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Guest Jeffery S.

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Guest Jeffery S.

In recent years Canadian soccer has found certain success with junior and women's teams, though apart from our Gold Cup win over three years ago the flagship program, the senior men's national team, is flagging.

It is time to return to basics, to get back to some fundamental principles that have been lost along the way. This would mean returning to the simple idea that the game is a form of entertainment, and that fans want to be entertained in the best way possible. That includes being able to see quality play on a club and national team level, including women and junior teams, and when fans can see such play, to be able to enjoy what they see.

So here goes, in 8 long points:

1) Canada needs to play matches at home. This is the most glaring error of the CSA over the last two-three years. Now that WC qualifying is near the CSA will be able to smooth over this grievance, but it will remain a key question after they are over, and more so if we are eliminated early or even before the HEX.

The CSA should be obliged to organize at least one senior men's match in Canada per year. By statute if necessary. Anything less is deplorable. I am ready to write to the minister in charge of national sport and my MP in this regard.

2) As a complement to the above, the CSA needs to work harder, faster, and with more ambition in ensuring stadiums where we can play international matches. The only year-round sites we have are in Vancouver and Victoria. Size is limited. As the possibility of playing international matches could be increased with the inclusion of artificial turf venues, the CSA needs to work more closely with FIFA and CONCACAF to ensure that such venues are approved for official matches as soon as possible. It is not good enough to passively follow FIFA's slow but steady progress in this regard.

3) Canada is one of the few nations in the world without it's own league. We all know the reasons for this. Yet the most natural thing for fans is to support a team from their city or region, following their games throughout a season. If the reality now is to play in A-League as the highest aspiration for a club, the CSA needs to get behind our clubs and support them where they can. One way is related to 2) above, helping to improve venues. Small investments coinciding with international matches could help in this sense.

The A-League is not enough however. The CSA also has to do more to establish some sort of national championship. Currently the Voyageur Cup is the closest thing we have to crowning a national club champ. Fans want the thrill of having their club compete for such a prestigious title. A simple model of the A-League sides could give us a final 4 weekend; the model could be widened to include semi-pro teams. Exactly how it is done is not overly important.

Canada deserves to have a national champion that can play in CONCACAF club competitions as well; that we don't is a black mark against our entire national program (in all nations the equivalent FA or Federation is involved in supporting such endeavours).

4) More respect for our club sides also means ensuring that the national team program takes them seriously as a source of talent. Holger Osieck's disdainful comments about Jordan and Budalic after the German friendly are a shameful example of disrespect for players eager to represent our country, and having made them to the German press should be cause for a reprimand from the CSA. Being national team coach does not mean having a free hand, but should entail some discipline and, to boot, realism. The CSA needs to mandate our national team coaches to respect and use North American based players on the national teams without qualms. No more excuses about overseas club committments. Let us enjoy what we have instead of living a permanent illusion of a "full side". All of Cuba's national team players are active on clubs in Cuba: are they better than A-League sides?

The consequences of this would mean that we could more readily fulfill the demands of point 1) above.

5) Next comes playing style. Not only have we serious distortions from the international model in terms of no home games, poor stadiums, no all-Can pro league, no national champ, no clubs in confederation competitions, but we have distorted the basic principles of play itself.

This may be the most arguable of my proposals, but here goes.

International football is moving more and more towards a certain unity of style. I think that perhaps the World Cups were more attractive years ago when teams had a more distinct style, when Germany vs. Brazil meant a clear clash of football mentality, but things have changed. The national program needs to respond to the realities of modern soccer. Ball control and tactically astute positional play are key to success, apart from being, in my opinion, more attractive in the long run (take our first halves vs. Scotland and Germany as examples). Physical strength and talent with the long ball are only complements to this. In the long run teams need to work on a style that adjusts both to their individual talents, as well as look for individuals who can respond to the modern game. Our players are based in so many different soccer cultures, but most are moving towards a more technical model (especially the younger ones), and fans are more and more eager to see it. Players need to be able to pass correctly and find the open guy, move as a block forwards and backwards. If you have the ball you have the game in your hands. This is clearly what Canada has not shown itself able to do in the last two games we've played. This is the fault of deficient coaching.

As a complement to this, players should play in or close to the positions they normally hold down over 6-10 months with their clubs, though slight adjustments can always be made. In the mid-term playing defenders as strikers cannot be a valid solution, McKenna's occasional goals notwithstanding. We need to return to a natural order in terms of positions, and respond to the modern game by playing formations that offer real possibilities of success.

6) On the other hand this means a certain attention to natural hierarchies. In nations where most national team players play in the home league, it is very rare to find someone in a lower division called for national team duty (though I know of exceptions, to be sure). This is not a rule, but it is an unwritten guideline. A natural order.

For Canada, without most top players in Canada, this means respecting certain international hierarchies and calling up those who are excelling at the highest level of clubs, when available. Club play is week in week out and is usually the only valid barometer of a player's form over the course of a year. It cannot be replaced by a hierarchy based on loyalty to the national team coach and abstract biases that are not based on objective reality. This need not contradict what I said about the A-League players as long as a call-up is done consciously without our best players, such as for the sake of playing a home match in a small venue with the senior nats, or trying out new faces to widen the player pool.

7) Realistically Canada has poor possibilities of making the HEX and even remoter chances of getting to the next World Cup. Our results simply are not there; we have no authority on the field, not even when winning and especially when losing. What point is there to put all the eggs in this basket? Let's try to win everything that is reasonably at hand, whether on a club or national side level. And add competitions as suggested in 3).

Fans will be happy to see a team that plays to its potential, whether the local club or the national sides. A team that plays well and wins, a showcase for talent. Fans want to celebrate wins and trophies. If clubs can find their way to a national championship or an A-League title, our national sides have to take seriously the possibilities of winning anything. Lately the closest we've come is with the under 19 women WC and the CONCACAF championship for women. We cannot take the Gold Cup lightly either. It is our chance to win in our region and enter the international stage at the Copa America and Confed (if still around in a few years). We cannot ever again release players for Gold Cup as a trade-off for WC qualifying, since in any case we will certainly see that such trade-offs won't actually exist in the crunch.

8) This is a perfect time to reconsider the director of our national men's program. He has done a lot for us, many things can be built on from here; time to move on though. The inertia is negative with little sign of changing. The CSA has the chance to return things to a certain peace and tranquility before WC qualifying with a change of national men's coach, a change of direction. Now is the time. The fans deserve more, and it is the CSA's responsibility to wake up and deliver in so many of the areas where more can be had.

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Yes, some excellent ideas. However, given realities of MNT's, I think we have to concentrate on World Cup Qualifying and getting our A team out (and fairly deciding what the A team is) for that by June, 2004, second round.

Other tournaments and friendlies have to use B teams to some extent, but that should be done with a view to trying out new players. Unfortunately, this is Holger's weakness. He has to get our new players in Scandinavia and North America brought in for a good view in the WCQ's opening round in February to April against weak opposition, and HO, if he is to stay on now, will have to go through a sea-change in attitude towards them.

Only after this is done, can we have a realistic idea of what our A team for next June will look like.

We have to have sane development, yes, but we have to move beyond concentrating on winning minor tournaments like the Gold Cup which can be counter -productive to taking the next step. The Woman's National Team dares to dream, and takes intelligent steps to achieve the dream. With Holger, can we ever have confidence of intelligent steps to reach this next level before the 2010 WC Qualifiers? If the whole thing is cock-eyed at the top, then all the good work at the bottom will never go beyond the bottom.

I have NO problem with using a B team at the Gold Cup, but I do have a problem if the use and content of the B team is not for proper later development of an A team.

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Guest Jeffery S.
quote:Originally posted by DoyleG

There's a snowball's chance in hell of this occuring unless the CSA can get a bigger budget than the nearly $9 Million they have now.

They could start by taking whatever budget allocation they had for the rest of the tournament and use it to invite a team to Canada from our hemisphere to play a friendly on a Fifa date, August 20 or early September.

I agree that budget is tight, and that some things get left off. Travelling with under 17s is almost as pricey as doing so with senior sides, and I am not going to call for an end to that (esp with our winters, we need camps out of the country). Yet I think that since Holger is the head of our national program, including youth, he is pushing the CSA to put money into team development and perhaps does not care in the least for a club team championship. The day the head of the program insists that there be a national club championship we'll have one, is that the message? Why can't the CSA establish the priority and just tell Holger or whoever comes along that it is a key piece in our national soccer policy?

Mind you since Pipe essentially admitted that Holger vetoed a game in Canada this spring-summer so as to play Germany, it seems he is also calling the shots in this. Time for the CSA to put their foot down, as it seems as if it were for Holger, we'd never play in front of our own fans.

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Budget of 9 million. What's the budget of Cuba or Jamaica or Trinidad?

9 million can go along way if it used intelligently. Canada is a rich country but it doesn't seem to make a difference and that smaller nations seem to have their act together when it comes to soccer organization.

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quote:Originally posted by Moosehead

Budget of 9 million. What's the budget of Cuba or Jamaica or Trinidad?

9 million can go along way if it used intelligently. Canada is a rich country but it doesn't seem to make a difference and that smaller nations seem to have their act together when it comes to soccer organization.

If you were to apply our budget to those countries, Cuba would be less than a $1 per citzien, Jamacia around $4, and Trinidad at least $7.

If you look at the CHA, they have a budget of around $20 Million. They get far more government cash than the CSA does.

Smaller countries also don't have the added burden of rival sports competing for cash, so talent and money is much larger for those smaller countries.

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quote:Originally posted by Jeffrey S.

They could start by taking whatever budget allocation they had for the rest of the tournament and use it to invite a team to Canada from our hemisphere to play a friendly on a Fifa date, August 20 or early September.

That's a bit of a tight run for all sides invovled. The bill would likely be much larger than what would be allocated for the Gold Cup and that a decent stadium would be needed.

quote:Originally posted by Jeffrey S.

I agree that budget is tight, and that some things get left off. Travelling with under 17s is almost as pricey as doing so with senior sides, and I am not going to call for an end to that (esp with our winters, we need camps out of the country). Yet I think that since Holger is the head of our national program, including youth, he is pushing the CSA to put money into team development and perhaps does not care in the least for a club team championship. The day the head of the program insists that there be a national club championship we'll have one, is that the message? Why can't the CSA establish the priority and just tell Holger or whoever comes along that it is a key piece in our national soccer policy?

Considering that the CSA brass can hardly come up with anything betetr than a "Half-Baked" CUSL proposal doesn't really impress me. I'm more impressed with an organization who worked from the ground up (ie. Rugby Canada and and Alpine Canada) than with carrer bureaucrats.

quote:Originally posted by Jeffrey S.

Mind you since Pipe essentially admitted that Holger vetoed a game in Canada this spring-summer so as to play Germany, it seems he is also calling the shots in this. Time for the CSA to put their foot down, as it seems as if it were for Holger, we'd never play in front of our own fans.

Or perhaps those teams visiting North America turned us down for friendlies or the time was too short (ie. Wales and New Zealand).

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- In comparison (lands are totally not comparable but I have the amount...), the budget of the Belgian FA il appr. $25M.

- For the national teams, I will repeat my idea of not a "B" team but more an "A+" team or call it how you want, with players based in North America.

So, for example, they can gather for training camps in the winter when A-League and MLS are stopped (player in Scandinavy can join too...)

They could so hold their condition and avoid stop playing for months.

They also could play against other B or A' teams (if they exist, I don't know if other country than France have one ?) when it's too difficult to call eurobased players.

But the CSA must not consider those as a games else the A-team won't play anymore !

- About the clubs, I think what CSA makes is a totally shame. I never saw any FA have so poor considerations for the clubs ! It seems they only have interest in national teams and that's all. I unfortunately don't see sign for optimism but if you do...

- Finally, about Holger, I'm here since a too short time to have an advised advice. I know he helps a lot to professionnalize the organization around the national team and his presence has been useful. From what I saw against Cuba, I will say that on the field, it's not that... Prepartion seems to be missed : a lot of approximations and some other rare things added to the fact I had the impression those players played for the first time together makes me ask questions about the trainer who is responsible for it (maybe CSA too, but first the coach).

The question is : what weights more ? The amelioration he brings in structures or the problems he can't solve on the field ? I won't answer, I'm not competent for it now. But I thing the question merits to be thought.

___________________________

http://www.impactsoccer.com

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Jeffrey, some intersting grist for the mill. I want to post a longer reply to but for now will content myslef with an expression of concern about any "mandating" of selections. A better idea is the North American based B team. The Technical Director must be free to select whom he wants, and answer for the results. But a B team would give the opportunity for players to be seen by the Technical Director, develop their skills etc. etc.

As for the budget amount, bear in mind also that this $9 million supports the women's team and the youth teams of both genders. This is clearly something that needs to be addressed.

The opinions expressed above are just that.

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As promised, a long response to the points Jeffrey raises. Only my opinions of course.

quote:Originally posted by Jeffrey S.

In recent years Canadian soccer has found certain success with junior and women's teams, though apart from our Gold Cup win over three years ago the flagship program, the senior men's national team, is flagging.

It is time to return to basics, to get back to some fundamental principles that have been lost along the way. This would mean returning to the simple idea that the game is a form of entertainment, and that fans want to be entertained in the best way possible. That includes being able to see quality play on a club and national team level, including women and junior teams, and when fans can see such play, to be able to enjoy what they see.

So here goes, in 8 long points:

1) Canada needs to play matches at home. This is the most glaring error of the CSA over the last two-three years. Now that WC qualifying is near the CSA will be able to smooth over this grievance, but it will remain a key question after they are over, and more so if we are eliminated early or even before the HEX.

The CSA should be obliged to organize at least one senior men's match in Canada per year. By statute if necessary. Anything less is deplorable. I am ready to write to the minister in charge of national sport and my MP in this regard.

This is essential, in my opinion. Both the men's and women's teams need to play at home, and I would suggest taking a page out of the American's book and tag teaming the games with A-League and W-League games to try to pump up the number of people viewing their local club side. Obviously this is not as effective with the limited seating that exists in some Centre's, but it ties in with the second point below.

quote:Originally posted by Jeffrey S.

2) As a complement to the above, the CSA needs to work harder, faster, and with more ambition in ensuring stadiums where we can play international matches. The only year-round sites we have are in Vancouver and Victoria. Size is limited. As the possibility of playing international matches could be increased with the inclusion of artificial turf venues, the CSA needs to work more closely with FIFA and CONCACAF to ensure that such venues are approved for official matches as soon as possible. It is not good enough to passively follow FIFA's slow but steady progress in this regard.

I think that this needs to include the development of a decent size soccer friendly facitility in Toronto 25,000+, working to expand facitilies in Vancouver and Montreal to get them to the 15,000+ . A 65,000 stadium in Edmonton is more than adequate as a "national Stadium" track notwithstanding. But it is also imprortant to ensure that Soccer friendly surfaces are put into the various outdoor CFL Stadiums, and that smaller facitiltes are upgraded. I'll use Sasktoon as an example, but it could be anywhere. Gordie Howe Bowl is a decent facility with a FIFA regulation gras pitch. Seats 3000 or so, but could easily and cheaply be expanded to double that, although it would be the bleacher style seating. Some capital dollars for washrooms and concession to go with the capacity and you have a venue that is Ok for the A-League, and lessor national team games, whether Olympic qualifier, U-xx, or even early WCQ games. It would not take a huge amount of money, but would need, as would all elements of this point, a CSA liaison worknig closely with Federal, Provincal and municiple government. Indications are, that the Toronto component of this is moving forward. Montreal may not be that difficult as the Impact are drawing well. This will require commitment on the CSA's part, to hold national team games in these venues. And a national strategy on Stadium development. Does one exist?

quote:Originally posted by Jeffrey S.

3) Canada is one of the few nations in the world without it's own league. We all know the reasons for this. Yet the most natural thing for fans is to support a team from their city or region, following their games throughout a season. If the reality now is to play in A-League as the highest aspiration for a club, the CSA needs to get behind our clubs and support them where they can. One way is related to 2) above, helping to improve venues. Small investments coinciding with international matches could help in this sense.

The A-League is not enough however. The CSA also has to do more to establish some sort of national championship. Currently the Voyageur Cup is the closest thing we have to crowning a national club champ. Fans want the thrill of having their club compete for such a prestigious title. A simple model of the A-League sides could give us a final 4 weekend; the model could be widened to include semi-pro teams. Exactly how it is done is not overly important.

Canada deserves to have a national champion that can play in CONCACAF club competitions as well; that we don't is a black mark against our entire national program (in all nations the equivalent FA or Federation is involved in supporting such endeavours).

Absolutely. There are a lot of things that the CSa can be doing with the A-League teams in terms of support. Double headers as is done with the MLS, helping to improve venues as you point out. And their could be a quid pro quo involved as well. It is an absolute shame that Wyn Belotte has not been picked up by an A-League team. Why is that? Two years ago he was arguably the best 17 year old in CONCACAF and now he can even play with the Storm? And why has someone not stepped in to give Menezes a run out? Whatever the alleged deterioration in his game, there is no question he could help Toronto and/or Calgary for sure. Surely both would be prepared to play for whatever A-League payers make versus sitting on one's behind? Especially if escape clauses (even cheapish buyouts) were build into the contracts.

As for the National Cup, this is something that the CSA has to find a sponsor and get it done. Hell, only include the A-league teams off the bat if that will help get it organized.

quote:Originally posted by Jeffrey S.

4) More respect for our club sides also means ensuring that the national team program takes them seriously as a source of talent. Holger Osieck's disdainful comments about Jordan and Budalic after the German friendly are a shameful example of disrespect for players eager to represent our country, and having made them to the German press should be cause for a reprimand from the CSA. Being national team coach does not mean having a free hand, but should entail some discipline and, to boot, realism. The CSA needs to mandate our national team coaches to respect and use North American based players on the national teams without qualms. No more excuses about overseas club committments. Let us enjoy what we have instead of living a permanent illusion of a "full side". All of Cuba's national team players are active on clubs in Cuba: are they better than A-League sides?

The consequences of this would mean that we could more readily fulfill the demands of point 1) above.

I think the answer here is a National B team based on North American and out of season European based players. I have problems with "mandating" any player selection. The TD should be judged on his results. Out of season players and Club commitments are a fact of life for Canadian soccer. A stronger group of A-League franchises and a National B team will give the TD a better chance to see some of the players that might be able to contribute to the full side, if even as back-ups.

quote:Originally posted by Jeffrey S.

5) Next comes playing style. Not only have we serious distortions from the international model in terms of no home games, poor stadiums, no all-Can pro league, no national champ, no clubs in confederation competitions, but we have distorted the basic principles of play itself.

This may be the most arguable of my proposals, but here goes.

International football is moving more and more towards a certain unity of style. I think that perhaps the World Cups were more attractive years ago when teams had a more distinct style, when Germany vs. Brazil meant a clear clash of football mentality, but things have changed. The national program needs to respond to the realities of modern soccer. Ball control and tactically astute positional play are key to success, apart from being, in my opinion, more attractive in the long run (take our first halves vs. Scotland and Germany as examples). Physical strength and talent with the long ball are only complements to this. In the long run teams need to work on a style that adjusts both to their individual talents, as well as look for individuals who can respond to the modern game. Our players are based in so many different soccer cultures, but most are moving towards a more technical model (especially the younger ones), and fans are more and more eager to see it. Players need to be able to pass correctly and find the open guy, move as a block forwards and backwards. If you have the ball you have the game in your hands. This is clearly what Canada has not shown itself able to do in the last two games we've played. This is the fault of deficient coaching.

As a complement to this, players should play in or close to the positions they normally hold down over 6-10 months with their clubs, though slight adjustments can always be made. In the mid-term playing defenders as strikers cannot be a valid solution, McKenna's occasional goals notwithstanding. We need to return to a natural order in terms of positions, and respond to the modern game by playing formations that offer real possibilities of success.

I agree here most part. There are several factors to bring into play however. I thought we were progressing fairly well in this regard until the Cuba game. It seemed we came out flat and then quickly abandoned the style. The style of play is a choice by the Technical director and Holger has yet to truely commit to a more ball control style. Given the lack of NT games, to implement the style is going to require NT camps. The World Cup is the perfect excuse to start these. Get a commitment now, from everybody who reasonably figures in the equation. Give some latitude to players with club issues but set out minimum standards and a schedule that reasonably allows these players to meet the minimum standards. Hold the camps in Europe around FIFA dates, have one in the off season for both the spring/summer leagues and the Fall/Winter leagues. And implement the style. $ will be a problem of course, but it is the World Cup so go out and get the sponsorship. Some home games might help the $ situation too.

Playing players in their natural positions seems like a good idea. Reality is though, is that we have 5 or 6 left backs amongst what I think are our best 25 players. We see Hannover experimenting with Julian DeGuzman at left back, but he is almost cetainly our best attacking mid. Brennan is going to play left mid for Norwich, but had he not moved we could possibly see Brennan, DeGuzman, Klukowski, Pozniak, Hastings and Jazic all playing left back for their club sides, yet all six, arguably, are in Canada's top 25 players right now. Mckenna is a striker (this is how Hearts use him now), but Stalteri is not, and should always play in the midfield whenever he dresses for Canada.

quote:Originally posted by Jeffrey S.

6) On the other hand this means a certain attention to natural hierarchies. In nations where most national team players play in the home league, it is very rare to find someone in a lower division called for national team duty (though I know of exceptions, to be sure). This is not a rule, but it is an unwritten guideline. A natural order.

For Canada, without most top players in Canada, this means respecting certain international hierarchies and calling up those who are excelling at the highest level of clubs, when available. Club play is week in week out and is usually the only valid barometer of a player's form over the course of a year. It cannot be replaced by a hierarchy based on loyalty to the national team coach and abstract biases that are not based on objective reality. This need not contradict what I said about the A-League players as long as a call-up is done consciously without our best players, such as for the sake of playing a home match in a small venue with the senior nats, or trying out new faces to widen the player pool.

No argument with this. Speaks for itself.

quote:Originally posted by Jeffrey S.

7) Realistically Canada has poor possibilities of making the HEX and even remoter chances of getting to the next World Cup. Our results simply are not there; we have no authority on the field, not even when winning and especially when losing. What point is there to put all the eggs in this basket? Let's try to win everything that is reasonably at hand, whether on a club or national side level. And add competitions as suggested in 3).

Fans will be happy to see a team that plays to its potential, whether the local club or the national sides. A team that plays well and wins, a showcase for talent. Fans want to celebrate wins and trophies. If clubs can find their way to a national championship or an A-League title, our national sides have to take seriously the possibilities of winning anything. Lately the closest we've come is with the under 19 women WC and the CONCACAF championship for women. We cannot take the Gold Cup lightly either. It is our chance to win in our region and enter the international stage at the Copa America and Confed (if still around in a few years). We cannot ever again release players for Gold Cup as a trade-off for WC qualifying, since in any case we will certainly see that such trade-offs won't actually exist in the crunch.

This is where we diverge a bit Jeffrey. We have poor possibilities of advancing to the Hex only as long as we fail to play enough games, and allow issues other than performance (except potential because the argument can be made for playing potetial in both Friendlies and Gold Cup) to determine which players take to the pitch. I think that we have the player to finish top four inthe next hex. But they have to get in sych with each. They have to play some freaking games as a team and we have to both get, and give, some commitment to the players. Would Fernando commit if he recieved a commitment from Canada that he would be given every opportunity to play based on his performance. I don't agree with guaranteeing anyone a permanent starting spot, but I do agree that players have to be given an opportunity to strut their stuff on the stage. That means more than one game, or a few sub in appearances. That might be fine to break in young guys but established pros have to be given some respect. I do agree that we have to grow the domestic game. I do think, however, that if our chances of making the hex are remote, doing well enough in the Gold Cup to get to the Copa or Confed Cup are remote as well. The two are linked. And yes, we should take the Gold Cup reasonably seriously, but when we play, at best, a half dozen friendlies a year, we can not afford to ignore issues of transition, and working in players that are on the vege of surpassing vetrans. We need to blood players in games that matter. We need to address difficiencies in our team and audition possible replacements. this is hard to do solely in the few friendlies we play. And unfortunately, barring the addition of 4-5 friendlies over what we now play, the Gold Cup is one of our opportunities to do so. And I dont think we can afford to not use it as such.

Australia is a warning for us that needs to be heeded. Even very good players are going to fail if they don't have a chance to play together. Oz has some tremendous players, but getting called only for the last two games of thier qualifiying campaign did them in.

quote:Originally posted by Jeffrey S.

8) This is a perfect time to reconsider the director of our national men's program. He has done a lot for us, many things can be built on from here; time to move on though. The inertia is negative with little sign of changing. The CSA has the chance to return things to a certain peace and tranquility before WC qualifying with a change of national men's coach, a change of direction. Now is the time. The fans deserve more, and it is the CSA's responsibility to wake up and deliver in so many of the areas where more can be had.

There are for me, several issues that have become apparent in the last year or so. Player selection is one. I have been willing to give Holger the benefit of the doubt due to injury and no shows. But recently it is becoming abundently clear that there are questionable decisions being made. Holger has his biases and they are becoming a detriment. His favouring of in season versus out of season players has merit, but only when the gap between the players is not large. And when he does deviate from this, it is for reasons that do not seem to have to do with performance (i.e. Fenwick versus Pizzolitto) but rather issues of experience or loyatly to a favourite.

His game day managing also seems to be questionable. His substitution patterns, when he actually uses substitutes, are hit and miss. Germany is a good example. His failure to recognize tiredness in his team for Cuba another.

He also seems to be alienating players at an alarming rate. One happens, two might be a coincidence, but when we are hitting 3, 4 and maybe more, then we have a problem, and it is not the players. Maybe differences are overstated, maybe rumours are taking on a life of thier own, or maybe Hogler has a problem dealing with players in a minnowish soccer culture who may require a tact that say a German player might not. Becasue there is certainly not the same amount of public pressure on a Hargreaves, a Radzinski, a Jazic that there would be if they were comparable talents in a nation like Brazil, Germany, Italy or England. Similarily, could one omit an Aguiar (and we are talking relatively here) from selection in these countries without the coach getting significant criticism.

Lastly, the style of play is inefficeint for the environment that we have to qualify in. We need a coach that recognizes that we need results onthe road to qualify fr teh world cu ad that the "direct" style is not going to cut it in Central America, Mexico, or the Carribean. I am not saying drop it form the repitoire, as it will be effective in Canada and it does pose problems for those very same opponents as they do not see it much. But we have to play a more sophisticated style and let the ball do the running (as your recent sig suggests Jeffrey).

Do these changes require Holger's departure? Perhaps not, but at the very least, it requires an epiphany on Holger's part.

The opinions expressed above are just that.

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quote:Originally posted by Gordon

As promised, a long response to the points Jeffrey raises. Only my opinions of course.

This is essential, in my opinion. Both the men's and women's teams need to play at home, and I would suggest taking a page out of the American's book and tag teaming the games with A-League and W-League games to try to pump up the number of people viewing their local club side. Obviously this is not as effective with the limited seating that exists in some Centre's, but it ties in with the second point below.

I think that this needs to include the development of a decent size soccer friendly facitility in Toronto 25,000+, working to expand facitilies in Vancouver and Montreal to get them to the 15,000+ . A 65,000 stadium in Edmonton is more than adequate as a "national Stadium" track notwithstanding. But it is also imprortant to ensure that Soccer friendly surfaces are put into the various outdoor CFL Stadiums, and that smaller facitiltes are upgraded. I'll use Sasktoon as an example, but it could be anywhere. Gordie Howe Bowl is a decent facility with a FIFA regulation gras pitch. Seats 3000 or so, but could easily and cheaply be expanded to double that, although it would be the bleacher style seating. Some capital dollars for washrooms and concession to go with the capacity and you have a venue that is Ok for the A-League, and lessor national team games, whether Olympic qualifier, U-xx, or even early WCQ games. It would not take a huge amount of money, but would need, as would all elements of this point, a CSA liaison worknig closely with Federal, Provincal and municiple government. Indications are, that the Toronto component of this is moving forward. Montreal may not be that difficult as the Impact are drawing well. This will require commitment on the CSA's part, to hold national team games in these venues. And a national strategy on Stadium development. Does one exist?

Absolutely. There are a lot of things that the CSa can be doing with the A-League teams in terms of support. Double headers as is done with the MLS, helping to improve venues as you point out. And their could be a quid pro quo involved as well. It is an absolute shame that Wyn Belotte has not been picked up by an A-League team. Why is that? Two years ago he was arguably the best 17 year old in CONCACAF and now he can even play with the Storm? And why has someone not stepped in to give Menezes a run out? Whatever the alleged deterioration in his game, there is no question he could help Toronto and/or Calgary for sure. Surely both would be prepared to play for whatever A-League payers make versus sitting on one's behind? Especially if escape clauses (even cheapish buyouts) were build into the contracts.

As for the National Cup, this is something that the CSA has to find a sponsor and get it done. Hell, only include the A-league teams off the bat if that will help get it organized.

I think the answer here is a National B team based on North American and out of season European based players. I have problems with "mandating" any player selection. The TD should be judged on his results. Out of season players and Club commitments are a fact of life for Canadian soccer. A stronger group of A-League franchises and a National B team will give the TD a better chance to see some of the players that might be able to contribute to the full side, if even as back-ups.

I agree here most part. There are several factors to bring into play however. I thought we were progressing fairly well in this regard until the Cuba game. It seemed we came out flat and then quickly abandoned the style. The style of play is a choice by the Technical director and Holger has yet to truely commit to a more ball control style. Given the lack of NT games, to implement the style is going to require NT camps. The World Cup is the perfect excuse to start these. Get a commitment now, from everybody who reasonably figures in the equation. Give some latitude to players with club issues but set out minimum standards and a schedule that reasonably allows these players to meet the minimum standards. Hold the camps in Europe around FIFA dates, have one in the off season for both the spring/summer leagues and the Fall/Winter leagues. And implement the style. $ will be a problem of course, but it is the World Cup so go out and get the sponsorship. Some home games might help the $ situation too.

Playing players in their natural positions seems like a good idea. Reality is though, is that we have 5 or 6 left backs amongst what I think are our best 25 players. We see Hannover experimenting with Julian DeGuzman at left back, but he is almost cetainly our best attacking mid. Brennan is going to play left mid for Norwich, but had he not moved we could possibly see Brennan, DeGuzman, Klukowski, Pozniak, Hastings and Jazic all playing left back for their club sides, yet all six, arguably, are in Canada's top 25 players right now. Mckenna is a striker (this is how Hearts use him now), but Stalteri is not, and should always play in the midfield whenever he dresses for Canada.

No argument with this. Speaks for itself.

This is where we diverge a bit Jeffrey. We have poor possibilities of advancing to the Hex only as long as we fail to play enough games, and allow issues other than performance (except potential because the argument can be made for playing potetial in both Friendlies and Gold Cup) to determine which players take to the pitch. I think that we have the players to finish top four in the next hex. But they have to get in sych with each other. They have to play some freaking games as a team and we have to both get, and give, some commitment to the players. Would Fernando commit if he recieved a commitment from Canada that he would be given every opportunity to play based on his performance? I don't agree with guaranteeing anyone a permanent starting spot, but I do agree that players have to be given an opportunity to strut their stuff on the stage. That means more than one game, or a few sub in appearances. That might be fine to break in young guys but established pros have to be given some respect. I do agree that we have to grow the domestic game. I do think, however, that if our chances of making the hex are remote, doing well enough in the Gold Cup to get to the Copa or Confed Cup are remote as well. The two are linked. And yes, we should take the Gold Cup reasonably seriously, but when we play, at best, a half dozen friendlies a year, we can not afford to ignore issues of transition, and working in players that are on the vege of surpassing vetrans. We need to blood players in games that matter. We need to address difficiencies in our team and audition possible replacements. this is hard to do solely in the few friendlies we play. And unfortunately, barring the addition of 4-5 friendlies over what we now play, the Gold Cup is one of our opportunities to do so. And I dont think we can afford to not use it as such.

Australia is a warning for us that needs to be heeded. Even very good players are going to fail if they don't have a chance to play together. Oz has some tremendous players, but getting called only for the last two games of thier qualifiying campaign did them in.

There are for me, several issues that have become apparent in the last year or so. Player selection is one. I have been willing to give Holger the benefit of the doubt due to injury and no shows. But recently it is becoming abundently clear that there are questionable decisions being made. Holger has his biases and they are becoming a detriment. His favouring of in season versus out of season players has merit, but only when the gap between the players is not large. And when he does deviate from this, it is for reasons that do not seem to have to do with performance (i.e. Fenwick versus Pizzolitto) but rather issues of experience or loyatly to a favourite.

His game day managing also seems to be questionable. His substitution patterns, when he actually uses substitutes, are hit and miss. Germany is a good example. His failure to recognize tiredness in his team for Cuba another.

He also seems to be alienating players at an alarming rate. One happens, two might be a coincidence, but when we are hitting 3, 4 and maybe more, then we have a problem, and it is not the players. Maybe differences are overstated, maybe rumours are taking on a life of thier own, or maybe Hogler has a problem dealing with players in a minnowish soccer culture who may require a tact that say a German player might not. Becasue there is certainly not the same amount of public pressure on a Hargreaves, a Radzinski, a Jazic that there would be if they were comparable talents in a nation like Brazil, Germany, Italy or England. Similarily, could one omit an Aguiar (and we are talking relatively here) from selection in these countries without the coach getting significant criticism.

Lastly, the style of play is inefficeint for the environment that we have to qualify in. We need a coach that recognizes that we need results onthe road to qualify fr teh world cu ad that the "direct" style is not going to cut it in Central America, Mexico, or the Carribean. I am not saying drop it form the repitoire, as it will be effective in Canada and it does pose problems for those very same opponents as they do not see it much. But we have to play a more sophisticated style and let the ball do the running (as your recent sig suggests Jeffrey).

Do these changes require Holger's departure? Perhaps not, but at the very least, it requires an epiphany on Holger's part.

The opinions expressed above are just that.

The opinions expressed above are just that.

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quote:Originally posted by JayWay

I wish Holger would buy Joaquin. Or alteast get him on loan.

"Winning is most important. Everything is a consequence of that."

-Ayrton Senna (1960 - 1994)

LOL. I guess I did too many Think and Do books as a kid, and not enough Paint by Numbers. I never was one for the passive response to problems.

The opinions expressed above are just that.

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