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.
We don’t like life getting in the way of our sports.
Sports are supposed to shield us from the day-to-day irritations and stresses. They are our escape. So, when “real life” sneaks its way onto the playing fields many get angry.
“STICK TO SPORTS,” is the cry when someone tries to start a conversation about more serious topics. That’s a best case response. Worse?
“YOU’RE LYING/EXGGERATING/NEED TO SUCK IT UP.”
Often the voices calling to be heard are shouted down by those that just want to cheer.
We see this in soccer all the time, especially as it relates to racism. And, of course, as always, anything that has to do with women. It’s toxic when fans do this. It destroys lives when institutions do it.
Such is the case of Bob Birarda and the accusations of sexual misconduct and harassment made against him by, so far, 12 different women who were coached by him while part of the Canadian u20 program and Vancouver Whitecaps elite women’s team. The alleged incidents took place in and around 2008.
The 12 women came forward after Ciara McCormack published a blog detailing the abuse of power she witnessed while at the Whitecaps at that same time.
I won’t go into the details here as it is better stated by the 12 women and McCormack, but suffice to say it was horrific.
It also wasn’t a surprise to anyone that has been around Canadian soccer over the past decade. I first heard a version of this story about nine years ago. It’s been whispered by those “in the know” for years.
Yet, nothing ever was said publicly. Worse, nothing was done privately either. Prior to the accusations finally becoming public Birarda was still coaching women’s soccer for the club Coastal FC. He’s since been suspended by the club pending review of the accusations.
Over the past while, I’ve been thinking about why I never wrote or talked about these accusations publicly over the last decade. A fear of being sued likely played a role, but I was involved with a show in It’s Called Football (along with this website) that went after matchfixing (Ben Rycroft’s reporting leading the way), corruption in minor soccer (hello, Ben Knight) and talked openly about potential improprieties in Mo Johnston’s relationship with certain player agents.
In a previous job, I wrote a story accusing the Northern Ontario Minor Hockey Association of systemic racism against aboriginal players.
So, I’ve pushed the boundaries as a journalist before. Why didn’t I here?
I should have. And, I apologize for not doing so.
The question is one that I don’t yet know the answer to. But, it’s one that I, and everyone who heard the same whispers, needs to keep asking themselves so that it never happens again.
Ciara McCormack will be a guest on SoccerToday on Monday, live at 11am ET @SoccerTodaySPN
At the game, had an excellent time.
Thought the atmosphere was great, very professional performance, we played with tons on confidence, shape and fluidity, along with very strong and confident defending.
A few minor things to tidy up, but the squad is in excellent form which shows from our undefeated 2019 record 6-0-2 and only conceeding 1 goal.
Many players impressed, not one player had a poor game in my eyes. I was especially impressed with Lawrence and her ability to play both as a RB & LB along with her overall coverage of the field.
I think that the opinion of respective federations is what counts to FIFA, via its regional bodies.
Right now there's a team in Andorra, called Andorra and now owned by Pique, that is playing in a Spanish division. The rest are in the Andorra league and the winner goes to Europa League qualifying rounds. Why does this team play outside of Andorra? First, the Andorran federation is in favour as many national team players are on it. Next, it raises profile of Andorra outside of the small country. Third, the Spanish federation has no problem with it, nor ever has, in part because Andorra, before full constitutional independance, was a Principality with co-princes, who were the President of France and the closest Spanish bishop (in a city called la Seu d'Urgell, in Catalonia). So there was a historically favourable basis on a political level. An Andorran team also plays in the Spanish basketball league and even played European competition this year as a Spanish rep.
Contrary position: Gibraltar. No Gibraltar team plays in any Spanish league (it perhaps did occur in the past, but not now). Spain claims that it is a colony, as it is British by a treaty arrangement from a colonial period war, as had been Menorca. Spain argues that it is theirs, that it should be decolonised in line with all post WWII decolonisation processes. Obviously this argument is not accepted by the UK (and has some holes), though recently, in the Brexit negotiation, the EU accepted most of the Spanish argument. All this is beside the point: Spain will not let Gibraltar teams with that name play in their leagues, for political reasons, unless they submit themselves to the Spanish federation. And also has requested to the EU to NEVER have to play any international match vs. a Gibraltar team, not senior, u-20, not women: NEVER. Which means all draws in Europe are doctored on this basis (Spain also refuses to recognise or play against Kosovo).
So basically what are we saying: the mutual interest of the two parts, which in this case would be CSA and USSF, is what is important. If both agree, then you come to an arrangement. If one part does not accept it, then it can't happen. That is the criteria, though arguments about relative quality, budget, travel, or whatever, are simply additional reasoning to bolster the national federation's decision: which can ignore all those criteria if a simple political factor is enough to override them. Same, I believe, here: if the CSA says no, then it is no, but with MLS as a precedent, you can throw in arguments, any you like, to back the decision.
I suspect familiarity is the reason for the good form. There may be a leveling effect as time passes. But if what you're saying holds true into the second half of the year, I'll wholeheartedly agree with you.
In terms of PFC and their attendance...
I am a little disappointed with the numbers, but, to be fair, they have taken one for the league in terms of early scheduling. That being said, it would obviously be better if we were getting more fans, and it would show more signs of long term sustainability.
Back to the scheduling, aside from the home opener, none of these games have been played on ideal dates. Our second and CC games were on weeknights with less then ideal weather. This guarentees an empty family section. The game against York may seem like an ideal day, but there are two issues that likely cost them 1,000 or so fans. Firstly, I think for the sake of timing the viewing schedule, they started at 12:30, which is far from ideal in terms of drawing in any walk up crowds. In addition, this is the May long weekend. A weekend in which half of the people of Victoria leave the city to go for the first camp or something of the year. Based on the many season tickets that seemed to be on resale. I actually wouldn't be surprised if paid attendance was actually higher then those who showed.
All these excuses aside, it can hopefully improve with more exposure, marketing, and better dates. Given the time before our next home game, the day (Sunday), and time (3pm) anything less then 4k would be bad no matter how it is spun.
Positives- It seems that weather, day, etc aside, PFC can rely on a pretty passionate and knowledgeable base of 2000-2500 fans. Given the size of the stadium, there is still clearly a great atmosphere as well. The ownership group seems willing to stick it out for at least a couple years, and given the salaries, sponsorship, other sources of revenue, if they can get average attendance up to 4k by the end of the year, they may still break even.
Negatives- You still need more paying customers to break even. The stadium location is still not ideal. I am hopeful again that the busing and exposure will help.
Neutral- Langford and the mayor is very supportive, which is probably helping to mitigate costs, as they are handling it. This is great for the team ownership, but is a neutral because if more receptive ears opened up in the downtown, Langford will probably not want to let it go.