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
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.
Luke earned that contract. Congratulations for him.
I’d like to see TFC displace Zavaleta this year. The team needs some young legs defensively.
hopefully Luke is up to the challenge, if not Julian Dunn, who I think is also a quality CB prospect.
probably, but as it stands, Singh is the one who got the chance to show where his level is at, and he ran with it. Its not everyday an academy kid gets their starting debut against a Mexican team and shines. If he can handle a Liga MX team (while in pre season form), he can handle MLS. It was trial by fire and he passed.
Not convinced he has even jumped Dunn yet, who must be gutted injuries have cost him chances. Hopefully they both get minutes. Dunn looked great, if not q step above CPL imo.
Congrats to Luke though. Hope he gets the start tomorrow.