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Save Our Soccer

In my capacity as a more than passionate fan of Canadian soccer, I feel compelled to draw your attention to the incompetent leadership of the Canadian Soccer Association and the serious repercussions this has had on our Senior Men’s National Soccer Team.

Through the eyes of Canadian culture, the game of soccer has always been viewed as a low profile sport. I find this somewhat perplexing in light of the C.S.A.’s disclosure that they have a registered membership which exceeds 800,000 active players. Based on this figure, a significant percentage of the Canadian population has either a direct or indirect interest in soccer. I find it even more perplexing, that so many can adopt such a nonchalant the acceptance of the alarming downward spiral which our National Team has experienced during the past year in particular and the over the last 18 years in general.

The Problem: In September 2004, Canada is ranked in an all-time low 99th place. This is a drop of 20 positions in the FIFA rankings over the past year and reflects a trend which has been quietly allowed to continue for the last 18 years. In July of 2000, at the start of qualifying for Korea/Japan, Canada ranked 55th in the world. The previous campaign started in 46th place and only a decade ago we were 44th. At the 1986 World Cup, Canada had been one of 24 participating nations. In the span of 18 years, Canada has gone from competing at the world’s showcase competition to 5 failed qualifying attempts and at the brink of relegating out of the top 100 nations in the world? An investigation into these failures will reveal where the ultimate responsibility must rest.

During the last 18 years, there have been 65 different players who have represented Canada in five unsuccessful World Cup qualifying attempts. Most of these players have had to pursue their careers overseas, because there has been very minimal growth in the number of paid soccer playing positions in Canada during this time. Some of these 65 players have enjoyed successful careers in nurturing soccer environments, yet when they answer the call to represent Canada, they have consistently been prone to failure. Why? Could the lack of preparation be a contributing factor? Records show that the Canada has gone three years without playing a friendly or competitive match on Canadian soil. How can the C.S.A. expect our players, returning to Canada just three or four days prior to a World Cup qualifying match, to perform successfully? The best individual players in the world, called together for the first time on short notice and pitted against a properly organized team, can scarcely be expected to prove successful. The C.S.A. repeated this unsuccessful method for five consecutive World Cup qualifying campaigns, each time leaving the players and fans alike with familiar disappointment. Sadly, a lack of cohesion has now become a blatant Canadian trademark in the international soccer arena.

A Solution: Canada needs to establish a permanent national “B” team, one comprised of the best young players competing in North America. These players would be more accessible and able to assemble several times during the year for training camps. They could gain valuable international experience from Gold Cup tournaments, Olympic qualifiers and U20 matches. This would also provide an excellent opportunity for the C.S.A. to start organizing international matches in Canada. Of course, our players who are performing at the highest levels overseas should always be invited to play for the World Cup team, provided they bring a positive attitude. Does it not make sense that a cohesive and young Canadian team, supplemented with the right mix of successful and experienced overseas players, would outperform a team which is selected from players competing on second or third division teams in leagues scattered throughout the globe? We are all too familiar with the results that the C.S.A. model has produced. Is it not high time we try a different approach?

The Problem: During the past 18 years, six different coaches have been in charge of the National Team; Bob Bearpark, Tony Taylor, Bob Lenarduzzi, Holger Osieck, Colin Miller and Frank Yallop. Are the coaches responsible for all the failures? If so, who is responsible for hiring them? Since 1986, four men have served as presidents of the C.S.A; Fred Stambrook, Terry Quinn, Jim Fleming and Andy Sharpe. Are these men the ones who should be held accountable? 65 players, 6 head coaches and 4 presidents have come and gone since Canada competed at the Mexico World Cup Finals 18 years ago. To a degree, each has contributed in one or more of the five heartbreaking campaigns, but none of the above had a part in all five failures. That accomplishment is held solely by Kevan Pipe, the Chief Operating Officer of the C.S.A. For 18 long and futile years, from 1986 to the present, Kevan Pipe has been the Chief in charge of Canadian soccer. During this time, he has never been held accountable for the poor performances of the enterprise he is responsible for overseeing. Five unsuccessful qualifying campaigns and the loss of a professional domestic league are just part of the legacy of Chief Pipe’s reign. The promotion of World Cup matches hosted by Canada has never proved to have been a C.S.A.’s strong suit either. Few Canadians, outside of the small hardcore group of supporters, are usually aware that Canada is hosting international match until the lowlights appear like footnotes on a sportscast, after the fact. This lack of promotion has had devastating effects on the entire scope of soccer growth in Canada. It does not foster any new fan interest, which consequently fails to arouse any media interest and why would sponsors show an interest if no one else does? It all translates in a loss of millions of dollars and in today’s world if there are no dollars, there’s no interest. If the C.S.A. is a democratically run association, then why have the board of directors failed to hold Chief Pipe accountable for his lack of stewardship? Is the Chief Operating Officer position, Chief Pipe’s for life? If this is the case we may as well brace ourselves for 18 years of more of the same, because Chief Pipe has clearly demonstrated that he lacks the vision required to lead Canadian soccer forward.

A Solution: If you find the past performance of the Canadian Soccer Association’s Chief Operating Officer, Kevan Pipe, unacceptable, then the time has come to voice your concerns. PLEASE take a few minutes of your time and e-mail one member of the board of directors, which are listed below, and express how much you care about Canada’s national soccer team.

Viva La Revolution.

Robert Bernard Janning


Andy Sharpe


Director: Manitoba President

Stew Duncan


Director: Ontario President

Colin Linford


Director: Newfoundland President

Doug Redmond


Director: New Brunswick President

Derek Wisdom


Director: Nova Scotia President

Steve Dalziel


Director: Technical

Richard Labron


Director: Prince Edward Island President

Mike Redmond


Director: Quebec President

Dominic Maestracci


Director: Saskatchewan President

Rob Newman


Past President:

Jim Fleming


Chief Operating Officer

Kevan Pipe


Director: Yukon President

Dave Stockdale


Director: British Columbia President

Victor Montagliani


Director: Professional

Nick Filippone


Canadian Minister of Sport

Stephen Owen


National Staff Coach

Sean Fleming


Canadian National Coach

Frank Yallop


Former Canadian Coach

Tony Waiters


Executive Director: Saskatchewan

Bjorn Osieck



Gerry Dobson


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Great writing Robert, it was a pleasure reading it and seeing so clearly with facts and figures the poor performance of the CSA and its leaders. Perhaps if you intend to use your article further you may want to correct the list of the coaches. I don't think Bob Bearpark ever coached de senior side. In any event you are missing Barrie Clark and Tony Waiters in the list.

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quote:Originally posted by Canadienfan

And in my inebriated state I had this vision-turning on the tv and seeing an image of a bullet ripping thru the head of Kevan Pipe. The head zombie had been stopped!

No matter how much one dislikes Mr. Pipe, this sort of ****e should never be posted...it may have seemed clever at the time but there is nothing clever about it. No one should ever have to read a posting that mentions bullets ripping through their head.

Wise up.

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