Jump to content
  • Sign in to follow this  

    Believing in the possible

    Duane Rollins

    When the news was finally confirmed it was no longer news. More than two years after CSN first reported that Canada was working towards its own league, current CSA president Victor Montagliani out right confirmed it on Red Card Radio last week.

    "The league is a go," was how he simply put it. 

    Two days ago, the Halifax regional council released a document that detailed plans for the creation of said new Canadian league.

    August 2018 was listed as the start date, with a May 2017 announcement suggested.

    As someone who was accused of making all this up two years ago allow me this single indulgence:


    Alright, now that that's out of the way let's instead focus on just how important this confirmation is. Simply put, it is the single most important accomplishment of the CSA in 31 years -- bigger than bringing WWC 2015 here, bigger than the 2007 U20 World Cup and much bigger than helping get MLS established in the nation. Make no mistake, all of those things mattered. There is no CanPL without them. They laid the groundwork that created an environment that allowed the CSA to even dare to dream of something so outlandish as starting our own league.

    When Canada landed the 2007 U20s -- around the time Christine Sinclair was introducing herself to the nation at the also important 2002 women's U19 event -- the idea of a national league was dead in the water. The CSL had failed and with it any chance of ever having top flight soccer in this country was seemingly buried with it. Even the idea of having a single MLS team seemed far-fetched (partly because no one was betting on MLS lasting long-term either).

    But, a new generation of Canadians was starting to enter their peak spending years and the older generation -- the generation that thinks soccer is a commie sport, mostly -- was starting to lose its grip on power. Suddenly, the Gen Xers and the generation that we now call millennials were to be paid attention to and that generation didn't have the same hang ups about soccer that their parents and grandparents did. They grew up playing the sport in the boom years of the 1980s and '90s and then later in their living rooms in video game form (make no mistake. EA Sports has played a vital role in popularizing soccer in North America).

    Those young(er) fans packed bars, pubs and cafes every two years to watch the World Cup and Euros. Still, the older generation said that they would never watch the game outside of those big tournaments. It's just a party, something to do while waiting for the NHL season to start again, the grumpy boomers said.   

    Except those same fans were starting to buy Juve, Manchester United and Real Madrid strips and show up at all hours of the day to watch European games.

    Yeah, but they won't support teams from here, grunted the talk radio shock jock.

    Then BMO Field opened and fans made Toronto FC the hottest ticket in town. Vancouver then Montreal followed and years later nearly 100,000 watched the Impact and TFC play for the Eastern Conference championship over a wild two legged tie that will probably be referenced by an 18 year old rookie in 2022 as being the reason he or she decided to become a professional soccer player.

    Yet, the old voices remain and are now telling us that the CanPL can never succeed. This is despite soccer proving the doubters wrong at every step of the way over the past 25 years.







    It's time to shout them down. The burden of proof no longer lies on the side of the soccer-lover. No, it's the soccer-doubter that needs to show their work. I suspect their work would include references to the NASL, New York Cosmos and Pele before it drifted off into a 40 minute rant about how music was better when Meat Loaf was on top of the charts.

    The sport has fans -- huge fans -- in every corner of the country. Sure, many of those fans support one of the three MLS teams (or another level team), but more than enough either don't live near a MLS/NASL/USL team or are open to supporting both their current team and a CanPL side.

    This isn't 1992 and it sure as hell isn't 1984. There are people in Calgary, Winnipeg, Halifax and more than have seen the Southsiders, UM02, Red Patch Boys or (insert your supporters group here) and want the same thing for themselves. The new CanPL teams will find their fans and the teams have enough money behind them to allow the initial fan base to grow to a point that no one will ever fear for the long-term health of the league again.

    One of the underappreciated goals of the CanPL is to bring the game to more fan's back-yards. We focus on player, coach and referee development -- and clearly that is very important -- but the reality is that spreading the sport to every part of the country is probably the single most important thing the CanPL will do. Putting pro soccer in smaller markets is a goal in of itself, but it's not like having those pockets of passion isn't without a player development angle too. Just look at the amount of young American players that currently talk about how important going to MLS games was to developing their love of the game. That will hapen with the CanPL too (and already is happening with the three MLS teams).

    The CanPL is going to happen.

    And, It's going to succeed. It's time to embrace what is possible and stop looking for what might go wrong. 

    Most of all it's time to embrace the undeniable -- soccer in Canada doesn't need the approval of the mainstream to be relevant. It is the mainstream now and has been for at least a decade. 



    Edited by Duane Rollins

    Sign in to follow this  

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • CANMNT_CNL_Toronto_Carousel.jpg

  • Categories

  • Raffles

  • Posts

    • No, they are playing Trinidad in front of a packed house March 27 to try to get into the hex. 
    • Heres another angle, if the stadium had 20,000+ seats you need more time to sell those seats. By selling the first game only and it selling out at an attendance of 6200+, it is basically free advertising for the second game which they can open to the public immediately. Since it’s a smaller stadium it won’t be hard to sell that many tickets in a couple days. 
    • This is true, he is allowed to keep pressuring up high if he's the only one, and stay up on an attacking play if he's naturally progressed into the final third. Other players simply cover for him, so he does it without fear. On the other hand, his attacking effectivity when doing this is pretty low.
    • They better open up the 2nd game to the public, even if they get 2000 fans out they get some income, Westhills benefits too, the national team has its support. I am a bit shocked they'd do that, I agree it is a bit disgraceful on home soil to play a FIFA sanctioned match behind closed doors.
    • Nope. I watched every Cavs game last season. I shouldn’t say Malonga sucked, but he was very over rated. I personally as well as many Cavs fans am glad to see him go. Far to lazy. 
    • Financially, this might make sense for the league, and fans (at this moment anyways) might not be driven away by the standard of play. But I think it's troubling to basically have a league that's 'pay to play' in the sense that you'd basically need to be supported by your family to have a career in soccer at those wage levels. Conversely, if you have your own family to support, as I assume will be a bigger problem in a couple years as players come of age, you're forced to drop out of the league and find other work. Rhetorically at least, this league was about bringing professional football to the country, and without proper remuneration for players, it's difficult for me to call it that. We can't have players basically subsidizing the league. And I am not one to be naive and argue that the league should be spending at MLS levels, but as unnamedtrialist has said, there may be ways to cut costs elsewhere if only to bring the cap up a couple hundred thousand. For example, I am really up for lowering travel costs by splitting the league up into conferences. Even a $150k increase to the cap would bring average wages up to $40,000, which is much more feasible for players. You provide a marginal increase to the cap, alongside instituting a minimum wage to prevent younger players from subsidizing certain players at the higher end. That way, players at this level can still make a living and if they're good enough they can make the jump to even higher wages w/ MLS. And while wages aren't the only reason, this is why I keep harping on about having a players union, that way they can actually bargain for things that will help the entire profession and improve professionalization of the sport.
    • I think we all need to relax a little.  This is obviously the case.  It sucks for us, but it does make sense for both parties.  - CANMNT isn't exactly rolling in cash.  It saves them a trip and the expense for the away game. - CANMNT gets a home game - T&T gets a game on neutral ground Why would T&T sign up for two away games against the same team if there was no possible benefit for them?  Considering the options, it does make sense and is pretty fair.
    • I think people are underestimating what was the general consensus on Cavalry before the start of last season: that they would come last or close to it. We did not properly appreciate the quality of Foothills as PDL (USL2) winner, nor how the continuity of players and the coach would benefit the team. Nor the quality of Wheeldon himself, who seems to get a very high response from his players in all lines and even raises the level of some people under his control.  I also agree that they are close to where they were last season, they have the best keeper by far, and they have the most balanced system. They simply ran out of gas and failed on the game plan two matches in a row, the finals, they got fairly beaten.  Or put in another way: improvement on other sides will not mitigate what seems to be deficiencies in coaching, which is what we saw with Valour, clearly the worst IMO, and to a lesser extent York9 and HFX. I don't attribute Pacific's problems as much to coaching as to excess youth, probably because they had eaten up the salary cap unnecessarily with De Jong, Haber and others who were either injured a lot or did not pick up the slack. I will predict the same finalists as last year in CPL season two.
    • Someone earlier suggested that this might be a request from T&T in order to not be subject to two home games in a row as a closed door match is more like playing of neutral grounds.  I feel like this might make sense. Other potential reason is they are scared if the open up both games that they will split the crowd therefore they will focus on a sellout for the first game before opening up the second.
    • Tomorrow's CCL game is line on TSN5 at 8pm.
  • Create New...