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TFC vs. Canada


Gian-Luca

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Mentioned this in the DeGuzman interview thread, but worth starting a thread on its own - the score is doing a TFC vs. Canada (aka club vs. country) feature on Friday's program. They want to hear people's thoughts (by leaving comments in response to the following blog post) on whether TFC has any obligation to develop Canadian talent. I suggest making your voices heard.

http://www.thescore.ca/blogs/footy/index.asp?name=footy/2007/12/toronto_fc_v_ca.html

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quote:Originally posted by Gian-Luca

I'll be curious to know how many people who are stating there is absolutely no obligation to develop Canadian talent were following the Canadian soccer scene when the stadium & MLS developments happened.

I don't think too many flat out think there is NO obligation on the part of TFC to develop Canadian players but the question is how should that obligation to develop be met and how does one define it.

Does the start up of an academy that is not fee-based and attracts and develops the best young players available in the area count as Canadian player development? IMO opinion yes.

Does employing a number of players not quite ready for prime time but close count as development? To me yes as well - as long as those players do at some point have a reasonable chance of breaking through - Tyler Hemming for example earned his spot and his chance to break through.

That does not mean Tyler should (or would) expect his spot to be guaranteed just because he was born here. If a player does not have "the stuff" to take that chance than TFC IMO is under no obligation to retain him just to fit an arbitrarily number of Canadian players. Having said that there is enough good Canadian talent (Tyler again being a good example) to fill these roles. Most of them have already done it going south for NCAA spots that most Americans would say they

are "entitled" to but most coaches would say you earn.

Our young players given the chance can compete on level terms with the Americans and in this case that is of what we are speaking for the most part. So let them compete and win their place do not award it too them because they happened to be born or raised here.

Does repatriating the Stalteri's, Radzinski's or even Gerba's of the world count as "player development"? To me no. Would they make the team better? Probably. Should it matter then if they are Canadian probably not.

On the other hand if you believe in a Canadian Content rule no matter what then for you that repatriation of older, more useful players probably does in some sense count as development. But I don't see it can counting as player development - club development maybe but not player development.

As Arsene Wenger would say this club is a business - it is my business to give it the best chance of winning no matter the players place of birth. Do you have to like it? No but it is a reality.

Wow - I'm winded :)

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quote:Originally posted by Bill Ault

I don't think too many flat out think there is NO obligation on the part of TFC to develop Canadian players

There are a few though. And by the same token there is nobody that is saying it should be TFC's #1 obligation & priority (even I haven't said that), but there is also no reason to think of it as an either/or proposition, which some people seem to do. Most businesses & professions operate with more than one obligation & priority in mind, I don't see why TFC should be any different.

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Except...by granting TFC a franchise, and taking any possibility now and in the future of a Canadian League, the alleged trade-off for the CSA was the development of canadian players. While I believe it will entrench mediocrity and was generally a stupid and shortsighted move, the franchise comes with those strings attached. And no, I am not interested in rehashing the debate because taking out the subtle editorial comment that may have crept into my comments, the italicized was much publicized and in fact, stated directly to me by then President Andy Sharpe.

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I think Bill has it right. Except for the fact that I do think it matters that they repatriotize Canadians such as Gerba and Radzinski. Right now, Gerba (and Canadian player development) would be much better off playing for TFC than rotting in the stands of some Swedish team holding out for a transfer fee.

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Whist I agree there ought to be some Canadian's on the first team roster at TFC, it should not be at the expense of the club being competitive. I wonder how many of the first rate Canadian players in their prime currently plying their trade in Europe would be interested in giving up their jobs and moving to Toronto for the kind of salaries TFC is willing and able to pay and the opportunities offered by MLS for what they're worth? I think reason must prevail in this discussion. A sprinkling of worthy Canadians on the first team roster, a good helping of young Canadians on the development roster and a no fee academy for identified prospects I think is more than reasonable fulfilment of any obligation on the part of MLSE to develop Canadian talent.

And as for rehashing the Canadian MLS franchises (and USL-1 franchises too for that matter) killing any prospect of a first division domestic professional league - such a league wasn't going to happen in our lifetime anyway - numerous studies had concluded that. We're better off where we are and where we're going than with nothing which would have been the case otherwise.

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quote:Originally posted by Richard

And as for rehashing the Canadian MLS franchises (and USL-1 franchises too for that matter) killing any prospect of a first division domestic professional league - such a league wasn't going to happen in our lifetime anyway - numerous studies had concluded that. We're better off where we are and where we're going than with nothing which would have been the case otherwise.

Correct. And, despite the challenges faced by the threat to the ratio and quota of Canadians and what it means, there is no denying that ( in just one summer of having TFC/MLS) has presented us with the best report card on the state of the game in Canada in over twenty years.

Much more so than any international event or competition ( eg>: WCQ, U20, etc). Why? because with those events it was to easily fall back on the tired old refrain of just blaming everything on the CSA, travel fatigue, preparation, bad reffing etc. Thats not to say that those factors have no merit, but when we don't get to see Canadian players play regularly every weekend, how are we to know how we really measure up and where the deficiencies are. That kind of information is extremely valuable to coaches in Canada at all levels even if some just don't give a hoot about the national teams. When people use to state things like: "at a U16 or U17 level we are as good as anyone in the world" , we had no evidence to support that. Whereas now we know that there is work to do at all levels. Thats why its essential to maintain the Canadian content quotas in place.

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quote:Originally posted by Richard

A sprinkling of worthy Canadians on the first team roster, a good helping of young Canadians on the development roster and a no fee academy for identified prospects I think is more than reasonable fulfilment of any obligation on the part of MLSE to develop Canadian talent.

So long as the "a sprinkling on" eventually becomes "the core of" the first team roster. :)

There is no reason that in five years, six to eight of the players in the first team could not be Canadians. I hope the development system produces this result.

quote:

And as for rehashing the Canadian MLS franchises (and USL-1 franchises too for that matter) killing any prospect of a first division domestic professional league ...

Wow, let's not only dredge up the rancor for no purpose but change history while we are at it! No national league proposal EVER suggested not including the USL Div1 franchises. The arrival of MLS killed any chance (yes, if there ever was a chance) of a national pro league. The one and only nail in the coffin was more than enough thank you.

Sorry if you do not want to accept that there was a quid pro quo but clearly the CSA made a choice and expected certain things in return for their support of TFC. Failure to live up to that understanding would negate the whole rational for permitting MLS to operate in Canada.

In reality though, I don't see any reason to panic. In the long run TFC will have to be a net exporter of talent which means they will have to discover and develop talent locally. It's not like they will develop an extensive academy system in Nigeria. :D

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"So long as the "a sprinkling on" eventually becomes "the core of" the first team roster."

That of course is entirely contingent upon the players themselves :-)

Proposals for a domestic league can include any teams you like but without the full support, commitment and participation of those teams and more it is all worthless words. Until the MLS event there was little to no chance that Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto would drop out of the USL to throw in their lot with an unknown and as yet non-existent Canadian domestic league. There was no lineup of investors anxious to step in and build a league and not enough adequate stadia in the major target cities to make a league work - you know all that. Yes, the CSA made a choice but it was not a choice made in an information vacuum, it was pragmatic and good common sense in the face of the inevitable and in the best interests of the Canadian game.

Certainly the burgeoning Whitecaps development program and the promised TFC academy are huge steps forward in Canadian player development even if the two clubs field first teams with only a few Canadians on the roster for the foreseeable future.

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quote:Originally posted by Richard

"So long as the "a sprinkling on" eventually becomes "the core of" the first team roster."

That of course is entirely contingent upon the players themselves :-)

Nope. It is entirely contingent on development programs, coaching standards and training, the players, the clubs and the relevant associations all working together. :)
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TFC has an important role to play in Canadian elite player Development. For that matter, so do Whitecaps and Impact.

Now, does that mean TFC should be obligated to field a bunch of 2nd tier Canadians because those are the ones that can be afforded simply in order to meet some sort of random quota number? I don't think it does. I have no interest watching the Marco Reda's and Adam Braz's of the world suiting up for TFC. They are not the present or future of Canadian soccer. These are journeymen and I'd prefer to see them journey off somewhere else.

In my view, TFC (and the 2 USL1 teams) have a responsibility to themselves and to Canadian soccer to invest in developing young players.

TFC, Impact and Whitecaps are examples of what was missing for a long time. These are solid Canadian owned clubs playing a good quality of soccer. These are teams where YOUNG Canadian players should be able to grow into good or maybe very good soccer players with excellent training and the proper nurturing. The best players that come through these clubs will inevitably leave for greener pastures that offer more challenge and better money. This is happening to the best US players right now. Like it or not, this is something that we must aspire to seeing. We must hope that TFC develops a few good/great players that they/MLS can sell to overseas teams, making way for the next up and comers.

TFC, in my mind, has already helped kick start the careers of two young, up and coming players this past season (Gala and Hemmings). Lombardo MIGHT turn into a decent player as well. He was thrown to the fire and got a decent 2nd degree burn. This season will be telling if he really has some quality worth nurturing or not. One thing is for sure...without TFC, its highly unlikely 2 of these 3 young men would have been playing similar quality soccer anywhere in the world. That's not to say that these 3 young men will ever be national team players or will ever be good enough to play for a big club in Europe but its fair to expect that all 3 will have decent careers and could provide some depth for the MNT program in the future.

If 1 or 2 new young Canadian players come up each year, TFC is doing its job. Same for the other clubs. The TFC Academy, if given time (we aren't a very patient lot) will no doubt result in a few future members of TFC's 18 man roster and maybe 1 or 2 really good players. TFC and the other 2 clubs just need to be fully committed to the development procress. This can't be half-assed. We need excellent coaches, top notch training facilities, good scouting, etc... Basically, look at the best soccer factories around the world and try to replicate their success. What's needed is an environment where the best young players compete against other top young players to push each other to be their best. We need an environment that creates a hunger to be the best. If Canada's pro clubs do this even 50% as well as it exists in other soccer-mad countries, the clubs are doing an invaluable service for Canadian soccer.

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