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    By: Duane Rollins
    Let’s start this by making something abundantly clear: No one – literally no one – wants the CanPL to fail.  
    Not me, not you, not the players, not the MLS teams, literally no one. We waited far too long for a league of our own and only want it to be successful.
    The CanPL is the ultimate underdog story. It shouldn’t work. In fact, many people told us it wouldn’t work. Yet, here it is.
    That love, combined with the league’s try-hard status, makes people feel the need to protect the league from criticism. It’s as if any negative word is going to cause the whole thing to come tumbling down.
    That’s a dangerous attitude, as independent and engaged media is both a sign of a league’s health, as well as being useful to driving the league to make improvements to areas where they are failing.
    So, if you are uncomfortable with negative information about the league becoming public you should give that some thought. Those of us that are hard on the league are doing it from a place of love.
    As stated, no one wants to the league to fail.
    Caveat to justify what I’m about to write out of the way…
    The CanPL has a money problem. And, it’s far worse than anyone thought it would be when this thing launched. To be clear, I’m not talking about there being a danger of the league folding. The owners went into things with an understanding that they would lose money for a few years. Getting it to 2026 and seeing a World Cup bump after is what the league is working towards and there is no indication that they won’t get there.
    However, a lot of the players currently in the league will not. That is, they won’t without a significant bump in the average pay. Without that, you will see a lot of younger players shooting their shot for 1-2 years before “retiring” to pursue jobs that won’t require them to eat Kraft Dinner every night with their 6 roommates in a 550sqft apartment.
    A couple pieces of news today really drove that home. First was the announcement that Island Games standout Aboubacar Sissoko forgoing a return to Halifax to instead go to the USL to play for Indy 11. It was reported that Halifax made a decent offer, but it is also clear that Indy could afford to make a better one.
    But, the real kicker came later in the day when Valour’s Dylan Carriero announced his retirement. At just 26, it’s awfully young to be stepping away from the game when there isn’t an injury involved. However, Carriero went to university and with a top end salary in CanPL for a player at Carriero’s level, at best, $35,000 it suddenly it becomes very difficult to justify putting off “getting a real job.”
    And, that’s the best case figure. In talking to several players over the past few months, I’ve learned of some truly terrible salary figures. As always, the league is tight lipped about the money, but the numbers I consistently hear are as follows:
    ·       U-Sport player: $10,000
    ·       Domestic rookie: $10,000 to $12,500
    ·       Player with some previous pro experience:  $15,000 to $20,000
    ·       Established player: $18,000 to $25,000
    ·       Star domestic player: $30,000 to $35,000
    ·       International player $35,000 + Housing
    As with any list like this there will be some outlier numbers on either end, but by in large those are the ranges that I have heard. (Note to the league: I’m happy to print any disputing figures that you wish to send.)
    Look, everyone understands that this is a start-up league and no player was deluded into thinking that they were going to get rich playing in the CanPL.  They are chasing their dreams and are more than willing to accept salaries that are reasonably modest in exchange for the opportunity to play their way into a better salary, either in the league, or elsewhere.
    It’s also understood that the CanPL is always going to be a league with a high churn level. Players are either going to move on or move up pretty quickly. However, the players do feel that it’s reasonable to expect a living wage. A significant amount of the league is not on that.
    Sure, you might be able to live on that money for a year or two in your early 20s while you scratch the itch of trying to be a pro player. But, at those numbers – even at the higher end – it is very difficult to justify staying on for much longer that that. In practical terms, that means it’s going to be nearly impossible for a “lifer” class to emerge in CanPL.
    As I’ve written before, having players that make up the core of teams and stay for several years is vital to the long-term success of the league. You need older players, like Carriero, to push and challenge the prospects that everyone is excited to see. As much as fans want to see the young guns, that middle class is arguably more important to cultivate.
    And that won’t happen without an increase in salary.
    It won’t be easy – no one is suggesting it will – but to start that process the league needs to first acknowledge that the need exists. Since they won’t even recognize the Professional Footballers Association Canada right now, it’s unclear if they can take that tiny step to acknowledge the problem.  
    And, you know what they say: The first step is always to acknowledge that you have a problem…

    The evolution of pro soccer in the nation’s capital will take a new step forward on February 11th with the new Canadian Premier League club backed by Spanish giants Atletico Madrid. From there, owners and key figures in the club will have as little as three weeks to get a manager, coaches and a full roster of players ready for pre-season camp, which is scheduled to start at the beginning of March for other CPL clubs. In the words of Sir Alex Ferguson, it’s squeaky-bum time for those building Atletico Ottawa.

    Many of the league’s top players and prospects have already signed elsewhere in the league, and much of the former Fury roster has found new clubs in both the CPL and USL, but there are still many players Atletico Ottawa can to look at and potentially sign before the regular season kicks off in April. The roster will likely include some loan players from the Atletico program, as well as some L10 and PLSQ players, however there is also a chance for Atletico Ottawa to pick up some fairly well-known names in the Canadian Soccer community. Here are five players that I think Atletico Ottawa brass should seriously consider making their first grouping of signings.
    Find the list & analysis on the NSXI Network.

    The Canadian soccer landscape is going through a serious metamorphosis. The last decade has seen the launch of regional Division 3 leagues Première Ligue de Soccer du Québec and League 1 Ontario in 2012 and 2013 respectively. In 2019 the Canadian Premier League played its first season. For male soccer players wishing to play professionally, these are encouraging developments. Prior to the existence of these leagues, the odds were significantly stacked against players trying to make the leap from youth to professional as the gap in playing level was simply too large.
    It is a gap that long time soccer broadcaster and current Marketing and Communications Officer for BC Soccer Peter Schaad knows all too well. Over much of the past year, Schaad and his BC Soccer cohorts have been working steadily to address that issue for BC players.
    The idea of a Division 3 regional league like PLSQ and L1O was included in BC Soccer’s 2016 strategic plan. However at the time the ‘Regional Tier 3 League’ as it was called gained insufficient interest from potential participating clubs and the idea was shelved. But the start of the Canadian Premier League breathed new life into BC League 1 and it was revived.
    Read more on the NSXI Network.

    Langley-born Joel Waterman officially made history on Tuesday afternoon, as he became the first player to make the jump from the Canadian Premier League to Major League Soccer, joining the Montreal Impact for a fee reported to be in the $100k region. Waterman also became the first player sold by a CPL team for a transfer fee, giving us an example of how beneficial the new Canadian first division can be for young footballers in this country.
    Despite being the only player to make the jump to MLS so far, Joel Waterman wasn’t necessarily considered one of the best players in the CanPL. In fact, OneSoccer ranked him just 43rd on their year-end list of the top 50 players in the league. Waterman has many strong qualities though, and if an MLS team was convinced by his quality, then maybe he was somebody we were overlooking all season long.
    Let’s take an in-depth look at what Waterman does and doesn’t bring to the table for the Montreal Impact:
    His versatility is very impressive, and is certainly one of the main reasons Montreal signed him.
    Joel Waterman is a centre-back first and foremost, and while he can play other positions on the pitch, his versatility within the centre-back position on its own is rather impressive. As you know, there are multiple different formations used regularly in all levels of football, and pretty much all of those formations use either 2 centre-backs (a back 4) or 3 (a back 3). The roles played by centre-backs in these 2 formations vary quite a bit more than you’d expect, as do the areas of the pitch that they cover.
    Read more on the NSXI Network

    Thomas Nef has an indepth interview with Adam Hemati, an Iranian-Canadian who plays as a midfielder for Iranian club Persepolis. Learn his story.
    Available in both audio & video formats for your convenience.
    Find it here: https://www.northernstartingeleven.com/canucks-abroad-interview-series-episode-2-with-adam-hemati/

    Ottawa Fury announced last week that they have decided to suspend operations following issues regarding their CONCACAF sanctioning for USL in 2020. There is much to debate about decisions by those involved, however I  want to take this opportunity to look back at the 16 years that Ottawa Fury were operating in the capital region, and all the Canadian players, coaches and managers that this club gave opportunities to, and helped guide along the way.
    Ottawa Fury began in 2003 through John Pugh (current Canada Soccer Association board member), bringing women’s soccer to the capital region in the form of a USL W-League. Between 2003 and 2014, the Ottawa Fury W-League team managed to win nine division titles, made the national finals on three occasions and were league champions once. Over the course of its eleven seasons the W-League team featured such players as Kadeisha Buchanan (now with Lyon and the Canada women’s side) as well as Ashley Lawrence (currently with Paris Saint Germain and also the Canada women’s side).  
    Read more on the NSXI Network.

    On Canucks Abroad with Thomas & Juan, our host interviews Canadian Soccer Players from around the world.
    In this inaugural episode, Thomas interviews Aramis Kouzine, who played a year of futsal with CSKA, was cut from Philadelphia Union, and now plays in the Ukrainian Premier League.
    Catch the whole episode & subscribe on the NSXI Network.

    They are building a league. None of it existed before. It is easy for fans and followers to lose sight of what was so obvious only a few short months ago. Now people are paying attention to players, coaches, teams, formations, and results. But the challenge of winning games, learning your trade as a player or coach, or making tactical adjustments is undergirded by a league infrastructure which has an entire set of its own challenges, difficulties, and pitfalls. From marketing the teams to broadcasting the games to running your venue on game day, everywhere one turns there is a new challenge for the Canadian Premier League. And each of the teams face hurdles to overcome that are unique to their context.
    For Cavalry FC, their contextual challenges have included weather, transportation, and stadium creation. Their home base at Spruce Meadows required a significant amount of construction to get ready for this season including the construction of a large grandstand. Ian Allison, president and COO of Spruce Meadows Sports and Entertainment describes how the combination of weather and construction combined to negatively impact their playing surface.
    Read more on the NSXI Network.

  • Posts

    • Still scoring and putting in great performances for the reserves plus a hugely successful international debut and follow up match. Fingers crossed the break through will come in these last few games.
    • I personally don’t think it takes anything away from the goal. Who cares if it wasn’t as pretty as it could have been? I doubt there is a single Lille fan who celebrated the goal any less.  Did anyone celebrate Davies’ goal vs the US any less because it didn’t look pretty? No chance.    Edit: this isn’t directed specifically to you, Obinna. I realize you weren’t implying it did take away from the goal. I just happened to quote you to make the point. 
    • Sad reality of sports, hoping Neto recovers long term and this should be Theo’s chance.
    • Anytime I see his name it brings me back to reading his book called "The End of Poverty" while in southern Africa and wondering if the guy had ever actually left the US (yes I know he's actually well travelled but his views come across a bit too from Ivory Tower sometimes in my opinion.) He also makes me want to share this Ted talk every time: Basically the IMF has too much patronizing water under the bridge I think for Sach's proposal to work. But i suppose any attempt to help the world understand no one is an island when it comes to virus' is a good thing. 
    • From what he wrote about the move, he really missed his old job covering TFC.  I applaud the guts to try this but I doubt this is going to work.  At $50/year, he needs 1K subscribers to make a livable income.    I won't be subscribing but I'll keep an eye out if there's something that's a must read and I must pay for.  I came to like John as the years passed and he matured/mellowed.  Much more so than his early days when he was an insufferable eurosnob who could barely contain his disdain for Canadian soccer even though was employed to cover it.  He just loved it when Canada slipped up.  He even called Arfield a "mangiacake" among the numerous times he would hurl that at people on twitter.        
    • And James stayed on the bench for Lamia.  And Brym doesn't make the bench for Mouscron. And Flores no where to be seen for Arsenal U23.
    • Yes! Monty Python and SCTV made me who I am today.  That and Soccer Saturday.    I knew I came to the right place... 
    • Below is an interesting article on "Global Financing to End the Pandemic", which for me really highlights the confluence of financial and pharmaceutical interests with respect to lockdowns. This is basically the sales pitch from the G20 and IMF for creating an extra layer of fiat currency (SDRs) that will "start the path of investment-lead recovery", which of course is code for "re-inflate the flawed debt-based financial system that our lockdowns pushed over the edge". Instead of letting the system naturally crash in a deflationary implosion, the pandemic provides them with the perfect cover to re-inflate once more. It is a massive global undertaking to combat against a pandemic that will "continue to disrupt global production, trade and travel", except wasn't it the government response from G20 nations (lockdowns) that disrupted those things, not the pandemic itself? And wouldn't you know...the same countries that caused those disruptions are now here to save the day with their $650 billion solution! That's rich. Definitely not a conflict of interests, right? Anyways, if you're interested, read on. He talks about how "mass immunization is key" to prevent the virus from becoming endemic (spoiler alert, it's too late), and also how $50 billion of these freshly minted SDRs need to go to support "universal vaccine coverage" (nice win for pharma). I also liked how the opening paragraph says how these SDRs will go to "ensure governments in low-income and middle-income countries (pawns) have a means to combat the covid 19 virus", yet later in the article you discover that is to the tune of $20 billion, while "$100 billion or more" will be recycled to the IMF (real benefactor) to be used for long-term, low-interest loans (which support re-inflation). I mean, how self-serving is that? Talk about a con job. Giving the low-income countries the crumbs while taking the lion's share for yourselves, under the guise of doing it for "the sake of humanity". The devil is in the details...  (Edit: Am I being too cynical here? If so, can someone point out a flaw in my perspective? The fact they'll give themselves 5x (or more) for low-interest loans than they'll give low-income governments to fight the pandemic is pretty damning, isn't it? Doesn't that clearly show their intention and priority is to re-inflate? The saying "Watch what a man does, not what a man says, comes to mind". Anyhow, I welcome fresh perspectives on this article from others, thanks.)   https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/global-pandemic-financing-imf-sdr-allocation-by-jeffrey-d-sachs-2021-04 Global Financing to End the Pandemic Apr 6, 2021JEFFREY D. SACHS A new allocation of up to $650 billion worth of the IMF’s reserve asset, special drawing rights, would ensure that governments have the means to combat the coronavirus pandemic and start on the path of investment-led recovery. We must seize this critical opportunity to cooperate effectively for the sake of humanity. NEW YORK – This week’s spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank offer a historic chance for financial cooperation. The major economies, including the United States, the European Union, China, and other G20 countries, have already signaled their support for a new allocation of $650 billion worth of the IMF’s reserve asset, special drawing rights (SDRs), to ensure that governments in low-income and middle-income countries have the means to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and start on the path of investment-led recovery. With leadership, boldness, and creativity, this global financial cooperation can help to end the pandemic. Mass immunization is key. Less than a year after SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was first identified and sequenced, financial backing by governments – including the US, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, China, and India – enabled several companies to roll out safe and effective vaccines. Rich countries that quickly negotiated favorable deals with vaccine makers have received most of the doses so far. But ending the pandemic requires that all countries achieve comprehensive vaccine coverage as soon as possible. In practical terms, the target should be no later than the end of 2022. Such an unprecedented global undertaking requires strong cooperation, including financial support. Yet the urgency should be clear to all. As long as COVID-19 persists at high rates of transmission anywhere in the world, the pandemic will continue to disrupt global production, trade, and travel, and will also give rise to viral mutations that threaten to undermine previously acquired immunity from past infections and vaccinations. Still worse, on the current trajectory, COVID-19 could well become endemic in many regions of the world, imposing high health and economic costs for years to come. As US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen emphasized this week, all countries, therefore, share a strong interest in ending the pandemic everywhere.  The world’s governments established the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), which includes the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility, the vaccine pillar of ACT-A, to ensure universal control of SARS-CoV-2. But while ACT-A and COVAX have established global plans for vaccines, tests, and treatments, the plans need urgently to be strengthened for two closely related reasons. First, the operational target currently used by COVAX – a minimum of 27% of all eligible countries’ population immunized by the end of this year – must be raised to vaccination of all adults by the end of 2022. This is necessary to end the pandemic and to reduce the chances of new mutations. Second, planning until the end of 2022 is urgently needed, given the lead times for scaling up the production and supply chains of vaccines and other crucial commodities. Yet ACT-A and COVAX remain underfunded even for 2021: the $11 billion governments have allocated to date leaves a financing gap of $22 billion for this year – a shortfall that has so far delayed necessary planning through the end of 2022. In the meantime, the current vaccine shortfall is leading countries to scramble to jump the queue, including by paying premium prices. This underscores the urgent need to ensure that all countries, including the poorest, can achieve comprehensive vaccine coverage in a fair and timely manner.  The additional sums needed to ensure universal vaccine coverage by the end of 2022, and other COVID-19 supplies, are modest – perhaps $50 billion for ACT-A. That is a negligible amount relative to the enormous global benefits of ending the pandemic and the massive pandemic-related spending by governments of high-income countries around the world. The US government alone has spent roughly $5 trillion in emergency outlays between March 2020 and March 2021. To do its job, ACT-A (including COVAX) needs front-loaded funding to cover vaccine needs through 2022. Given that scaling up the production of vaccines (and some other commodities) requires a lead time of 6-12 months, the $50 billion should be guaranteed within the coming weeks, so that ACT-A and COVAX can work with manufacturers to ensure the necessary supplies. The IMF’s allocation of new SDRs offers a unique – and perhaps the only – opportunity to get this funding in hand. When the new SDRs are issued, around $20 billion of new reserves will go directly to the poorest countries. In addition, around $100 billion or more that is allocated to rich countries will be recycled to the IMF to be used for long-term, low-interest loans. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has been working closely and creatively with G20 governments to design this novel, promising approach. One excellent idea is to use the SDRs to bolster the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT), the Fund’s financing window for poor countries.   There is an important precedent here. In 2015, the IMF created a Catastrophe and Containment Relief Fund to help provide emergency Ebola-control financing to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. This time, the PRGT financing could be made conditional on its use for ACT-A and COVAX-related procurements and for other COVID-19 control measures that the borrowing government documents to the IMF (such as reimbursements for COVID-19 vaccines that have been contracted by the member state outside COVAX). ACT-A is now preparing estimates of the financing that the world’s 92 low- and middle-income countries eligible for COVAX support will need for vaccines, testing, therapeutics, and other supplies until the end of 2022. Based on the estimated financing needs, an ACT-A financial plan can be established for each country, to be supported by the SDRs and the expanded PRGT funds. In the next few weeks, a rational plan to finance all countries’ COVID-19 balance-of-payments needs until the end of 2022 should emerge. The IMF was created to handle such a balance-of-payments emergency. Access to IMF financing will protect the well-being and macroeconomic stability of individual countries and the world as a whole. We must seize this critical opportunity for the United Nations, the IMF, and key governments – including the US, China, Russia, the EU, Japan, the UK, and others – to cooperate effectively for the sake of humanity.
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