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YEG Round Baller

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  1. Kristian Jack on TSN after the match: "It's the biggest capitulation in Canadian Mens Soccer history, without question. This program has had a long, long history of heartbreak and now we have another significant chapter that will be talked about for many years to come. Up 2-0 and cruising, quite frankly, and they capitualted very, very poorly, giving away goals that were very preventable. We've seen this from Milan Borjan already this year in Vancouver, in the CONCACAF Nations League qualifier, where you just want to put your foot through it. You can't allow them (Haiti) to get back in it. We said at half-time that we just needed to be professional and see the game through. But once you gave them a sniff they were definitely back in the match. You know, again, the weaknesses came to the four fullback areas. Godinho had one eye for the ball, no thought about looking at the Haitian player what so ever, and as I said, it just got worse and worse from there. Once the penalty went in I felt that there was a real frustration that took over the game. We were almost shocked at 2-2, and then you could see the tide trending in the wrong direction. Honduras 8-1, not that long ago in 2012. The 2007 game against the United States (also had a Hutchinson goal called back for a narrow offside). A long history of heartbreak. This is right up there. It's an absolute disaster for the program right now. Kelsey B.: "...what is the long term affect of a loss like this...? This is the first BIG setback that John Herdman's side has had..." K. Jack: "And their first real test. And they failed it. And that's significant, because we've been waiting for them to be tested. And it looked through forty-five minutes that this group of players were ready. And you've got Alphonso Davies, Jonathon David; there are so many things to like about this program. And what we didn't want as a nation was to start having those self-inflicted wounds come up again. Far too many of those wounds of the past have been there. And now you look at this team, they're gonna have to deal with defeat. As top level sportsman they will be aware of that. But this has come FAR TOO EARLY. Nobody on that field expected that today in their first real test and now the big discussion goes to one player. Atiba Hutchinson, THE greatest player that we have ever produced in the Men's Program and he may have just walked off the field in a Canada shirt for the last time, and that is a real pity."
  2. After the 8-1 WCQ debacle, who would have thunk that we would now be complaining about our back line (justified, btw) while two Canadians top the tournament in scoring? Chin up lads and lasses. Call up some natural defenders and give Herdman one more chance.
  3. What? You don't like watching refs stand for 3 minutes with their fingers in their ears and then make a sixty-yard run across the field to look at a TV screen?
  4. I can't see pro/rel coming within the forseeable future. 99% of Canadian sports fans have no idea what that is. 60-70% of Canadian CASUAL soccer fans have little idea what that is. We will have to have an established, highly stable CPL alongside a fairly well-established and reasonably stable D2 for some years before even thinking of pro-rel. "What? --Our City's-- soccer team has been kicked out of the league?" Can you imagine the education required for any local market's fanbase, especially the corporate ticket-holders, as well as the sponsors?
  5. We need to stop fixating on certain numbers, or certain cities, or certain rivalry possibilities. The ONLY thing that matters is financial stability. It is okay to only add one team every four years if that is what is necessary to create a stable, long-lasting, viable league. Take note of the CFL's 1990s United States Expansion project and then do the exact opposite.
  6. Let's get a few years of stable Div 1 football before we worry about D2.
  7. It filled in fairly well by the 30:00 mark. Problems at the entrance gate were worse than the average NASL game. Edmonton crowds are always notoriously late (they have to constantly remind Oilers fans to be in their seats early for "tonight's special pre-game light show," which BTW is almost the same thing every game.) Parking was plentiful (Commonwealth Stadium is next door) albeit relatively expensive ($10), and there is an LRT stop (ie. commuter train/tram) just a five minute walk away.
  8. I am almost certain that the yellow soccer lines at Clarke Park are a permanent part of the artificial turf that was installed for the 2015 Women's World Cup training pitch. The pointy-ball football guys don't seem to mind permanent soccer lines as long as they are not white. There was a huge line-up of people trying to get through security at the front gate until about the 20-25 minute mark of the FC Edm home opener. There were only TWO security people trying to clear the 1500 to 2000 fans still trying to get in. Also, Edmonton fans are late to arrive in general, especially during the NASL days.
  9. Point #1 and #2: Exactly! Offsides seem to be handled well. The problems start when the VAR guy (they are mostly men, by the way) thinks his judgement is better than the on-field referee's judgement. "CLEAR & OBVIOUS ERRORs". I thought this was supposed to be the defining principle of VAR. At this 2019 WWC the VAR officials appear to be questioning and second-guessing the judgment of the on-field referees far too often. If you are an on-field referee, under huge pressure, both because its a World Cup and because you are a female, then I think the tendency has been to change your call just to cover your own butt, even if the video shows your original call to be defensible. The VAR officials have to butt out, keep their opinions to themselves, and stick to OFFSIDES and CLEAR & OBVIOUS ERRORS. And why does it take them 2-3 minutes to look at a play, and only then call the on-field ref over to the video screen. The on-field ref should immediately go to the screen and be part of that 2-3 minute "group" debate. If a judgement call takes 3 minutes to discuss, then it was probably correct to begin with. One again: CLEAR & OBVIOUS ERRORS ONLY.
  10. Well... Coach HM must be held accountable. For the whole tournament he was afraid/unwilling to use his talented bench. Changes were much too late, and not nearly bold enough. Especially against Sweden, when decisive leadership was needed. Why wait until the 84th minute? He clearly needed fresh legs and as much offensive imagination as could be mustered. Beckie , although talented, had a subpar tournament, and should have been subbed at about 60 minutes in both the Netherlands and Sweden matches. I think Huitema could have added much in the last 20 minutes aginst Sweden. Sinclair, seemingly being too Canadian, didn't take leadership at the exact moment it was required ("That Penalty 'TM'"), although I suspect there is more to Sinclair's 2019 WWC story that we have not been told about. I felt nervous after the Cameroon match. Offense was lacking. Fortunately, Canadian mistakes were not punished by the plucky Africans. I felt a little better (but not much) after the Kiwi match, as we actually scored more than once. The Netherlands match was the wake-up call that was not answered, confirmed by the final defeat to Sweden. Change must start at the top, and be mostly concentrated there as well.
  11. It's a miracle the Faths lasted as long as they did. EVERYTHING went against them: The City of Edmonton did less than zero to help them, and in fact, did things that actively worked against the club. See Steven Sandor's posts at "the11.ca" for details. The stadium was poor. All 3,000 to 5,000 of us fans had to squeeze through one ten-foot wide corridor to get into the place. There was one washroom for each gender plus a few porta-potties. The field was covered in permanent pointy football lines and that was only solved due to the FIFA 2015 Womens World Cup installing new turf to use the place as a practice field. The Faths had to buy and install 3000 of their own seats on one side of the field (those were great seats, BTW, comfy and steep and very close to the field - take note future CPL modular stadium builders). The Faths had to rent their own big-screen scoreboard. The "permanent" concrete portion of the stadium was 50 feet away from the edge of the field and had backless bench seating. The Faths had to deal with US-Can Dollar currency fluctuations. Travelling to Jacksonville and Puerto Rico and North Carolina and other places was an expensive, all-day, change-planes-three-times kind of nightmare. There was little corporate sponsorship. There was little media coverage. Local television mentions were limited to the fourth story on the supper time news. Derek VD did his best but Post Media newspapers typically ran only two stories per week. Steven Sandor did & still does fantastic work on his, unfortunately, little-seen blog. Live TV games were not advertised anywhere a casual fan might notice and were hidden away on the obscure CTV2 or equivalent local channel (Gareth, Steve, Gene and the technical crews, again, made the best of a bad situation). With the CPL, chances are the casual sports fan would notice the many mentions, segments, and advertising on TSN or Sportsnet, similar to how MLS is covered today, not to mention widely available live games. We all would see OTHER CPL TEAMS play each other too, and thus have some familiarity with rival teams and players. I remember a Tampa Bay Rowdies game when I found out only after the starting lineups were announced in-stadium, that Joe Cole (Chelsea, Liverpool, England national team) was playing. Only the most hard-core fan ever saw a web-streamed NASL game not featuring FC Edmonton. The only blame I could place on the Fath's was their slow start in marketing the team. They did not reach out to the local youth soccer scene very well, they scheduled games poorly on Sunday afternoons (the City of Edm, and NASL did not help). Things improved greatly over the last two seasons with Friday night games and improved game-day experiences. Jay Ball's hiring was the best thing the Faths ever did. Overall, my non-soccer-fan friends didn't even know the team existed. Being part of CanPL would, in itself, help to START solving most of these problems. The stadium situation is more difficult. I cannot stress enough that having a great game day atmosphere is vital. Do not put 4000 fans into a huge CFL stadium unless you are willing to PROPERLY down-size the place, a-la BC Place. Do not try to use some small amateur track-and-field stadium with stands far away from the field. Do not use some small amateur pointy-football field without properly erasing all those lines and hash-marks. Put as many people in the stands as possible, even if you have to set prices at two dollars (you're going to lose money the first few years anyway, don't price casual fans out of the market). The FIRST IMPRESSION is vitally important. Pop-up modular fields can work if you do it correctly (food and beverages close at hand, washrooms nearby.) Real grass if possible, please. I think the Faths might be tempted to come back (nice little modular stadium somewhere on the Northlands property? Are you listening city council?).
  12. Seriously? It was bad enough having competing leagues, fighting for supremacy amongst and against themselves (NASL vs MLS.) They now want to have competing Pyramids? We're going to have to wait for about a decade for the MLS owners to amortize their several-hundred-million-dollar investments in stadia and franchise fees before we start to get serious about pro/rel. In the meantime, could this new league just please try to find a place in the current pyramid and try to get pro/rel going for levels 2 and lower.
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