Never go into the archives of Maple Leaf Forever! without expert supervision. Any post written before about 2016 is pretty much unreadable. But this morning I dove into the crap to get a particular nugget: my first visit to Langford’s ironically-named City Centre Park in May 2010 to watch the Victoria Highlanders host the Vancouver Whitecaps U-23s in the USL PDL season opener.
A lot has changed in nine years. For one thing I ripped Russell Teibert, who was a year or so from becoming Canadian Soccer Jesus. Both the Highlanders and the Whitecaps U-23s folded then came back as completely different setups. Also, the ironically-named City Centre Park is almost unrecognizable. 2010’s aluminum-bleachered main stand now has beautiful purple seats with “PFC” picked out in white and wouldn’t look out of place in England’s League Two. The “Bear Mountain Stadium” sign now says “Westhills Stadium” (though it is otherwise exactly the same, which is fun). The neighbourhood has built up; a weirdly obscure tree-shrouded ground nestled in with the industry and parking lots is now in a fast-growing part of Langford that’ll probably be 50% condos by the time Noah Verhoeven gets his testimonial.
But a few things are the same. Quoting myself:
It took nine years, and they’re not the Highlanders, and it’s actually the first division. And security checks bags now, though they’re still human beings rather than dicks with badges and let us bring in cookies for Clare Rustad. Otherwise 2010 Ben would be pretty happy with how those paragraphs worked out.
Read the rest at https://www.maple-leaf-forever.com/2019/04/29/another-day-one-at-westhills-stadium/
It looked grim, really grim, you will recall. At this point last year with six games under their belt, Ottawa Fury had notched up four defeats and achieved only two draws. The team had just two points to show for 540 minutes or more of football, having conceded 14 goals, five of them in one game alone.
This time around it looks nowhere near so ghastly, mercifully so. The extended pre-season spent in sun-splashed Florida evidently did the squad a world of good, as there is reason to believe that the Ottawa Fury may well have a half-decent season this year.
Read more on the NSXI Network.
April 27th, 2019 was a day for all of us Canadian soccer fans to remember for a long, long time. Our wildest dreams came to fruition at Tim Hortons field, where Forge FC took on York 9 FC in the inaugural Canadian Premier League match. While the event was very much a celebration all-round, we all know that the Canadian Premier League has been split up into 2 seasons, and with this first Spring season lasting just 10 matches, this was a rather important match for both teams – not just a soccer celebration.
Read more on the NSXI Network
On October 4, 1992, the Winnipeg Fury tied the Vancouver 86ers 1-1 and won the Canadian Soccer League title on aggregate. The next match in a Canadian national soccer league comes 9,701 days later, tomorrow, April 27, 2019. Forge FC versus York 9 (10 AM Pacific, CBC television). We’ve waited long enough.
Nobody knows how this league is going to shake out, and unusually for Canadian soccer, nobody pretends they know. We’re all excited. We’re all smashing rosters with the hammer of criticism on the anvil of looking players up on Wikipedia. I am trying to track publicly-made predictions, because that should be good for a laugh; in fact I can’t remember the last time I had this many laughs just reading about and listening to Canadian soccer takes. There are well-respected veteran pundits who were not alive the last time a national Canadian soccer league played a game and they’re gushing with the best of them. Enthusiasm is more contagious than measles in a Montessori.
This is Maple Leaf Forever!‘s official 2019 Canadian Premier League preview. Like all the others it is insane in spots, biased everywhere, and probably wrong more than it’s right. But who cares? Our hopes are unblemished by the scars of experience. Here’s the one prediction you can take to the bank: there won’t be many better years to be a Canadian soccer fan, ever, than the year 2019.
For more: https://www.maple-leaf-forever.com/2019/04/26/2019-canadian-premier-league-preview/
Among the many questions that have consistently been asked everyone watching the development of the Canadian Premier League: will there be a fantasy game?
We briefly outline three options: the official CPL Centre Circle Q&A "Fantasy" game, our NSXI Score Prediction Fantasy Game, and @GuillermoDelQuarto's FanPL.
Learn all about it on the NSXI Network.
Wherein Our Heroes participate in a panel, co-ordinated by the Northern 90’s very own Pat Sweet. Together with Pat, TSN 1290’s Ryan Brandt, and YouTube sensation AFC Curtis, we offer up our Canadian Premier League predictions based on nothing but sheer conjecture.
The Young Gaffers are proud members of the Northern Starting Eleven Network.
As we prepare for the premiere of the Premier league, it’s important to reflect on what came before. The league had a game of the week on TSN and had national attention, but it’s teams came in and out of the structure every winter.
The Canadian Premier League kick-off this coming Saturday will be our biggest event in some time. The entire domestic soccer community will be settling down at 1 PM Eastern, either in Forge FC’s stadium or in front of CBC television, to witness a new and hopefully more positive era in our nation’s game. This otherwise quite ordinary league fixture is making hearts across the Dominion beat a bit faster, like an Olympic semi-final.
Nothing could better herald this dawn than our mascots. Four of the Canadian Premier League’s seven teams have, in recent weeks, introduced us to new mascots who will stand as symbols for all time, representing the Canadian Premier League to ourselves and to the world. Canada’s national coat of arms is supported by a unicorn and a lion, representing the British heritage of our governance and our culture that goes back way before Confederation. Perhaps, in a couple centuries, some new country will bear arms supported by Bolt and Stewie the Starfish. It is scarcely less probable than the existence of the Canadian Premier League itself.
In honour of this joyous week I have decided to rank all of the league’s mascots so far, from best to worst. These ratings are entirely objective and based off a proprietary statistical algorithm developed by the Prince of Wales and tested by Maple Leaf Forever!‘s secret nerd hive in Sudbury-Thunder Bay. As a result its decisions are not to be argued with, only agreed on and amplified.
New WPSL expansion club, Vancouver Island FC announced their first three signings in club history on April 19th. Three players were named to the roster: Liz Gregg, Mariel Solsberg, and Alexis McKinty. Coached by Neil Sedgwick and Wes Barrett, the first tryouts were held on April 1st and the club has two more tryouts scheduled for late April.
Liz Gregg joins VIFC with a wealth of professional football experience including multiple seasons abroad with Doncaster Rovers Belles.
Continue reading on the NSXI Network.
Ex-TFC player Darren O'Dea was mentioned as a possibility for York 9 at one point. He seems to have other plans:
...with a new artificial turf surface that would be shared with the York Lions football team.
The added turf provides run-off space down the sidelines, so they have managed to make the width look fairly reasonable in the broadcast. Surprised it is only 100y long. That's the absolute minimum on FIFA regulations.
To me Halifax is the most disappointing team in terms of roster, play, and results (not attendance and atmosphere, which is great). I was hoping they would be my second favourite team, but this has definitely not happened.
My own team Pacific has its own issues, but at least it is happening with a mostly young, and primarily Canadian team. Whereas, Halifax is struggling and doing so with mostly a roster of internationals. Today there was only Langwa, Oxner, and Hocine as actual Canadians in the line-up. I understand trying to win and thus teams that do not want to go young and/or all Canadian, should not have to. But being this non-Canadian in terms of the roster, and having it not work, is not a good look.
Comparatively PFC started 7 and Cavalry 8 Canadians in their game.
Nothing on the CanPL website about the other two crowds, which is not surprising judging from this:
Not good when even the reasonably priced seats are not selling out. Big problem with the Cavalry is probably the location.
According to Gopherbashi, the actual crowd for York 9 was probably just north of 1000 or so:
...also no table seats on that side and this was a season ticket game, so that probably knocks another 100 or so off the capacity. On the bright side they have been able to use some sort of artificial turf to create enough runoff space to have a field width of around 60 yards. That moves it from farcically narrow to uncomfortably narrow. Not many fans in the supporters zone for this one:
Were they able to put in the field side seats on the main stand side? No sign of them in the short clip in this tweet:
Prediction - 23 man roster [4-3-3]
GK - Milan Borjan
GK - Maxime Crepeau
GK - Jayson Leutwiler
LB - Sam Adekugbe
CB - Doneil Henry
CB - Manjrekar James
CB - Andre Hainault
CB - Derek Cornelius
RB - Marcus Godihno
RB - Zach Brault-Guillard
Central Midfielders: (5)
CDM - Atiba Hutchinson [RET]*
CDM - Samuel Piette
CM - Scott Arfield [C]*
CM - Jonathan Osorio
CM/LB - Mark Anthony Kaye
CM - Russell Teibert
W - Alphonso Davies
W - Junior Hoilett
CF - Lucas Cavallini
CF - Cyle Larin
CF - Tosaint Ricketts
CAM/W - Jonathan David
ST/W - Tesho Akindele
Just misses the cut by position | Called up in case of injury | Replacements
GK - Simon Thomas, LB - Ashtone Morgan, CB - Adam Straith, CB - Kamal Miller, RB - Juan Cordova, CM - Will Johnson, MF - David Wotherspoon, W - Liam Millar, CF - Anthony Jackson-Hamel
Not considered: Ballou Tabla and Raheem Edwards (Lack of Playing Time)
Not available | INJ: CDM/CM - Stephen Eustaquio
*RET = Will retire from the National Team post Gold Cup
*C = Named Captain