough* Benito *cough*) and Giovinco is already the favourite to repeat as MVP with two goals and two assists in the books (spectacularly for Canada fans, Cyle Larin might be a contender as well). However, a lot of the credit does have to go to the coach. Very few people saw that coming. Fewer still will be upset if it continues.
  11. Rookie Tsubasa Endoh was the standout performer for the Reds, winning the penalty for Sebastian Giovinco’s go ahead goal and putting in an impressively energetic shift on the right hand side of Toronto’s attack. He will almost certainly start against new coach Patrick Vieira’s troops, with Jozy Altidore unlikely to recover from the hamstring injury picked up in pre-season. The opening day win wasn’t pretty but all of Toronto’s off-season signings, including Will Johnson, Drew Moor, Steven Beitashour and Clint Irwin were solid in the defensive display. TFC coach Grey Vanney is unlikely to make changes, with Marky Delgado for Daniel Lovitz the only potential switch, the latter having a low-key game before being replaced by Delgado, who sealed maximum points with a last minute goal in Harrison. The victory over the Red Bulls, last season’s Supporters Shield winners, will send TFC into Sunday’s game at Yankee stadium with confidence they can repeat the trick against a team that hasn’t addressed its defensive weaknesses from last season. While dangerous going forward against the Chicago Fire on MLS opening day, New York City FC conceded sloppy goals but came out on the right side of a 4-3 thriller. Andrea Pirlo continues to suffer from a similar issue as Steven Gerrard at LA Galaxy - playing in a deep lying creative midfield role but lacking the legs to provide adequate defensive cover. Sunday’s game will be the first at home for Vieira, the former Arsenal midfield general, who must juggle his desire to play attractive football in the way he was schooled under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger and the physical and high paced demands of MLS. Captain David Villa will continue to lead the line for the New Yorkers in front of the long-haired pairing of Thomas McNamara and Mix Diskerud, both of whom had strong showings in the curtain raiser in Chicago. DP Frank Lampard remains sidelined with a calf injury. Projected Line-ups Toronto: C.Irwin, D.Moor, D.Perquis, S.Beitashour, J.Morrow, W.Johnson, M.Bradley, D.Lovitz, J.Osorio, S.Giovinco, T.Endoh New York City FC: J.Saunders, E.White, F.Brilliant, J.Hernandez, R.Matarrita, T.McNamara, M.Diskerud, A.Pirlo, T.Taylor, K.Shelton, D.Villa Referee: Alan Kelly
  12. However, the Reds’ arsenal has been boosted with off-season trades for four MLS stand-outs in goalkeeper Clint Irwin, midfielder Will Johnson and defenders Steven Beitashour and Drew Moor. All are expected to start against New York’s team in red. A revamped defence will be complemented once again by 2015 MVP and Golden Boot winner, Sebastian Giovinco. The diminutive Italian scored four goals in a preseason schedule that saw TFC post a 1-1-1 record in matchups with full MLS sides. The game at Red Bull Arena will be the first of eight consecutive road games for TFC, as renovations are completed at BMO Field in Toronto, ready for a curtain raising on May 7 against FC Dallas. When asked Wednesday about the chances of U.S. National Team striker Altidore being ready for Sunday’s opener, Toronto FC Coach Greg Vanney said “We’re not going to risk him in a situation where we don’t feel he’s 100 percent ready. We want to be cautious at this point,” Lead by top scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips, Red Bulls are among the favourites to win the east. They were 2015 Supporters Shield winners and Eastern Conference Finalists, where they lost out to the Columbus Crew. Despite losing star centre-half Matt Miazga to Chelsea, Luis Robles, Lloyd Sam and Dax McCarty all signed new contracts in the off-season and Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch will hope that stability will make up for any lack of headline grabbing signings. "We’ve made a concerted effort to keep this team together," Marsch said preseason. "Everybody feels that the group that we have is a good one and that is the main emphasis of where we are as a team and as a club. Projected Line-ups Toronto: C.Irwin, D.Moor, D.Perquis, S.Beitashour, J.Morrow, B.Cheyrou, W.Johnson, M.Bradley, J.Osorio, S.Giovinco, T.Endoh New York Red Bulls: L.Robles, S.Zizzo, G.Baah, R.Zubar, K.Lawrence, M.Grella, D.McCarty, F.Martins, S.Kljestan, L.Sam, B.Wright Phillips Broadcast: TSN4
  13. So what followed was a bit depressing for the Impact. Rather than winning a championship, Montreal limped to one of the worst finishes in its history. It was a forgettable season with only two wins in the first 17 games. Although things ended much better, with Montreal among the best teams in the league over the last 10 weeks (7 wins), the Impact failed to make the playoffs. This is what’s been going through my head as this season of expectations starts. Of late, the Impact have disappointed when they were supposed to excite and excited when they were supposed to disappoint. Not much was expected in the second MLS season and they made the playoffs. Much was expected in the third and they were the worst team in the league. Then they made the CCL final… It’s a trend. And a worrisome one for the Impact fan because this is the “bad” year of the trend and a year that started with the whole "will he or won’t he" situation with Didier Drogba. Ah, Drogba. One doesn’t want to entirely focus on Drogba when talking about the Impact in 2016 but it’s hard not to. Like it or not, he is what makes an average MLS team potentially great. If he plays with passion like he did in 2015 then maybe the Impact break the pattern of good-bad-good…but if he has one leg back in London then maybe the season ends in disappointment. Like it or not, 2016 is the Season of Drogba in Montreal. Maybe it’s the optimist in me that thinks that Drogba will be a force again. He’s an athlete that has always played with pride and it’s hard to imagine that he will want to end his career on a sour note. With teams like Chicago and Philadelphia in the East the Impact should be able to make the playoffs without much effort even without Drogba (you’d hope, anyway) so what’s important will be how they end the year, not start – so, he can rest when needed and not play on turf until August. Then another sprint to the finish line. Since coming into MLS the Impact have failed to reach the heights they had in the second division. It’s time to change that. It’s time to break the pattern and believe in the possibilities. And it all starts Sunday in Vancouver! William Tremblay-Gagnon will write on the Impact in 2016 in his column Making an Impact
  14. CSA president Victor Montagliani appeared on Toronto’s Fan 590’s Prime Time Sports yesterday, where he said that there would be a meeting with MLS commissioner Don Garber within the “next month” that would address the contentious issue of Canadians as domestics league-wide. Currently Canadian players are considered international players in the United States, while American players count towards the domestic quota while playing in Canada. MLS has maintained that there are legal reasons for the inconsistency. Montagliani said that the CSA’s legal position is that the laws MLS points to are not as black and white as they are made out to be. In short, the CSA believes that it is legally possible for Canadians to be counted as domestics in the United States. Regardless, Montagliani stressed that he believed that a “diplomatic” solution to the dispute was the best course of action and said that the CSA had been working on just that with US stakeholders for the last three years. He also stressed that he felt that “we are at a watershed moment where action is needed now.” Montagliani was also asked about the Canadian Premier League project. He again confirmed that the CSA was talking to investors about creating an “inclusive solution” with current professional teams to create more professional opportunities in Canada. On note, he made reference to the possibility of those opportunities coming in “cross border leagues that we control.” Outside of the earliest reporting on the CanPL where the possibility of a partnership with the NASL to create a “Canadian conference” was suggested, that was the first suggestion that anything other than a Canadian only option was being considered.
  15. Even in the Canadian soccer community the instinct today was to treat the news as something not terribly serious. On Twitter, a hashtag called #MakeCONCACAFCanadian was started where people suggested that in future “bribes will now be accepted in Canadian Tire Money,” fans would be required to yell "POUTINE!" on goal kicks and that the act of receiving two yellows in a game would be now referred to as a “Double-Double,” among many other suggestions. Funny stuff, but it betrays just how serious Montagliani’s bid is and how important it could be to the future of Canadian soccer. To the former point, while Montagliani may not be well known in Canada, he is a well-respected figure in the region. He is CONCACAF’s representative on FIFA’s 2016 Reform Committee and the push for him to run was coming almost equally from outside Canada’s borders as it was from within. As a Canadian, he has the ability to relate to both the confederation’s biggest nations, but also understands how imposing Mexico and the USA’s presence in CONCACAF can be. To borrow an old political term, he has the “middle power” advantage that Lester B Pearson used to win himself a Nobel Prize (and, you know, negotiate peace in the Suez Canal in 1956). CONCACAF members realize that they need to elect a President that can start to repair the damage its reputation has suffered over the last year. Electing a Canadian would be seen as safe. Beyond that, as stated, Montagliani has also shown to be effective in the confederation in helping to bring opposing sides together on policy. He’s a pragmatic leader that understands that change can sometimes come in intermittent steps. That’s how he’s approached governance reform in Canada (which hasn’t been as fast to change as many would like) and it’s likely what would be needed to reform CONCACAF -- a slow, steady hand that can prioritize the most important needs and keep people moving in the right direction. All of this is why he was encouraged to run by a great deal of people in Canada and beyond. It was a decision that, CSN was told, he didn’t take lightly. Montagliani’s reluctance was mostly rooted in a belief that he still has a lot of work here in Canada and wanting to be sure that he could do both jobs (he will remain CSA President if he wins). Obviously, you can never quite tell what will happen in an election like this. However, make no mistake, this is a serious candidacy. Montagliani has a good chance of winning. Some have even told CSN that he’s the front runner. But, how important would Montagliani winning be to Canadian soccer? It’s difficult to pinpoint specific reasons it would be (outside of the reasons that the previous men were arrested for and that Montagliani has pledged to flush out of the game), but political influence at the highest levels of the game is something that Canada has never really had. Beyond the direct day to day voice the country would finally have at the adult's table, Montagliani would also gain political capital that may one day influence other countries in the region to support Canada in initiatives that benefit Canadian soccer. The most obvious “initiative” of interest to Canada is the 2026 World Cup bid. In his platform released today, Montagliani identified “(d)evising a strategy to ensure the 2026 World Cup is hosted in the CONCACAF region” as a main objective. To be clear, Montagliani will need to remove himself from directly being involved in the decision of what CONCACAF country will be supported in that bid. However, it seems unlikely that the possibility that he might be able to gain support for Canada’s bid by doing an effective job leading the confederation in a difficult time didn't cross his mind. At the very least, he can be front and centre in promoting the region as the best choice to host 2026. If CONCACAF is the accepted host, then Canada’s chances are vastly improved over what they would be in a worldwide bid. Without significant reform in CONCACAF, it’s entirely possible that the FIFA voters will shy away from the region in 2026, despite the fact it will be the region that’s gone the longest without hosting. So, he has lots of reasons to think that doing a good job as President will have all kinds of spill on effects. Beyond the biggest prize, many of Montagliani’s priorities speak to narrowing the gap between the haves and have nots in CONCACAF. Part of that will be designed to gain support among the smallest nations, but many of the initiatives are needed in Canada too. A change in the political climate to allow for those types of progressive changes will benefit everyone, including Canada. That's great, some might think, but why should the average Canadian fan care? What might be most refreshing about a Canadian seeking this position is that it demonstrates an ambition that has long been lacking in this sport in Canada. In the past, many here were satisfied in being the biggest fish in this country’s tiny pond of a soccer community. Of course, not everyone responds positively to ambition. In fact, ambition often rubs people the wrong way – by its nature it’s not completely selfless. A big part of ambition is to better your own position and we tend to chop the head off of those who stick it too far above the crowd – but the utter lack of it has been the most defining aspect of the CSA for generations and arguably one of the biggest reasons the country has slipped so far in the sport. Under Montagliani, the CSA has turned that lack of ambition on its head by hosting a Women’s World Cup, preparing to launch a professional league and, now, seeking the highest office in the confederation. The ambition may also end up landing, in 2026, what would have been a truly unthinkable prize only a few years ago. The instinct to assume the worst about the CSA is strong in Canada. Sack the CSA is still the default position of many, with an assumption that the leadership doesn’t care about the country’s global position. That idea doesn’t really stand up to much scrutiny. You can question the approach the CSA is taking – maybe you think there are bigger priorities than landing a men’s World Cup – but it’s awfully difficult to suggest the CSA isn’t outward looking at the current time, based on the evidence at hand. To be clear, no one is suggesting the CSA has been fixed of all the issues that caused the black hole of despair we are only now beginning to emerge from. That would be naive and more than a little unfair to those who remain skeptical. However, it’s equally unfair to suggest that nothing has changed. As stated, the biggest change of all is likely the ambition behind things like Montagliani seeking the CONCACAF Presidency. It says here that it’s OK to celebrate that ambition, while maintaining a critical eye overall. Montagliani’s key platform goals are as follows: 1. How the region will continue to grow participation in football, and to deepen our organizational capacity; 2. How the region can promote and grow the development of women’s football; 3. How the region can create more opportunities to play in professional environments, when 75% of CONCACAF members don’t have professional leagues; 4. Devising a strategy to ensure the 2026 World Cup is hosted in the CONCACAF region; 5. How we can create consistent development, both commercially and on the field, ensuring development doesn’t happen unevenly which left unchecked has the potential to become immutable, turning the region into a guild of football elites and perennial also rans; 6. How we aggregate and leverage our collective commercial assets; 7. How we establish centers of coaching and refereeing excellence for CONCACAF; and 8. How we can guarantee the sustainability of our competitions both commercially and on the field.