Jump to content
  • Canadian bits and bites: August 23, 2011


    ccs-3097-140264010204_thumb.jpgLike the popular snack mix, I'm going to break down these news hits into the flavoured Shreddie (the best part), the Cheerio (you never see it coming), the pretzel (you've got to acknowledge it, like it or not) and that cheese-stick thing (what the hell is it?).

    The Shreddie: Welcome to the Premiership, Simeon Jackson

    As you may have already heard, proud Canuck Simeon Jackson got into Norwich City's match against Stoke City over the weekend. Though he didn't do anything in his limited time on the field, his inclusion should be heartening to those of us who worried that he'd be the forgotten man in the Canaries' lineup now that they've made the jump. You know what should also be heartening? This:


    Yep, there's ol' Jacko, lovingly displayed across the top of NCFC's official website, alongside other players who I can only assume are of emotional significance to the team's devoted fanbase. Clearly, Jackson is an integral part of this squad for the long term! (Note: Shortly after writing this paragraph, I glanced at a Toronto FC fridge magnet I acquired at the beginning of this season which prominently features Dwayne De Rosario, Jacob Peterson and Nick LaBrocca.)


    For what it's worth (plenty, I think!), Jacko is the first member of the men's national team to play in the Premiership since Paul Stalteri in 2008. David Edgar, of course, was also featuring for Newcastle in the Premier League around that time (even scoring against Manchester United), but he hadn't yet won his first senior cap. And there's, of course, Canadian-born David "Junior" Hoilett currently plying his trade for Blackburn Rovers, but still (ostensibly) undecided about his national-team career.

    But forget all those guys. This is Simeon's day. Because he's frakking awesome.

    The Cheerio: Julian de Guzman is a scoring machine! (Maybe pass on the extended warranty, though.)

    If at first you don't succeed, try try again. Clearly this message was drilled into JDG's head as a young boy, as months and months of unsuccessful chest-high shots from about 25 yards eventually, finally, mercifully translated into not one, but two goals for Toronto FC in the past few weeks. Say what you will about his tenure in Toronto (ooh, lemme guess, did the phrase that came to your mind include the word "disappointing"? Sweet, points to me) but Jules getting some confidence can only be seen as a good thing for not only TFC, but the men's national team.

    On the other side of the coin is the fate of Terry Dunfield. He's been riding an awful lot of pine as of late -- though, to be fair, he is recovering from injury. But once he's fit, what happens? He's obviously below de Guzman and Torsten Frings on the depth chart. Where does he fit in? Perhaps we can all hope that Aron Winter's long-term plan is to use Frings as a permanent centre back, use de Guzman and Dunfield in central midfield, and send Ty Harden on a quest to find buried treasure in Papua New Guinea.

    The Pretzel: Hey everyone, is that an elephant? Over there, in the room!

    Alright, I'll be the one to say it.

    Canada's road to the 2014 World Cup begins in less than two weeks, with its first qualifier against St. Lucia. But there's a chance that it will be over less than three months from now.

    On paper, there's no reason why we can't make it out of a group with the likes of St. Lucia, Puerto Rico and St. Kitts and Nevis. By any imaginable measure -- skill level, population, experience, FIFA rankings, annual days worth of snow, donut shops per capita, Stanley Cup victories, whatever -- we are the class of this group. Most are assuming, not unreasonably so, that Canada will take full points from these six games; or, perhaps, that we'll drop a few in a later game, once advancement has been sewn up, by playing a bunch of inexperienced kids who fail to gel on the field.

    But some weird, wacky, messed-up shit happens not only in the game of soccer, but in life in general. And weirder shit has happened than "Canada failing to win games it probably should have" in international soccer.

    When it comes down to it, this is World Cup qualifying. This is what matters. This is what borderline-obsessive weirdos like the folks running this site live for. I'm not a religious person, but suffice to say, I'll be inventing soccer deities simply to ask them to prevent the unthinkable from happening in the latter part of 2011.

    I suppose that's my roundabout way of saying, if you live near Toronto, get your tickets now!

    The Cheese Stick: Keepers? Nah, we're good, carry on

    So I was reading this story about former Whitecaps backup goalkeeper, 21-year-old Simon Thomas, signing with third-division Huddersfield Town in England, and the last few lines of the Victoria Times-Colonist piece were like a worryingly familiar kick in the sack:

    With his height in the crease and pro contract, you've got to figure Simon Thomas must be on the radar for London 2012 (U-23) Olympic qualifying for Canada.

    "I would love to be part of the national team program but I don't know where I stand with them," said Thomas.

    Pfft, yeah, whatever kid, like we need goalkeepers. Oh, wait a minute.

    Now, in fairness, the U-23 pool does include a number of other keepers with notable pro-club connections, including Roberto Stillo (Genoa), Michal Misiewicz (Polonia Bytom, formerly Sunderland) and Adam Street (who had a long-time connection with West Ham)... not to mention former Finnish champion and current FC Edmontoner David Monsalve.

    Maybe Simon Thomas has nothing on those kids, and has no future with the national team. Or... maybe he does. And it's that little fiery jolt of worry I get every time I see stories like this -- about the chance that we could be witnessing the next one to get away -- that keeps me up at night.

    Wait, no, that's excess caffeine and a lifetime of sleep problems. But whatever, you get the point.

  • Create New...