Canadian National Team: Hopeless



DeGuzman could be CONCACAF’s best overall player: But Canada is hopeless even with him and several other top stars/Canadian photo

Despite the recent strides made by club football in Canada: the admission of Toronto FC to MLS, the sharp play of the Montreal Impact in the CONCACAF Champions League and the Vancouver Whitecaps continued semi-domination of USL-1, Canada’s national team continues to be hopeless.

Why is this? From a pure talent standpoint, looking at the starting XI Canada can rival anyone in CONCACAF other than Mexico. In fact it can be strongly argued that the Canadians have more talent in their starting XI than the US or Costa Rica, and yet those two nations are much more successful than Canada in every way possible.

Canada has since 2000 fared very well in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, winning once and reaching the semifinals twice. After all that is short event that requires no long term preperation or planning. Canada is one of three nations that does not have to qualify for the Gold Cup, along with the US and Mexico. However when Canada is thrown into a situation where matches are spread over a long period of time they are almost always hopeless. That’s why despite my belief of the high quality of Canada’s current talent, I did not believe the side had a snowball’s chance of getting out of CONCACAF’s group of death featuring Honduras, Mexico and Jamaica. In this group Canada has one point through four matches despite under Dale Mitchell playing attractive and honestly entertaining football.

The Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) is a dysfunctional entity no doubt. But that alone cannot account for Canada’s poor performances and early elimination in three consecutive World Cup qualifying campaigns, or can it? I’d love to hear from Canadian listeners and readers as to why this situation continues to get worse and worse:

11 thoughts on “Canadian National Team: Hopeless”

  1. As a long time Canadian supporter, here is best I can give you:

    Don't discount just how disfunction the CSA is, and how much on am impact that has on our national team. What is important to understand, is that with the exception of Hockey Canada, there is a culture of mediocrity rampant through Canadian sporting associations. Basketball Canada is another prime example, just ask Steve Nash. This is in part, a reflection of Canada's social values, our money is deeply invested in healthcare and social programs and competitive sports just isn't high up on our national agenda.

    The CSA however, is not just mediocre, they are downright destructive. The upper echelons of management, Montagliani, Ursini, etc.. are publicly proven to be inept in understanding the challenges facing our national team. Soccer is massively popular in Canada, and any semi-ambitious association would have sponsorship money pouring in at vastly more profound rates. The current budget limitations are the root of the problems facing the Canadian team.

    Partly due the a lack of funding, the CSA hired coach Dale Mitchell after he led Canada to an appaling performance at the U-20 World Cup that we hosted in 2007. The team did not manage a single goal during the whole tournament at home. Despite the senior team's outstanding performance at the 2007 Gold Cup under interim manager Stephen Hart, the CSA went ahead with Mitchell's dubious promotion to national team manager. That was the beginning of the end.

    The player's weren't pleased, and Mitchell proved them all right. He was unable to motivate them, unable to make the proper tactical assertion and most importantly unable to turn this team into a cohesive emotional and competitive group.

    But to take the focus off of Mitchell for a second, Canada has much larger problems to conquer as well:
    – the board-driven nature of our association makes it near impossible to institute changes for positive progress
    – there is virtually no mechanism for ridding the board of the inept members running it right now
    – our technical program entitled “Wellness to the World Cup” lacks both vision and ambition, and will never deliver the results necessary for international competition
    – the national team lacks sufficient media coverage to develop the necessary pressure to have all of these things addressed

    What is required is a replication of Australia's success with the Crawford Report in 2003. An independant analytical assesment of the financial, technical and governing practices of the CSA and a detailed plan for instituing positive changes moving forward.

    This certainly includes the termination of most of the current CSA administration.

    As for our failures this cycle of WCQ. The players themselves have to take some responsibility as well, their performance was dreadful. Missed opportunities, poor defending and a visible lack of integirty plagued the team (despite some courageous individual performances).

    I think you will see an even stronger movement for soccer revolution growing in Canada within the next 6-8 months.

    Let us pray.

  2. *rolling on the floor laughing my ass off* You are the stupidest soccer writer on the face of the earth. Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Canada's starting 11 has more talent than the US? Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!! Seriously lay off that BC bud. You are a moron.

  3. There was a time when I would have felt sorry for Canada. Not any more. Canada blames its CSA but no one up there has any interest in establishing a Canadian league. Instead they settle for 1-3 supposedly “model” teams in an American league. Until Canada shows some self-determination and the willingness to experience the growing pains that American soccer fans went through with MLS, Canada doesn't deserve any sympathy when it fails to move on. A section of rowdy drunks in Toronto cheering Marvell Wynne does not entitle Canada to the carpool lane to the World Cup finals.

  4. I would disagree that Canada has more talent than the US. We have three creative midfield players, a couple of good full-backs and we're OK at the striker position. We're a little lacking in the centre of defence, could stand to have a real hard-nosed ball-winning central midfielder. It would also be nice if we would stop playing players out of position.

    The selections and tactics were not right…there is no way we should be playing with a lone striker at home against Jamaica. No disrespect to Jamaica but Canada needed to take advantage of their creative players and go with a more attack-minded setup.

    This campaign, which promised so much, has really killed a lot of my enthusiasm for the sport.

  5. “In fact it can be strongly argued that the Canadians have more talent in their starting XI than the US”


  6. Canada's top players are better than the US' top players. Now the US pool is much much deeper, but I'd take DeGuzman any day of the year over anyone the US throws out there. The same for DeRo and even perhaps Friend.

  7. MAX BELL: Arrow to the heart of the matter.

    KK – like Kool Kat said, you could use DeRosario, De Guzman, Maybe Radzinski and Friend, but after that, you have enough Ali Gerbas, and no room at all for the Chris Posniak and Kevin Harmse types of the world. It's a good indicator of TFC's success that they *do* have room for those two.

    Our players fall into three categories: Good players in top leagues (That includes MLS) – about 3-4.

    Useless players in top leagues (3-4)

    Players in second division (or lower) or second rate leagues – the rest.

    JOEY CLAMS – little geography lesson for you: Canada v USA – Bigger land mass, one tenth the population. Same poulation as England, but you could fit about 20 Englands in side Canada's borders. That's a huge obstacle that just can't be ignored.

    You can't get 20 K to watch MLS in New York City. How are we going to get comparable numbers in Halifax or Regina? We only have three cities that could support a top tier of sport, and that's not enough for a league. Once you leave Quebec / Southern Ontario, it's all long flights to make things happen. Canadian airlines have not been deregulated, BTW, so airfare is crazy top dollar.

    We've tried a national league (CSL – A league equivalent. Whitecaps played there when it was around).

    It failed, in no small part to the unwillingness of the CSA to co-operate with the CSL.

    The NHL had to do a major reshuffling and rely on a newfound strength in the canadian dollar in order to avoid losing any more Canadian franchises south of the border. Our geography and population density is a curse for pro sports.

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