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Canada will never be taken seriously until ...


nutmeg

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Hi everyone,

I've followed this board for some time now, but have refrained from posting, mostly to get a feel for the nature of the board. From what I've seen, especially over the past few days after the Honduras debacle, posters on this board range from rabid, borderline racist freaks to the more moderate, level headed sort. It would seem that any sort of criticism directed against the MNT, which does not even resemble flame bait, is greeted with jingoistic venom I thought was limited to our neigbours south of the border.

I am an expat Canadian who has lived abroad for 8 years here in Asia. I was lucky enough to be here for the 2002 WC and attend half a dozen or so matches. I work with and socialize with expats from all over the globe, people who are the most footbal mad sort imaginable. And you know what?

Our football side is a laughing stock. Period.

We have absolutely NO international sporting credibility. Now, don't misunderstand me. I am a patroitic Canadian football fan first and foremost. It is my dream to see Canada qualify for ther WC. But, sadly, that will never happen until our efforts in sport extend beyond the hockey rink.

Let's face it; hockey, as much as it is a national passion, is a niche sport, played by only a handful of countries, much like cricket or rugby. The Hockey WC is a Mickey Mouse tournament, consisting of only eight teams, specifically designed so that we can have bragging rights about SOMETHING, ANYTHING sport related.

Football, on the other end, is played by everyone. If half as much private funding went into our football side as into ice hockey, our MNT might be a different story. But until the myopic navel gazing in our country ends vis-a-vis a little black rubber disc, our MNT will never been taken seriously, on any level.

I mean, come on. We have no national football pitch. That is an absolute farce. 10,000 people for WCQ, of that importance? Again, farce. I wholeheardtedly salute all the folks who attended that match; if I had been in Canada, I would have busted my ass to go. Unfortunately, the MNT has to play fifth fiddle to the ice hockey, baseball, CFL, NBA, NASCAR and all the other North American based sport that comes before it.

This is not a trolling post, nor is it flame bait. These are the observations of someone who has been an observer for a long time. If I've offended anyone, I apologize, but I think it's important for those who are still in Canada to understand what it's like to be looking in, on the other side. I will venture that those who take offense to this post will realize how close to the bone it cuts.

Regards,

nutmeg

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The Swedes, Czechs and Russians excel at both ice hockey and football. Those countries have climates similar to ours. So why are they better at football? Because football is, and always will be, #1 on the priority list in those countries. Trust me, I know many Swedes, Czechs and Russians who will tell you the same thing. Ice hockey is always an afterthought.

Next?

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We have the talent to win in CONCACAF we just don't have the players playing together, so yes you are right. If our players get to play with each other from time to time instead of only in the few days leading up to a game I don't think we would have any problems.

The best part would be that Yallop would be able to see who are the best players, he could fiddle with lineup's during the friendlies instead of during qualifying.

Saturday he fiddled with the lineup and wasted substitutions! That alone could have cost us the game. Bringing in Peters then taking him out bringing on Simpson then Occean taking De Rosario out. That just is not cool!

We need a league or a cup competition at the very least!

I really wonder what Kevin Pipe and CSA does everyday.

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We have the talent to win in CONCACAF we just don't have the players playing together, so yes you are right. If our players get to play with each other from time to time instead of only in the few days leading up to a game I don't think we would have any problems.

The best part would be that Yallop would be able to see who are the best players, he could fiddle with lineup's during the friendlies instead of during qualifying.

Saturday he fiddled with the lineup and wasted substitutions! That alone could have cost us the game. Bringing in Peters then taking him out bringing on Simpson then Occean taking De Rosario out. That just is not cool!

We need a league or a cup competition at the very least!

I really wonder what Kevin Pipe and CSA does everyday.

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Of course we have the talent to qualify out of CONCACAF. But until the CSA considers the MNT as more than hobbyists, we will forever be stuck in second gear.

I thought Radzinski's comments regarding travel arrangements were bang on, indicitive of the seriousness with which the CSA regards the MNT. Can you imagine the England, France, German or Dutch side travelling in economy class?

BTW, I think Frank Yallop is the right man for the job.

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Of course we have the talent to qualify out of CONCACAF. But until the CSA considers the MNT as more than hobbyists, we will forever be stuck in second gear.

I thought Radzinski's comments regarding travel arrangements were bang on, indicitive of the seriousness with which the CSA regards the MNT. Can you imagine the England, France, German or Dutch side travelling in economy class?

BTW, I think Frank Yallop is the right man for the job.

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Sorry, but your point with respect to hockey is extremely weak.

First of all you paint an inaccurate picture of Canadians. I mean "myopic navel gazing"? Give me a break. Most Canadians hardly think about hockey from May (when their teams get eliminated) to October. Seeing how this time frame coincides with the soccer season, I hardly see how this "national obsession" precludes support for soccer. In fact, I have given you two examples of countries that are passionate about both soccer and hockey. You replied simplistic assertion that in those countries soccer is always considered ahead of hockey. This ignores the simple fact that a nation is an aggregate of millions of people. There are many people in Sweden who follow hockey more closely than soccer - sorry, I won't just "trust you" on your simplistic assumption, as I too have talked to many Swedes and Czechs. Sure, there are more people who put soccer #1, but it's not nearly as lopsided as you think. Similarly, there are many Canadians who put other sports ahead of hockey - in fact, the majority of Canadians don't even follow hockey. Some Canadians (including most people on this forum) are far more passionate about soccer than hockey. But for others, their prime sporting interest may be baseball, CFL, Nascar or whatever. Obviously soccer needs to occupy the interest of a larger portion of the population if we are to see notable success. But to suggest that it must be the #1 sport is simplistic.

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Sorry, but your point with respect to hockey is extremely weak.

First of all you paint an inaccurate picture of Canadians. I mean "myopic navel gazing"? Give me a break. Most Canadians hardly think about hockey from May (when their teams get eliminated) to October. Seeing how this time frame coincides with the soccer season, I hardly see how this "national obsession" precludes support for soccer. In fact, I have given you two examples of countries that are passionate about both soccer and hockey. You replied simplistic assertion that in those countries soccer is always considered ahead of hockey. This ignores the simple fact that a nation is an aggregate of millions of people. There are many people in Sweden who follow hockey more closely than soccer - sorry, I won't just "trust you" on your simplistic assumption, as I too have talked to many Swedes and Czechs. Sure, there are more people who put soccer #1, but it's not nearly as lopsided as you think. Similarly, there are many Canadians who put other sports ahead of hockey - in fact, the majority of Canadians don't even follow hockey. Some Canadians (including most people on this forum) are far more passionate about soccer than hockey. But for others, their prime sporting interest may be baseball, CFL, Nascar or whatever. Obviously soccer needs to occupy the interest of a larger portion of the population if we are to see notable success. But to suggest that it must be the #1 sport is simplistic.

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quote:Originally posted by nutmeg

Our football side is a laughing stock. Period.

We have absolutely NO international sporting credibility. Now, don't misunderstand me. I am a patroitic Canadian football fan first and foremost. It is my dream to see Canada qualify for ther WC. But, sadly, that will never happen until our efforts in sport extend beyond the hockey rink.

Let's face it; hockey, as much as it is a national passion, is a niche sport, played by only a handful of countries, much like cricket or rugby. The Hockey WC is a Mickey Mouse tournament, consisting of only eight teams, specifically designed so that we can have bragging rights about SOMETHING, ANYTHING sport related.

These comments belittle the great job our national ice hockey team has done over the years. We are ranked #1 in the world by the IIHF and for good reason. Anytime a player gets called up to team Canada they give 110%, and try to do our country proud. Remember the competition is much tighter in international hockey than it is in basketball, american football, cricket, baseball etc (all of which would also qualify as "niche" sports)

Don't blame hockey. We produce world-class players and we should be proud.

It's not hockey's fault our soccer team is ranked #99.

Wednesday, 7pm edt Canada vs Slovakia.

Go Canada Go!

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Intrepid,

You strike me as an articulate, thoughtful person, so I won't insult your intelligence and get to the point: you cannot be that naive.

Canadians hardly think about hockey from May? You give me a break. The Stanley Cup playoffs extend into June these days, and eliminated team or no, the majority of Canadians have their TV sets tuned to HNIC on Saturday nights regardless. Any ratings check of the CBC will confirm this.

My "simplistic" assertion that priority be given to football insofar as it must be the #1 sport was, by you, misunderstood. By priority, I mean substantial funding (private and otherwise), national exposure of teams and players, a domestic league with credibility, a freakin' national stadium for Chrissakes. Of course a nation is made up of an aggregate whose sporting interests lie in various categories. What I'm saying is that until football is even considered as a credible endeavor on the national perspective, we will be forever regarded as a third or fourth tier footballing nation. I think our FIFA rating speaks to this.

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quote:The Stanley Cup playoffs extend into June these days, and eliminated team or no, the majority of Canadians have their TV sets tuned to HNIC on Saturday nights regardless. Any ratings check of the CBC will confirm this.

This simply isn't true. I've seen the ratings for all sorts of hockey games, and they're never even a majority of Canadians watching TV, yet alone 50% of the entire country.

quote:My "simplistic" assertion that priority be given to football insofar as it must be the #1 sport was, by you, misunderstood. By priority, I mean substantial funding (private and otherwise), national exposure of teams and players, a domestic league with credibility, a freakin' national stadium for Chrissakes. Of course a nation is made up of an aggregate whose sporting interests lie in various categories. What I'm saying is that until football is even considered as a credible endeavor on the national perspective, we will be forever regarded as a third or fourth tier footballing nation. I think our FIFA rating speaks to this.

Yes, but this is simply a laundry list of complaints that we have all heard time and time again. I agree that these are all problems, but the only idea that you provided to remedy these problems is that we stop following hockey. That seems a little drastic.

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Nutmeg you mentioned our football side is a laughing stock, is it? Most people I meet abroad don't know anything about it at all, which I guess reflects the national attitude. I wonder how many people know we field a football team for these events in the first place, certainly none of the Asians I have met. Did you catch any world cup games in Suwon?

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Soju,

Yes, I saw Costa Rica v. Brazil and Irelnd v. Spain at Suwon. I thought the Suwon ground was the best ground for football I went to (I saw matches at Incheon, Daejon, Seoul and Jeonju).

The crowning moment: Korea v. Italy round of 16 match. Freakin' unbelievable.

PS I like your nickname. Good stuff. Are you in Korea?

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Hmmm.

Nope. I'd say not much to argue against unless you want to niggle about details.

The CSA sucks. Sure. Likely has a lot to do with the feudal nature of football authorities in this country. Country the size of a continent, a winter country at that, I'm sure also plays its part.

Dose the CSA have any business running the senior national teams? Nope. Will they ever create an at arms length body to administer and promote the senior national teams and pro-football? No again.

So dose this mean the MNT will continue to be treated as an afterthought and an expense instead of an investment in the further promotion of the game within Canada. Yup.

But here's a thought which keeps me going. People boggle at the popularity of football. It realy is the only truly global sport besides skirt chasing. But you know what? Twenty years ago I remember thinking to myself how that seemed an odd statement. Football was the sport of Europe and Latin America. Sure it got played in Africa and parts of Asia, but certainly not with anywhere near the same interest, passion, or commitment as it was in most of Europe.

Kinda like it is in Canada today.

But here we are, 20 years on and Asians are footballing like never before. Might just be a blip which'll dry up in a couple of years but I dought it. Thinks it's reached that critical mass necessary to sustain itself indefinately.

So if it happened there, it can happen here, and will happen here. Hopefully in my lifetime. And the sooner the better. But you sort of get the impression the growing pains are only going to get worse before they get better.

But these may be wildly inaccurate observations and assumptions. Don't know.

Being Canadian allmost all my football observations have had to made from afar.

So chin up. And keep your stick on the ice.

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Hi Nutmeg,

I cannot dispute anything you said in your original post, but I would like to comment, that despite our shortfalls, things are improving.

I am almost over the horrific ending to Saturdays game so I feel I can post without making any knee-jerk remarks to which you refer. Anyway, we do have a new stadium being built in Toronto along with a possibility of one in Vancouver. We have two A-League teams operating very well and are arguably the class of the league. We also seem very capable of developing young players, at least until they reach 18, as witnessed by thge success of our most recent U20 and U17 teams.

Having most or all of our first choice players playing in Europe is a major problem, for the sake of WC qualifying, that we all see now. However, our team improves with each half it plays as they become more cohesive. Whether or not they will gel in enough time to get past this round remains to be seen, but is quite possible.

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Nutmeg, I used to live there for a while, not far from the stadium in Suwon actually. I was impressed by how many good football facilities Korea had, I really don't think that this sport is just a flash in the pan in Asia. In regards to what Cheeta wrote, I think regarding countries in south Asia like Thailand it was being followed with passion twenty years ago (I believe it was about 20 years ago they first started carrying EPL feeds on public television) but the country's passion can only be seen within the country, since the messes and corruption going on within their associations make the CSA look brilliant. Here's to hoping it will catch on in Canada beyond the occasional women's match, we'll just have to wait and see.

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Hey Nutmeg, there is no shame in being Canadian. We like Hockey, its part of who we are as a country. There are a lot of other things we do or don't do that are a bit out of step with most of the world, but that is part of what makes us who we are. For example, we don't rabidly deny the presence of homosexuals in our country nor are we hopelessly xenophobic: two of the more intriging qualitites of the hosts of the last world cup.

Soccer, in Canada, is higher up in the sporting conscience than it is in the US. Yet the US does pretty well. The difference? Well a pool of player much bigger than we have and a budget 4 time ours. We, also have to use that budget to fund a seiers of youth teams and womens team at at least 3 levels. Something, BTW, most asia countries - and countries who place soccer high up on a pedastal choose not to do with anything more than the minimum.

Our results are our results. Against Guatemala we played poorly and lost, Against Honduras, allegedly one of the top teams in our confederation, we deserved a clear two goal win and were screwed over. **** happens.

I think that you have been in Asia to long if you are making remarks like...

quote:Originally posted by nutmeg

posters on this board range from rabid, borderline racist freaks to the more moderate, level headed sort. It would seem that any sort of criticism directed against the MNT, which does not even resemble flame bait, is greeted with jingoistic venom I thought was limited to our neigbours south of the border.

...as in Canada we are all entitled to a point of view and they have been wide and varied. Many of us routinely criticize the national team, the csa and the play of players. Yallop has his critics and his supporters. You need to look a little deeper and apply a little more thought to your evaluation. Perhaps you've been too long in a homogenous culture and can't deal with shades of gray in addition to black and white? There is not one poster on this board who consistently posts thoughts view or observations that are consistently similar to mine. The same can be said of virtutally every other poster on this board. We are all unique individuals with a vafriety of perspectives. You blanket genralization is both offensive and remarkably superficial.

You comments on the WC of Hockey also display a remarkable pomposity and perhaps just a little self loathing. Its the game we play. We play it against other nations, big and small. Not popular where the sun shines hot? Well too bad, Nothing we can do about it. It means something to us, as Canadians. Hockey is a part of our national identity. The World Cup created specifically so we can have bragging rights? Please, how pathetic is that. Sorry that the subtlties of the Canadian national identity are lost on you. Perhaps one day we will have a nice simple identity like that of the US or Korea in which there is lots of black and white and everything is spelled out in simple terms. How ironic that someone residing in a nation that places such importance on appearances and that is well know in the international community for cheating to achieve success in sports - use the World Cup and the 10 white elephants as an example of the former, and the world cup and Seoul Olympics as an example of the latter - should make an accusation like that.

At the end of the day, who cares if our football is a laughing stock? Do you seriously think that I give a dman whether the Norwegians, Koreans or Hondurans respect our football? See Nutmeg, I am a fan of the game, and I am a Canadian. Circumstances are what they are. I can't bring myself to hate this wonderful country, nor can I ignore the fact that our overall appraoch to the world and life in general makes us a positive influence on the world. I supose if we were to knife a referee one time, we wouldn't get screwed in our own stadium so often. But really, that is not what Canada is about.

You have my sympathies. You have displayed the common Korean (and occasional canadian) trait of sweeping generalization. Perhaps a little less mayonaise on your pizza and an urgent call home for a copy of a Grey Cup - any Grey Cup - will help you regain some perspective.

Your points - at least the ones that are not gibberish about hockey and the overall world perception of Canada as a sporting nation -are valid. Canadian soccer does need more funding, sponsorship and overall respect. We will not get to a world cup unless we can afford to prepare properly. The lack of a proper facitlity is an embarassment, particulalry Commonwealth this last Saturday.

But really, the bottom line is that we deserved all three points on Saturday and the level of talent of our players is such that canada gets better the more games it plays - as in, we could get to the hex and world cup - if we don't get screwed. Properly prepared - something that rarely happens - we are as good as any team in CONCACAF. But soccer is a team game where fitness, cohesion and team play can regularly beat superior talent - look at the US and Korea in WC 2002 for examples.

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Which model should we follow? The current CSA is kinda confused, attempting to base

itself on a very successful USA model, but WITHOUT the MONEY/funding. You need a strong

domestic league, fuelled by the national association and corporate money, to create some

familiarity with some of the locals. But MLS still falls behind all the other sports,

including NASCAR. Despite this, the USA is in the Top 20 in FIFA. Yet MLS still loses money.

Do we need a CULTURAL change to make it work in Canada? I'm not sure, but drastic infrastructure

changes will at least create some progress, albeit baby steps. This is still a hockey nation,

and only on the ice. Soccer is unfortunately seen as recreational by the masses: lots of

community pitches, but very few major-league stadiums. Basketball is facing similar challenges.

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I agree with pretty much all of what you say. However, Cricket is played by over a billion people and Rugby is gaining in popularity.

I am entirely sure whether you thought a country needs to have a sport to be their passion in order for it to be sucessful and obtain appropriate funding. In my opionion, a sport doesn't necessarily have to be the national passsion in the country in order for it to be sucessful just look at Australia and the silver medal it won in baseball in the olympics. I don't know any Australian that plays baseball. Also with soccer in the States pretty much a fringe sport from a cultural and spectator point of view but America qualified for the last world cup and it is ranked as one of the top 20 nations in the world.

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There is not a whole lot wrong with the way youth soccer is developing in Canada. Its growth is phenomenal and continues to grow. I would argue that it is in spite of the CSA rather than its leadership. I would expect results to improve over time. And results will bring improved fan support and media profile.

It is a myth that the CSA spends too much of its budget on youth soccer because it spends very little. At the national team level, I would agree that the focus should be on qualifying for the World Cup and now maybe putting a good showing for 2007 U-20 on the men's side. The same applies to the Women's side.

I have been involved in youth soccer for many years and I will argue that more money flows to the CSA from youth soccer than it gets back. I will also point out that program sponsorships by Tide, Kellogs and YTV were targeted to youth soccer by the sponsors themselves. Recreational youth soccer is in fact the CSA's cash cow.

Incidentally, has anyone actually seen a financial statement for the CSA? I took a look at the Annual Report pdf online but no financial statement is included.

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