It’s been 9,305 days. 310 months. 223,320 hours.
The Toronto Blue Jays were 20 days away from winning their first World Series. Bill Clinton was running for President.
And Canada had just lost its professional soccer league. When the Winnipeg Fury finished off their upset of the Vancouver 86ers on Oct 4, 1992, that was that. The dreams of the 1986 generation were dead and the dreams of the next were dead on arrival.
Although the game lived on at the D2 level and, eventually, MLS came to fill a tiny part of the void.
In exactly one month the long, hopeless, depressing walk in the woods will end. When Forge FC kicks-off against York 9 we can finally stop talking about what we don’t have and instead focus on what we might become.
In honour of the final 30 days without a pro soccer league here are the top 30 things I hope to see in CanPL over the next 5 years.
30. A wonder goal makes the sports packages.
I don’t care who or what team, but in a year where building recognition is the most important thing I hope to see a goal or play crossover into the mainstream.
29. Someone dislikes someone
Sports aren’t fun without conflict. The league will arrive the day there’s some true anger and rivalry
28. I’m (or other neutral reporter) is accused of bias
I don’t have a horse in the race, but I look forward to being accused of it. That will mean fans are being irrational and fans should be irrational.
27. Barrett’s Privateers is sung in Halifax
I mean, come on.
26. The Fury get humbled
Sorry, Ottawa fans but the Fury represent every negative person out there who tells us its silly to care about this league. It would be great to put a few goals past them in the V-Cup.
25. Fury and CanPL make up
…and then see the two groups make up for the good of the sport
24. A mostly CanPL u23 team excels at Olympic Qualifying
Now, wouldn’t that be nice…
23. The Fury join the fold
And all is forgiven
22. Quebec gets in
The league needs to be in French Canada and, especially, Quebec. Adding Ottawa and Montreal would be huge
21. A coaching change happens
I don’t wish to cheer for someone to lose their job, but the first coaching change that happens will be a sign of a healthy league – winning should matter.
20. Lower Mainland in
Three expansion teams might seem like a lot, but they brought seven in this year. Having a presence in all three major metros is important
19. A young player leaves for MLS
Establishing the league as a natural part of the player pathway is vital. It would be a huge success if a young player is poached by MLS in just the second year.
18. A V-Cup upset
One of TFC, VWFC or IMFC gets embarrassed in one leg of a series. It’s a bit early to hope for more, but that would be a great day for the league.
17. CanWPL announced
Planning to start a women’s league begins in earnest
16. Full D3 coverage
The League1 Ontario concept is extended to all 10 provinces, with a national D3 championship determined
15. A rival for Winnipeg
One of Regina or Saskatoon joins to bring the league to 11
14. A rival for Halifax
One of Moncton or Quebec joins to bring the league to 12
13. Al-Classico featured in some cheesy ultras profile
It shouldn’t matter, but we’re lying if we don’t admit that we want the rest of the world to notice
12. WE QUALIFY TO QATAR!!!!!
Not fully CanPL related, but let’s allow ourselves to dream a little
11. Kitchener-Waterloo joins
As one part of a SW Ontario expansion that hits the biggest population area still without a team
10. With London
And the 519 derby is born (just don’t call it that)
9. The women get a cup
Using the D3 teams along with a few CanPL senior women’s teams that are up and running the first women’s Voyageurs Cup is held
8. A player is sold to a Big 5 league team
This is what it is all about
We score a goal and compete with honor. There are players on the roster that played in CanPL
6. CCL Fever
A Can PL wins the qualifying tournament and gets a shot at the region’s big boys
Welcome St. John’s!
4. The first 16 round out
The 16th team joins – lets say Mississauga or Scarborough to round-out the GTA
3. First evidence the league is part of our culture
“16-year-old Dave Smith said ‘I always dreamed of playing for Forge. My dad used to take me to the games.”
2. The Canadian Women’s Premier League kicks-off
To a stable and successful future…
1 – The plan to launch CanPL2 and Pro/Rel is announced
And we smugly hold it over US soccer Twitter’s heads.