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Fix the structure first! Develop elite youth.


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We seem so preoccupied with sacking the MNT coach (I too agree he needs to go), when our #1 concern needs to be rehauling the overall structure of the sport in this country.

Our #1 concern needs to be to develop better youth coaching and programs that will better develop a high number of elite players.

Let's revist the U20 World Cup and take a real good look at why we did not advance. I comprised a list that highlights the discrepancy in talent and shows where some of these players are today:


Asmir Begovic – Portsmouth (England 1) – on loan to Yeovil (England 3)

David Edgar – Newcastle (England 1)

Jamie Peters – Ipwsich (England 2)

Will Johnson – Salt Lake (USA 1)

Compare this to the teams from the Americas and Europe (I have put a * beside those who have been called up their national teams)


Michael Bradley – Bmosch (Germany 1)*

Jozy Altidore – Villareal (Spain 1)*

Freddy Adu – Benfica (Portugal 1)* - on loan to Monaco (France 1)

Robbie Rogers – Columbus (USA 1)*

Danny Szetela – RacSantander (Spain 1)* – on loan to Brescia (Italy 2)

Chris Seitz – Salt Lake (USA 1)

Tony Beltran – Salt Lake (USA 1)

Bryan Arguez – Hertha Berlin (Germany 1)

Preston Zimmerman – Kapfenberger (Austria 1)


Patricio Araujo – Chivas (Mexico 1)*

Omar Esparza – Chivas (Mexico 1)*

Hector Moreno – AZ (Holland 1)*

Jorge Hernandez – Atlas (Mexico 1)* – former Barcelona Youth

Pablo Barrera – Pumas (Mexico 1)*

Carlos Vela – Arsenal (England 1)*

Giovani dos Santos – Tottenham (England 1)*

Julio Dominguez – Cruz Azul (Mexico 1)*

Adrian Aldrete – Morelia (Mexico 1)*

Cesar Villaluz – Cruz Azul (Mexico 1)*

Christian Bermudez – Atlante (Mexico 1)*

Efrain Valdez – Pumas (Mexico 1) – former Barcelona Youth


Mauricio Isla – Udinese (Italy 1)*

Alexis Sanchez - Udinese (Italy 1)*

Arturo Vidal – Bayer Leverkusen (Germany 1)*

Carlos Carmona – Reggina (Italy 1)*

Gary Medel – Univ Catolica (Chile 1)*

Hans Martinez – Univ Catolica (Chile 1)*

Mathias Vidangossy – Villareal (Spain 1) – on loan Audax It. (Chile)

Nicolas Medina – Osasuna (Spain 1) – on loan Univ. de Chile


Martin Caceres – Barcelona (Spain 1)*

Edison Cavani – Palermo (Italy 1)*

Luis Suarez – Ajax (Holland 1)*

Tabare Viudez – AC Milan (Italy 1)

Mathias Cardacio – AC Milan (Italy 1)

Juan Surraco- Udinese (Italy 1) – on loan SerieB


Pato – AC Milan (Italy 1)*

Marcelo – Real Madrid (Spain 1)*

Jo – Man City (England 1)*

Cassio – PSV Eindhoven (Holland 1)*

Renato Augusto – Bayer Lev. (Germany 1)

Carlos Eduardo – Hoffenheim (Germany 1)

Willian – Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine 1)

Luiz Adriano – Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine 1)


Sergio Aguero – Atl. Madrid (Spain 1)*

Sergio Romero – AZ Alkmaar (Holland 1)*

Ever Banega – Atl. Madrid (Spain 1)*

Angel Di Maria – Benfica (Portugal 1)*

Frederico Fazio – Sevilla (Spain 1)*

Emiliano Insua – Liverpool (England 1)

Mauro Zarate – Lazio (Italy 1)

Maxi Moralez – FC Moscow (Russia 1)

Matias Cahais – FC Groningen (Holland 1)

Pablo Piatti – UD Almeria (Spain 1)

Lauturo Acosta – Sevilla (Spain 1)


Juan Mata – Valencia (Spain 1)*

Diego Capel – Sevilla (Spain 1)*

Gerard Pique – Barcelona (Spain 1)

Alberto Bueno – Real Madrid (Spain 1)

Adrian Lopez – Malaga (Spain 1)

Javi Garcia – Real Madrid (Spain 1)

Antonio Barragan – Deportivo (Spain 1)

Iriome Gonzalez – CD Tenerife (Spain 2)

Toni Calvo – Aris (Greece 1)

Esteban Granero – Getafe (Spain 1)

Stephen Sunday – Osasuna (Spain 1) – on loan from Valencia (Spain 1)

Jose Crespo – Seville (Spain 1)

Roberto Canella – Sporting Gijon (Spain 1)

Adrian Gonzalez – Getafe (Spain 1)

Marc Valiente – Barcelona Youth


Martin Harnik – Werder Bremen (Germany 1)*

Sebastian Proedl – Werder Bremen (Germany 1)*

Veli Kavlak - Rapid Wien (Austria 1)*

Erwin Hoffer – Rapid Wien (Austria 1)*

Zlatko Junuzovic – Austria Karnten (Austria 1)

Ruben Okotie – Austria Wien (Austria 1)

Michael Madl – Austria Wien (Austria 1)

Peter Hackmair – SV Ried (Austria 1)

Czech Rep

Martin Fenin – Ein.Frankfurt (Germany 1)*

Jan Simunek – Wolfsburg (Germany 1)*

Lubos Kalouda - CSKA Moscow (Russia 1)*

Marek Strestik – FC Brno (Czech 1)*

Tomas Pekhart – Tottenham (England 1) – loan Southampton (England 2)

Radek Petr – Parma (Italy 2)

Marek Suchy – Slavia Praha (Czech 1)

Petr Janda – Slavia Praha (Czech 1)

Ondrej Kudela – Sparta Praha (Czech 1)


Dawid Janczyk – CSKA Moscow (Russia 1)

Gregorz Krychowiak – Boreaux (France 1)

Tomasz Cywka – Wigan (England 1)


Rui Patricio – Sporting (Portugal 1)*

Vitorino Antunes – AS Roma (Italy 1)

Pele – Porto (Portugal 1)

Bruno Gama – Vitoria (Portugal 1)

Fabio Coentrao – Benfica (Portugal 1) – on loan to R.Zaragoza (Spain 2)


Steven Fletcher – Hibs (Scotland 1)*

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Great post. I am an avid reader of world Soccer magazine which have many stories of players "who played in the U20WC in Canada" and how well they are doing. Then look at where our players are and the results make sense.

However, there is also a big discrepancy in where the Spanish players from 2003 and their Canadian counterparts are now, yet it took Spain extra time to knock out the game Canucks. Maybe pluckiness is the secret?

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the secret is the lack of a professional sides in Canada. Look at Mexico, they have 3 guys playing abroad. The rest are in Mexico playing with first division sides. Same with the US. They have a handful abroad but the bulk are playing MLS. If you only have 3 professional sides, you are always going to find it tough. Players will reach 18 and have few options, so effectively hang up the cleats.

I agree that there needs to be better youth coaching and programs but effectively that is worthless unless you have professional environments in which the players can train daily, and have an opportunity to develop. If I was the CSA and I said this before on this site, i would concentrate primarily on developing the professional and semi-professional game in this country. If you could identify and entice more kerfoots, saputos, melnyks, etc. to invest in MLS, USL-1, USL-2 sides in Canada and encourage local municipalities to invest in proper facilities like they do for junior hockey (ie. 5k to 10k seat stadiums), those professional sides will take care to large extent of your development of players. Sure that can be supported by the CSA and the provincial associations investing in better coaching, player identification, etc. but that is more the icing. The cake is professional and development opportunties for players 17 to 23 which simply don't exist in any great number in this country. So for every promising Wyn Belotte who goes overseas young and then blows up, the player who blooms a little later is generally lost as they stop playing competitively in an intense environment by the time they are 16 or 17.

The whitecaps structure seems to be the best in North America with a full-time U-19 residency program, a full-time U-18 prospects program, and then regional U-16, U-15, U-14, U-13 sides in about 4 centers (if memory serves correctly). If that could be replicated across the country not only with TFC, and the Impact but in Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Hamilton, Quebec City, and Halifax, Canada would have an excellent structure. The CSL, PSL, PCSL, and the likely Quebec semi-professinal league could then feed into this professional structure.

So I ask the question, what is the CSA doing to develop this. Do they have a person responsible for the professional development of the game in Canada who is mandate is too seek out and identify deep pocketed owners in order to get them interested in the game. It is easy to build a list of existing NHL, CFL, AHL owners across the nation and then set up meetings to make a pitch to them about professional soccer. Or identify the growing list of Canadians who have invested overseas in football, or simply look at the top 100 or so richest Canadians and determine if any have any connection to (1) soccer/football; or (2) roots in football mad nations. Or someone who has a mandate to tour the country and speak with federal, provincial and local politicians to see how funds can be raised to build proper facilities, or whether existing facilities at for example universities or colleges could be used (and in some cases improved) for professional sides. Frankly, I could give a damn at this point in time whether the CSA has hired a technical director. What they need primarily is a buiness development director both in terms of building the professional league in Canada and in terms of building the sponsorship/commercial opportunities. Once they have done that, they can turn their attention to the technical aspects.

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I only want to stir the pot by pointing out that the opening post by TO sounds to me like the "French" school of thinking (which, to be fair, the CSA have tried to emulate with the NTCs), while AO post is representative of the "English" school which is completely laissez faire -leaving everything up to the clubs.

Neither model works for Canada. We have something like $500k per year to spend on the NTCs and the coaching clinics. That would barely pay the janitor salaries and toilet paper budget at Clairefontaine. As for the English pyramid, ignoring 42 years of fcuk all, you can afford to be complacent when you have 92 fully professional clubs in your league structure, all with academies resembling what the Whitecaps are doing, if not much better. Not to mention multiple non-league sides who also contribute to player development. I'm sure the CSA has failed in some respect to grow the pro game in Canada, but they also contributed significantly to getting our one "elite" club into MLS by helping to build the ground.

At the end of the day, it's futile to compare ourselves with England or France. Or even Mexico or the US. I would argue that Russia is a much better comparison. How have they been so successful? Obviously the oligarchs and/or government have thrown a ton of money at the problem, which solves a lot. But the fact remains that Zenit, Lokomotiv, CSKA, and Spartak develop a lot of talent for the national team. Much more so proportionally than Chelsea, Aresnal, Man U, or Lyon, Marseille, or Barca, Real. With Nash and Mallette coming into the Vancouver group and perhaps Gilett coming in with Montreal, and Melnyk in Ottawa, is this kind of money enough to replicate the recent Russian success (ignoring Hiddink, which brings us back to the fire Mitchell thread). Or is there something else the Russians are doing?

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quote:Originally posted by youllneverwalkalone

I only want to stir the pot by pointing out that the opening post by TO sounds to me like the "French" school of thinking (which, to be fair, the CSA have tried to emulate with the NTCs), while AO post is representative of the "English" school which is completely laissez faire -leaving everything up to the clubs.

I'm not sure if i agree or not.

USA holds a residency type program for their U-17's and it seems to have some success. The issue here with issuing any kind of opinion is that the CSA just can't be counted on to adequately support the program and make sure the proper people are in charge.

This is the tough part about discussing anything soccer related in Canada, the possibility that when the CSA tried it, they completely screwed it up.

I have to say that i like the theme of this thread though. As a great philosopher once said " No eggs - no omelettes!". The state soccer is in currently, we need to start from somewhere low on the building scale.

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^As soon as you try to have a realistic discussion about how to move the game forward, it inevitably disintegrates into a CSA skull-fcuk. Nobody thinks the CSA is doing a good job. All the more reason to stop looking to them to solve the nation's problems. Yet to say that they haven't tried to address a national training centre, and haven't recently contributed to the pro game is just false. Our Association has no money. And you get what you pay for.

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^ Yes, but the point is while it might have been a "NTC" in name was there any sign of profesionalism attached to it? Where the coaches held accountable for their performance? Did they use the resources they had effectively?

Money is an easy out to the arguement. If it was the only way to get things done, well check out two of the three teams we played in our group, they have less money than we do.

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Just one note the bulk of the Americans are not playing in MLS but in Europe.... besides that this is exactly where we need to be focusing our efforts at the youth level - we are NOT producing the number of quality of youth player graduates we should be - end of story.

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first off, i do believe that a pro league and more real clubs with youth systems is important for the canadian game. but really, if our ultimate goal is consistently producing players good enough to get us to world cups, i don't think our own league is the most important answer.

our own league would be filled with guys like harmse, pozniak, rosenlund, and other usl calibre players. the odd promising kid would come through and get sold to europe. pay would be low. competition would be passionate and fun for us, but the level would not be high. coaching would be mediocre. Youth coaching at the pro clubs would stay at the same level as what is currently at elite clubs. our own league would not make us technically better. it would simply get 5 or so more kids trials with Euro clubs each year, and whether they make it and succeed is as always up to various factors.

many countries have their own league with the usual pyramid structure, and yet they flounder internationally. in south america, where the leagues are ok and strongly supported, the main question asked is how do we get more kids into Europe faster? what is starting to pay dividends is for smaller clubs to forge relationships with big euro clubs, and sending groups of kids over in bunches on a yearly basis and seeing who sticks.

imo, thats where real improvement will come. getting more teenagers into good clubs for extended trials.

another idea would be to buy a team in Europe and stock it with Canadian players. run it as our NTC residency program but with coaches from that country. attract good coaches by paying them properly and just pay the kids enough to live on. introduce the players into a real pro environment, playing against competition that is better than they are. you only get better by playing against those who are better than you. Like how the TFC academy has a team in the CSL. Our NTC residency could play in a league, somewhere, like in a lower german division or brazil, or japan J2, or even singapore.

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Is the arrival of new pro clubs going to help our ailing national team? I think yes. The main idea I look at for this issue is how much as a nation we care about how we perform as a nation in soccer. Currently the majority of people could give a f*ck. Soccer is not a popular sport in discussion or following, even if it is the fastest growing sport in the country. The larger the game gets professionally in the country hopefully means the greater the support will be for it nationally. We need to achieve a larger, more powerful fan base for soccer in this country before we can even hope to achieve a stronger national program. Funding from the gov't, which is essential, will only come with the growth in interest in the national public. Achieving this growth in interest should be our main concern, as it will act as a catalyst in growing the national program as a whole, both financially and eventually in player development. As much as the Whitecaps, TFC, and Impact residency / player development programs can do, until things get rolling fully nationally, we don't have a hope.

Everything depends on the financing our national program can get. Without the money, things will never work out for the better.

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quote:Originally posted by Loud Mouth Soup

One other note-Begovic has been back at Portsmouth and on the bench for at least a few weeks now.

/carry on

Begovic only appearance on the bench was for this week end FA Cup game against Bristol City. Since his return from Yeovil, Asmir never appeared on the bench, it was Jamie Ashdown who backed up David James.

Ashdown picked up an injury last week and will be out for a month. Begovic will be the back up. Not a good move for him IMO, since he would've been better with a move on loan to a lower division.

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