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  • 'I'm a Canadian, of course...(but) it's nice to have options'


    Never have words been spoken that more accurately reflect the state of Canadian soccer today.

    "I'm a Canadian, of course...(but) it's nice to have options"

    That was Canadian/Jamaican/American/English footballer Junior Hoilett speaking to the The Toronto Star's Dave Feschuk about his thoughts on suiting up for Canada. Feschuk asked and Hoilett answered exactly in the way we've all become much too accustomed to: I'm a Canadian but the second it better suits my career I must have misplaced my passport.

    If you'd like, accuse me of reading between the lines, but having heard the same sentiment before and seen the results, my reaction to Hoilett's line of choice is simple: Fuck. That.


    Over the past 10 years - as footballer after footballer have trickled away, hopes raised and then dashed - there has been a quiet, growing sentiment among Canadian fans, to a place of far less patience. It's an attitude that steers away from the proper, politically correct, let's all play nice because this is Canada, to one that is far less flinching - a why the hell are you not capping for our country? edge.

    It's not easy for Canadians to pound their chest and espouse national pride. In fact, it seems ground into our DNA to do the opposite. We only see glimpses of it when our national hockey team wins and then we dance in the streets with wild, primitive pride.

    But the time has more than come for Canadian football supporters to step forward to that edge - if for nothing more than to look around and realize that no other country in the world treats the game of football with such kid gloves. The last thing we should be doing today, at the news another footballer wants to weigh his options, is shrugging our shoulders in apathy.

    A decade ago, that attitude might have been acceptable. The CSA was in complete disarray. Despite winning a Gold Cup, our national team program was in shambles. Women's football - what's that? The last thing a Canadian football fan deserved to be feeling was entitled.

    But, again, look around. A lot has changed in the past few years. Our house is getting itself in order. The CSA is on the path to reform. Our youth national team's are showing a future and our Women's National Team, how they're playing right now, might be top three in the world.

    The last piece of that puzzle is the Men. And if a few more players like Junior had gone the other way - if we hadn't wasted so much time waiting for that ilk to commit and instead set about developing and assisting those that do want to play here - it might even be said that the CMNT would be on a path to health.

    And so, to Junior, I tell you this: I'd love to see you and your brother patrolling the pitch together for Canada, it would be fantastic, but the time has come, pal, to shit or get off the pot. Whether you are Canadian, American, Jamaican or an Englishman - you've had long enough to decide.

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