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SF

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  1. Hard to argue with you about Mathaus. His post playing career has been pure unintentional comedy.
  2. The CSA has taken to posting these documents on its website (there was a time when they were very loathe to do so) and I think they should be commended for this kind of transparency. As far as how to read the financials, I think the story is quite telling around both the CSA and soccer in general in our country. The statement that this is a small organization is spot on - very bare bones and limited in what it can achieve. In effect, this is a body that runs national team programs (and they are clearly not expansive programs) and sets standards (though they lack both the means to ensure execution). Further, the revenue base is largely dependent on grass roots fees (approx 40% after you adjust for the revenue items detailed in note 7). This financial model will never allow to the CSA to properly execute a long term national vision/strategy. The financial architecture of the system simply won't allow for top down leadership, which in most successful countries is what you will encounter. So, how do you fix this? That's the million dollar question and likely rests on (a) the sustained success of the mens program and (b) the ability to monetize any success.
  3. Serious question for anyone who might know...how/why did TFC Academy release this kid? Seems to have developed into a very strong pro.
  4. With due respect, I would argue that inviting a tournament who's organizers have asked to receive a tax exemption, circumvent our labour laws and not be subject to standard foreign exchange rules does present a downside. A large one in my opinion.
  5. I was also in the camp of "don't do it", but for slightly different reasons. My thoughts were around the economic risk to soccer in Canada and the diversion of attention away from player development. I am of the view that Canada is a third world soccer country and that the only way out is to deliberately and slowly build from the ground up. If we spend the next 8 years arranging an event, the attention and money required for proper development will be diverted elsewhere. It's impossible to reasonably imagine otherwise. You might argue that the World Cup could provide a financial windfall that could be used for development, but I am not sure - certainly the stories of the last weeks suggest it would not, but I may be wrong. The new information that has troubled me is that FIFA wants to circumvent local tax and labour laws. This is offensive and should not be tolerated in Canada. The matters of grass on the fields, back up pitches, etc... are quite secondary to all of this.
  6. Makes me ask, as a Ontario/Toronto taxpayer, why my governments are OK with these conditions. Some are fine (pitch quality, advertising control), some are utterly offensive (exemption from tax/labour laws).
  7. Agreed about the corruption angle. FIFA is one of the most crooked organizations in modern times and that it took the US justice system to hold them to account surely does not sit well. The more we learn about the bid process the more I think we should run as far away as possible. Speaking as a taxpayer and law abiding citizen. The soccer fan in me is conflicted, but the overall welfare of society (both fiscal and moral) outweighs my passions as a fan.
  8. Chicago has Soldier Field, which is grass
  9. good article, thanks for sharing. As the article states, this has become true in all youth sports. The sport that figures out a way to address the participation among lower income people, will have a huge advantage in terms of recruiting the best athletes.
  10. This is a good summary. Between the CSA, provinces, districts and clubs, the entire system is an unmitigated clusterf*ck. If Herdman can fix that, then all the power to him. Based on the reactions to his hiring, he's starting in a difficult place. That said, I don't really see this is the job of a NT manager. It's an administrative problem that requires an administrative solution. In fact, I would argue his appointment is a function of the problem, not an attempt to address the problem. We've had a succession of CSA leaders who simply don't seem to want to deal with this for some reason. All that said, if he can achieve something here, then he will have dealt with the single most important issue in Canadian soccer. Unfortunately, I could have made the same observation when Tony Waiters was the MNT coach.
  11. Honestly, not much of a player from what I have seen. Apart from some good performances at youth level, has shown nothing at all. Has always struck me as a player who thought he was better than he actually is. Who knows...do wish him the best of luck.
  12. Agree with that, for sure. What we’ve seen is a professionalization of youth sports. No doubt, we produce better players (not talking about just soccer), but at what cost? Only having rich kids play? Forcing families to make abnormal financial sacrifices to chase a pipe dream? It’s all very complicated, but in a way I see an opportunity for soccer. If soccer can somehow become the “cheap” sport and not diminish the coaching standards, it might be able to gain a real competitive advantage over other sports like hockey.
  13. I honestly don't think anyone is getting rich here. The provincial licenses come with high fees because of the cost of facilities, instructors, etc... all of which/whom come at a cost. The instructor him or herself would have had to be trained somewhere at some cost, which needs to be recovered. I've looked into this and am quite sure of what I state. Again, the issue is the flow of funds up/down the system and the ability to generate revenue from the top of the system. Not greed within the system (though I am sure there are some clubs/academies not playing by all the rules, these would be a rounding error within the larger landscape).
  14. I agree with much of this. I have some insight here (from experience) and I can tell you that, by far, the two biggest drivers of the cost are facilities and coaching. The facilities are often leased from municipalities, school boards, private owners, etc.... all of whom have a profit motive (to some extent). The coaches are not paid exorbitant sums, but they are paid and this reflects in the fees charged to players. What we have been unable to do is figure out how to "fix" the problem. There are grants available (Ontario soccer, some clubs have their own programs, external sources), but they are minute in the larger scheme. What I have often thought is that the CSA should be moving money downstream to support development. Not to the provincial associations, but to the clubs on the ground (or, perhaps, the kids and families or coaches directly). I don't mean to suggest that the CSA is overwhelmed with cash, but they did make some money on the Women's World Cup (it's clear from their most recent financial statements) and do have access to revenue streams that clubs do not, including FIFA development money. To me the underlying issue is the disjointed governance and accountability model that is Canadian soccer. You have the clubs on the ground working to develop players (some well, some less so, some much less so), but above them you have a national body, several provincial bodies and countless district associations and, collectively, they seem to have a very difficult time working in concert. I don't pretend to have a silver bullet to rectify this, but I do think the impetus must come from the CSA and allocating development funding would be a very useful tool in such an exercise.
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