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Cross Border Thoughts: Mexico and Canada

Franco mexico 220x300 Cross Border Thoughts: Mexico and Canada

Franco should be a hero in Mexico/PA Sports Image

I understand this is a website dedicated to MLS and US Soccer, but please indulge me in this moment of personal privilege about our neighbors to the south and our neighbors to the north.

Guille Franco opened his Premier League account yesterday, playing for a less competitive West Ham side than former Mexican striker Jared Borgetti did in Bolton a few years back. I bring this subject up, because Franco has been the subject of much racist hatred in Mexico since Ricardo LaVolpe brought him into the national team in 2004. Franco, from where I sit was one of the best Mexican players in the later part of LaVolpe’s reign but the fact that like his manager, he was born in Argentina caused anger and showed the worst sort of nativism among certain parts of the Mexican fan base and press.

Hugo Sanchez, upon assuming the job in the wake of LaVolpe’s sacking pledged not to select any naturalized players. Thus, Franco was not considered again for the squad until Sven Goran Eriksson was the manager, and did not again play a key role until Javier Aguirre took over this spring. Aguirre’s knowledge of Franco was less based on his play for Monterrey in the Mexican League in the earlier part of this decade, but his play with Villarreal, whom Aguirre managed against several times in Champions League deciding fixtures with Athletico Madrid.

Mexican Football isn’t regarded with the respect it should be in England. Jared Borgetti, who ironically enough, very openly poured scorn on Sven Goran Eriksson decision to feature naturalized players, was considered a first rate flop at Bolton. Borgetti’s failures furthered the already negative perception surrounding Mexican footballers in England.

How ironic that Guille Franco, who many El Tri supporters would not claim as one of their own could well be on his way to changing that perception for good, and allowing more opportunities for the likes of Carlos Vela and Gio Dos Santos who are already on EPL squads to flourish. Franco appears to be well on his way to undoing the negative stigma that Borgetti helped to further in England.

Racism and Xenophobia are somewhat rampant in Mexico, whether Mexicans want to admit it or not. Guille Franco, from where I sit, is an incredible person to have put up with the abuse while representing El Tri and still been willing to embrace Mexican culture and Mexico as a nation. He deserves to be seen back home as a conquering hero following his goal yesterday at the Stadium of Light.

_________________________________________________

Today’s playoff Superclassico has me, like so many others super psyched. But given what I have written above, I worry about the potential racial and ethnic connotations of such a matchup, and such a derby. Rangers v Celtic, and Hibs vs Hearts type ethnic, religious or racial divisions aren’t what America is about. It was in this context that the NASL was very strict in not allowing ethnic named teams into the league, with the (reluctant) exception of the Toronto Metros-Croatia.

I urge everyone attending the match today to cheer for your side, but please don’t make it about us (Galaxy-Gringos or non Mexican Latinos) versus them (Chivas- Mexicans). If that sort of factionalism develops, the game and MLS loses.

_____________________________________________________

The United Soccer Leagues announced on Thursday that they will be opening a Canadian office in Ottawa. The USL headquarters is in Tampa, but with over two dozen Canadian sides competing in USL leagues, the move makes sense from a USL perspective.

However, I regret to once again raise the issue of FIFA sanctioning and cross border leagues. While USL is sanctioned by the Canadian Soccer Association, the two USL First Division clubs in Canada recently approached the USSF to help mediate the dispute they and other members of the Team Owners Association is having with the league.

USL’s official administrative foray into Canada could further render the CSA and the Canadian Soccer League totally useless. While some posters here will claim that Wales, Monaco, Liechtenstein, New Zealand and others all fall under the same category as Canada does in its participation in foreign leagues, the extent of Canadian influence on MLS and USL, the two US based professional leagues is without precedent on the planet.

I have outlined these issues before and quite frankly do not have the patience again to outline the numerous reasons MLS, USL, and the Canadian based clubs appear to be skirting FIFA regulations on this matter.

Let me state this clearly. I am all for Canadian participation in MLS and USL. I believe the achievements of TFC, the Whitecaps, the Impact and several PDL clubs in Canada speak for themselves. But my worry about the legality of the continued cross border merger of football, and the failure of FIFA regulations to be properly enforced (for example, the three Canadian teams in USL and MLS should NOT be eligible to represent Canada in international competitions unless the CSA drops its sanctioning of the CSL) could lead to more trouble down the road if FIFA under new leadership, suddenly decides they want to crack down.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC. View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

50 Responses to Cross Border Thoughts: Mexico and Canada

  1. Lino Terra says:

    Just an FYI – regardless of the name, the Canadian Soccer League is designated as a provincial league and is sanctioned by the Ontario Soccer Association. So I don’t think it is a conflict that Canadian teams in US-based leagues are eligible for international competition.

    Cheers.

    • Good point, but the Provincial Soccer Associations are all members of the CSA. To me it still begs why aren’t clubs in the CSL even allowed in the cup competition that gives a spot into the Continental Championship?

      The Voyageurs Cup only allows MLS and USL teams in, and thus should be either governed by the USSF or abolished and merged with the US Open Cup.

      If anything the cup should EXCLUDE teams that are in MLS and USL and INCLUDE everyone else, whether amateur, semi-pro or professional.

  2. Roger says:

    I support the Canadian teams also because they enhance our leagues, but it is borderline pathetic that they do not want to develop their own national soccer institutions.

    They wonder why they never qualify for major tournaments?

    I do however, have to wonder if it is in the best interests of US Soccer to allow development teams from Canada into PDL. Obviously this decision was made in the past and will not be revisited but I wonder if the it was in the best interest of the USMNT to help a rival national team get better?

    • This is a classic catch 22. Canada needs its own institutions, its own league, its own development system to ever sustain any sort of good football at the international level. But right now, Canada doesn’t have the ability or interest to do such a thing.

      The current setup serves Canada to get to a certain point, but it is something that will never work long term. In time Canada, if they are serious about being a player in CONCACAF and World Football need to develop their own infrastructure and professional setup.

      • Joey Clams says:

        My theory is that Toronto doesn’t necessarily care about the rest of Canada. It is a de facto denationalized city-state, except when they’re playing against American MLS teams.

        Torontonian soccer fans insist on the best of all worlds: league matches in which they can put on their Canada cap against American competition and Cup matches against only big teams in Canada.

        They’d be bored stiff having to play against teams from Winnipeg and Halifax.

        • Lars says:

          My theory is you’ve probably never been north of the 49th.

          Either that, or you’re an idiot.

          As somebody who is from the Periphery of Canada, I can say that Toronto is indeed Canadian. We make jokes about the Centre of the Universe, but really, they’re just that. Jokes.

  3. eplnfl says:

    Kartik, I am glad to hear that you are fully behind Canada in the MLS. It has seemed to be a position that has taken time for you to develop but I am glad your on board. I know it was hard for some MLS fans to see Canada get two teams and some deserving areas of the US be omitted but it has been good for the league.

  4. Seren says:

    You’re a idiot every chance you get you try and belittle and attack Mexico,Take that chip off you’re shoulder you racist bastard and keep you’re lame attempt at actually writing to subject’s you have knowledge of like MLS and they’re fan’s like The KKKrew..=)

    • Sir, perhaps if you are so concerned about racism you could get your fellow countrymen to take a more progressive view towards the likes of Franco, Vuoso, Sinha, etc. They are the ones I wrote that post this morning for, and they are the ones that have been victimized despite putting themselves on the line to represent your country and your people with dignity and class.

      Apologize to them before lecturing me on racism.

      • vic says:

        just look at the nicknames given to mexican/american players who play in the mexican league….”gringo” torres, “gringo” castillo.
        These attitudes are also the reason why you see so few non-hispanics in the FMF. With what the FMF pays, their clubs could have very international flavors- much more asian & african players. You see one or two, here or there. If they were more international, more people outside of Mexico would want to see their league. The level of play in regards to viewership outside of Mexico (and outside US. southwest) is nowhere near what it should be. I doubt they are even beating the Ecuadorian league in international viewership.

  5. HibeeHutch says:

    “…and Hibs vs Hearts type ethnic, religious or racial divisions aren’t what America is about”.

    Wow. This statement is so ignorant I don’t even know where to start. Thanks for staining the Edinburgh clubs with the same black or white sectarian dye as Rangers and Celtic. Pathetic ‘journalism’.

    HH

  6. I agree that the Edinburgh derby has none of the sectarianism associated with Glasgow’s Old Firm, BUT I wasn’t speaking specifically about violence.

    American football has gone through great pains to avoid tribalism forming around the support of certain professional clubs: NASL and MLS have both been clear about that.

    While you are correct and I may have over stepped by implying Hearts-Hibs is the same as Celtic-Rangers, the bottom line is one side has a Catholic support base and another a protestant. We don’t do that in this country for the most part, even though we have Catholic schools like Boston College, Georgetown, Notre Dame etc that compete in athletic competition.

    In football it is a dangerous potential slippery slope because football supporters are different than those who flock to American sporting events. The Chivas USA vs LA Galaxy rivalry has a developed too many ethnic and racial undertones in recent years to be totally ignored.

    Hearts vs Hibs is obviously not Celtic vs Rangers. I was wrong to imply such. However, I included it because I do not want even a Hearts vs Hibs type situation we breaking out in this country. Many Americans are, after all more violent than Scots, and more insular also. The split in Edinburgh if applied to the US could easily lead to violence, which it has not done in Scotland.

    Ethnic and racial prejudice historically in the United States has led to violence. We don’t need to take the chance of that starting thanks to football.

    This is after all a civilized game: the Scots invented it as such and the English codified it as such, but many have used this sport as an excuse to be violent. We don’t need that kicking off here.

  7. Adam Serrano says:

    Hey Kartik,

    I really like your post but I just feel that the position regarding the Chivas/Galaxy rivalry is a bit rash. In Los Angeles as I’m sure you know, the majority of the population is Mexican (for which i am one) which means that the Galaxy and the Goats draw from the same well so to speak. There are plenty of fans in the Angel City Brigade and the Riot Squad who are Mexicans. I am sure that I don’t have to remind you that fans of America would not cheer for anything with the name Chivas. Of course you are always going to get people who hurl racist remarks at people but I don’t believe that we will ever have to worry about the El Clasico Angelino ever reaching those heights.

    • I hope you are right Adam- part of the reason I make the comment though is that a lot of fans of Central American descent to whom I speak took more of an interest in the Galaxy after Chivas was formed because they assumed they would be supporting the “non-Mexican” team. Of course the Galaxy had previously employed Cienfuegos, Machon, Ruiz, and a host of other top Central American players to get them interested in the team to begin with.

      • Adam Serrano says:

        I agree totally about the support in the central american community but that’s a whole other kettle of fish – I believe that the main reason that the Galaxy have support in the Mexican community even with Chivas is that they were the first team in Los Angeles. Not to mention the Gals employing Mexican stars in their early days like Jorge Campos, El Matador Hernandez, and Carlos Hermosillo albeit with varying degrees of success on the field. Regardless, I think we’ll be spared the violence in El Clasico. When Galaxy fans meet Earthquakes fans however…

  8. HibeeHutch says:

    “the bottom line is one side has a Catholic support base and another a protestant”

    Wrong. Supporters of both clubs support the the Edinburgh clubs based on their geographic location rather than on a sectarian basis: Hibs garnering most of their support from Leith and the east of Edinburgh and Hearts from Gorgie and the west of Edinburgh. Indeed, many, many families have mixed allegiances to both clubs.

    “Many Americans are, after all more violent than Scots, and more insular also”

    Wow. Just when you thought the uneducated generalisations couldn’t get any worse. I suppose the internet and social media opens doors to anyone who thinks they can write with authority on a subject – unfortunately.

    • Lars says:

      He’s right about the violence though…crime statistics would easily back that up.

    • Tim says:

      I’m not one to defend this writer normally because I find fault with a lot of his opinions, but sorry Hibs-Hearts is perceived outside of Scotland as a sectarian war. I follow all of world soccer closely and if you mention the Edinburgh derby to the average fan, that is what they think. Sorry, maybe you live there and are offended, or do not want to be grouped in with Glasgow, but it is true.

      Oh and on the crime stats, the USA has by far the highest percentage of violent criminal offenders in the industrialized world. That point is not even debatable.

  9. Seren says:

    No apologize is needed to none of the player’s you mentioned because not all of Mexico think’s as you’re shallow lil mind assume’s as this pathetic attempt of a article suggest..Let me try and think as you for a second about whom is owed apologizes..

    One Example is Giuseppe Rossi who picked to play for Italy instead of the US,After that US soccer/futball fan’s of course we’re disappointed and all I read on forum’s was TRAITOR who nedd’s that wop,guinea ,greaseball,ginzo and european beaner anyway?!

    Like they say if you live in glass house’s ..

    • Tim says:

      Rossi was NEVER, and I mean NEVER met with the kind of open hostility bordering an fanaticism that Franco was. Comparing the two situations throws your credibility in the gutter.

  10. Seybold says:

    I wouldn’t call the Mexican attitude toward foreign-born players “racist.” I’d call it “nativist.” It does however stand in stark contrast to most of the major soccer powers.

    Italy has long played Argentinians and Brazilians of Italian descent, and in recent years an Australian and a American. France is generally stocked with African or Caribbean-born players, same for Holland. Portugal has Brazilians and Africans. England’s best player in the last world cup was Canadian. Germany’s strikers are nearly all Polish. Where would Spain be without Brazilian defensive midfielder Marcos Senna providing the steel in their midfield? Losing to the USA for starters.

    Brazil and Argentina are the only major powers who don’t use foreign born players. They export.

  11. Tim says:

    Kartik probably should avoid writing about Mexico for a while given his ridiculous article on diving a few weeks back,

    BUT

    This article is spot on. Mexico has a real big problem with nativism and yes Seybold it is a form of racism. The abuse LaVolpe and even Sven got as a foreign manager was racist.

    Mexicans will claim they are protecting their own national pride and people but truthfully it is nothing but racism and hatred of other Latino groups, something my wife can attest is practiced by Mexican-Americans and Mexicans in Mexico- it’s not the norm but it is a vocal, angry minority.

    Did you see how the naturalized players were treated even getting off the bus this past March when Sven was still the manager? Can you imagine if the English press had run one fifth of the ink the Mexican press does on naturalized players, on let us say Owen Hargreaves or John Barnes both of whom were born in the CONCACAF region?

    What if the German press ran a campaign against Gerald Asomoah or David Odonkor in the last world cup and they were heckled at stadiums and leaving the bus?

    We’d call it racism. And we would be right.

    Mexico has a big problem. They want to be a big fish in world football, but the insulated nature of the El Tri supporter and until recently the lack of exposure Mexican born players got to the outside world held them back.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Kartik on Franco, and the rest. Mexico should be embracing them.

    For those Mexican fans coming to this site saying that Kartik is again “hating on Mexico,” what he did a few weeks ago was inexcusable and unforgivable, but this article is actually complimenting one of your top players and discussing how it helps Mexico. I don’t think that is exactly hate.

    • Michelle Aguila says:

      Being a Mexican-American, I can understand some of the difficulties that someone can face when they have a trace of “guero” in them. However, there is a difference between those players who have at least one parent of Mexican descent, and one parent of foreign origin (Dos Santos) as opposed to those whose entire cultural/national background lies within another country. I think this is one of the biggest issues that Franco has to face.

      He became naturalized in order for him to play for a local soccer club in Mexico and not in order to play on the Mexico national team. Him being called to play for the national team was a happenstance and a convenient move and not a call of duty to play for one’s country. I am not doubting his talent, but rather giving an explanation for why he might not be well received to any Mexican (whether native or American-born) fan.

      Native Mexican footballers play for teams all around the world, but when it comes time for “National Duty”, most (if not all) will return to Mexico to play for their country. That is what separates a National team from a local soccer club. A local soccer club can take players from all around the world and they can be bought and sold and traded at will. A national team is a sign of national pride. It’s a representation of one’s country. If any National Team suddenly became filled with non-native naturalized citizens from all over the world, then that team would cease to represent the players from that country and would focus ONLY on talent rather than origin. I have nothing against the melting pot theory, but in a country like Mexico, a lack of diverse representation within different demographic groups on the national team already exists, and to bring in someone who isn’t even of Mexican origin from either their mother or father’s sides to play due to a lack of talent is a bit of a slap in the face to fans and to Mexican soccer.

      I personally like Franco. As long as he pledges his allegiance to Mexico while he’s playing for our national team, then I’ll wear his jersey and support him amidst his negative reception. However, I’d rather have a team of dedicated, native players who are willing to play for their country out of the pride and love they feel for it (regardless of how good/bad they are) than a team of non-native players who are merely there to make the team look good but take the meaning out of the term “national duty”. I root for Mexico’s team (regardless of my American birth) because my native roots are more reflective of Mexico and my family is directly from there. It’s a state of national pride that makes Mexican soccer more than just a team.

      As an American born girl of Mexican origin who has had more exposure to Mexican culture than that of “American” culture, I would like it if only players of Mexican origin (not necessarily of birth) would make up most of the National team roster and the few naturalized footballers that play would be proud of Mexico as a country, rather than as merely a team they are paid to make look good when they play in the international stage.

      Forgive my romantic ideals, but I think that culture does take precedence on an national team level as opposed to the other way around for a local team.

      I do hope this changes, but I’d rather see demographic minorities in Mexico represented

  12. jaun says:

    Knock knock,is this the place to pretend to know other races and cultures and say how it is!!I got A white boy pass ive seen youtube videos of how mexicans treat mexicans on tv or I saw a ‘central’ american’ too!!Only good mexicans is Vela if thats spelled right

    • Ray says:

      Jaun, it is amazing to me that no Mexican will come on here and defend what has gone on down there. True cultures and attitudes are different but much of the world sat with amazement at how you guys treated players who after all forestalled their place of birth to represent your country.

      After all, had your friends south of the border not reacted so hostility to Vuoso among others, chances are Chaco and Villar would have rejected Maradona’s overtures, waited for Mexican citizenship and played for you.

      So your racism is YOUR LOSS. Accusing others of racism or not understanding cultures does not erase your continued isolation from the world of soccer or phony national pride which leads to the ugliness that Franco among others have faced while actually trying to represent your country.

    • at least we gringos evaluate other cultures and people of different ethnicity here, unlike you people who chase them away, and greet them with batteries and bags of urine.

      the mexican behavior towards franco and zinha in 2006 was reminiscent of the way we used treat blacks in the 1950s at sporting events.

      the average Mexican fan either defends it as some sort of mark of racial and ethnic purity, which trust me you are not, most mexicans are of mixed blood even, & if you think lighter skinned people look better and or simply ignore it.

  13. Seren says:

    http://www.faniq.com/blog/Video-Columbus-Crew-Fans-Are-Total-Jackasses-Blog-9157

    Simply cover up the racist bigot’s as youself as MLS tries too,TRY to explain MLS fan’s calling a black footballer a nigger just because he was from the opposite team..

    • A fair point Seren. We’ve editorizilzed about Columbus multiple incidents after they faced Guille Franco’s current side West Ham in a friendly. The racist incident is mentioned.

      http://www.majorleaguesoccertalk.com/columbus-you-have-a-problem/308

      In the piece, you’ll note I also make a point saying if a match against Tigres is marketed as “see us take on the Mexicans,” (Even though Tigres is not an all Mexican team but alot of MLS fans who don’t follow the FMF would not know that) their is an implied racism and ethnic bashing that leads to trouble.

      So, yes I agree with you on Columbus. We also had another racist incident in Houston last year directed towards Louis Crayton, but unlike the Crew who had supporters and an organization that only ratted out the perpetrators when forced, the Dynamo front office took strong, decisive action and banned the fan for life.

      • Jeff says:

        I agree that the treatment of foreign born players playing on the national team by the media and pockets of the Mexican fan base is deplorable. Call it xenophobic, racist, nationalist, what-have-you, its a blight on the Mexican soccer landscape.
        However, you have to take a look first at the Mexican media to begin to understand why some points of view get so much coverage. I don’t think anyone can honestly say that the Mexican sports journalists are really any good. They have quite a way to go. Just listening to the commentators on TV, talking about completely unrelated issues when covering a game speaks volumes about the lack of professionalism and the media’s focus on hype and ridiculous rumors. Its a muckraking industry in Mexico. Only sensationalism. Anyone with an understanding of Mexican journalistic quality knows this to be true. Its as if 95% of the sporting media were the Sun or the Mirror. If you look at those journalists of “integrity”, you will notice the majority didn’t really think this to be an issue. Others, like David FAitelson, kept pushing the issue. Why? Sensationalism sells.
        So, the Mexican media itself has a huge part to blame. Tie that to pockets of racist Mexicans and yeah, it makes our soccer culture look pretty ugly and gives fuel to some USNT fans who come on here to berate El Tri.
        However, there are many examples of soccer stars in the past who have put on the national jersey and were heroes. Zague for instance. Mexicans fans (even Chivas fans) will point out that Zague is a key figure in El Tri’s past.
        I don’t think that Franco scoring one goal is enough to attest to his great qualities. I have nothing against him for being a foreigner. But I can say that his pre-Villareal form, when he was at Rayados, is long gone. Do I want him on the team? Not really, given his performance. He loses too many balls. Doesn’t have the agility anymore to turn with speed and this is evident time and again. Are there better players coming up the ranks that are Mexican born. Yes. Should they have a chance instead of Franco. Yes. Just because they are Mexican. No. But because they have more to give long term to the team.
        Therefore, I think you have fallen for the sensationalist journalism that is rampant in the Mexican media. If you look back to the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s you will see examples of much loved foreign players in the Mexican jersey.
        You can’t keep jumping on these slanderous bandwagons without understanding the peculiarities that are in place in a country. The Mexican media sucks. There are racists in Mexico. There is ignorance in Mexico. But to link Mexican player’s performance to the racist taunts that some players receive on the field is a bit of a stretch (something I am kind of getting used to when I read your columns).
        Do Argentine players prospects suffer because their fans are INCREDIBLY racist? Nope. Spanish players? English players?
        And by the way, Borgetti also scored some goals for Bolton. One match winner, in fact. But he didn’t cut it. Especially because he was OLD! Is Borgetti’s failure going to impede another Mexican’s chances of making it in the EPL. Nope. Currently, Arsenal are targeting Martin Galvan and Bryan Leyva. Sunderland wants Nestor Calderon. At one time Salcido was in the EPL radar. And like them, there will be more. I expect a few of this years u17 team to start turning some heads.
        I applaud you for wanting Franco to get the respect any other player gets. He deserves it. If he screws up, then he will be whistled like any other player who screws up. But its too much of a stretch to argue that Mexico’s perception is endangered. Arsenal and Tottenham fans LOVE Vela and Gio. If Mexico keeps producing top flight players, they will play in top flight clubs. Supply and demand. Sam Allardyce just happened to sign a has been who wasn’t in the position to adapt to the EPL. Will Franco adapt? Its really too early to tell.

    • Tim says:

      A few idiots in Columbus compared with a large scale organized media and fan effort to hound out non native players is not even worth comparing. You guys are guilty as charged.

  14. Veraplay says:

    As a Mexican, i will personally tell my opinion of Franco. He is past his prime and he has nothing left to give. There are so many more talented mexican soccer players, and Aguirre needs to recognize it. If he stays for the world cup, we will not go far in our offense because of him.

  15. Canadian Fan says:

    Let’s allay the fear of Kartik and the Yanks first crowd around here. The CSA is very involved in USL’s move.

    The game is growing. We have 16 teams between USL First Division and PDL, and of course have TFC also for a total of 17. So the CSA is very active and the sport is doing well in Canada.

    Here are some quotes from a news story:

    TAMPA, FL — In a country where the national pastime is unquestionably hockey, the summer clearly belongs to soccer as witnessed by the growing success of the sport within United Soccer Leagues over the past six years. Three of the past four USL First Division championships have been won by Canadian clubs for example.

    “Canada is whole-heartedly embracing soccer culturally at an incredible level right now and contrary to recent reports that prematurely suggested that we had severed ties with our leading Canadian clubs, we continue to be bullish on our future there,” said USL Chief Executive Officer Alec Papadakis. “I had a very positive meeting last week with Peter Montopoli [General Secretary] and Joe Guest [Deputy General Secretary] of the Canadian Soccer Association about how we can work with the federation as well as the teams in growing the game. They are looking forward to our continued expansion in Canada and continued role in the development of the sport for both the men’s and women’s game.”

    “We are very excited about professional soccer in Canada,” said CSA General Secretary Peter Montopoli. “We are looking to grow the professional level in Canada as part of our long-term plans, building a pathway for soccer development. This requires more professional teams under the right conditions in order to progress.”

    With 16 professional and amateur teams in the USL First Division, PDL and W-League as well as the 11 clubs participating in the Super Y-League and Super-20 League in 2009, the growth of the sport on a national basis is developing well across Canada.

    “With the recent rapid Canadian expansion and the new direction of our new USL ownership group is taking that includes a commitment to working with the teams at all levels, we are planning on opening a full-service Canada USL office in 2010 to work with our teams and the Canadian Soccer Association more closely in continued development of the sport,” said Papadakis. “Based on the groups we have met with throughout Canada and the applications that we have received and are reviewing, we will certainly be expanding further over the course of the next few years, whether it be in Ottawa where there have already been public reports regarding specific groups, or in other markets such as Edmonton, Winnipeg or Hamilton to name a few. Furthermore, the expansion efforts will be at all levels and will include an emphasis on the women’s game, which we know is of importance to the CSA.”
    ——————————————-

  16. Joey Clams says:

    Excitement, embracing the game, rapid expansion, development of the sport, trying to make Americans feel guilty for desiring a conventional one-country league…

    Yanks-first crowd. Nice.

  17. vic says:

    i’m not a yanks-first crowd, but the MLS & USL presence of Canadian teams is most likely a violation of Fifa rules. The other areas you mentioned as being involved in cross-border leagues (wales, monaco, etc) are very small countries- certainly not approaching the 34million population Canada has.
    Hey, I wish Van & Mon enter soon and fully expect their big profits to sustain the American side of the ledger, with its poor-attendance (financially-losing) midwest teams (kc, crew, dal, colo) . But look how bad it would be if these 3 canadian cities from a supposed country that cant support a domestic league were drawing crowds in the area of seattle’s number, which we all know they could if they built stadiums big enough for that.

  18. Alejandro RUiz says:

    Basically they see it as this, why should some spoiled jock from Argentina who came here to play soccer for a few years, who’s a millionaire and lives in a mansion with zero contact with the common man in Mexico and our culture. Why should he put on the shirt and pretend he knows anything about what being a Mexican is?

    It’s not actually racist at all, it’s discrimination but it’s not racist. Notice that Giovani Dos Santos or his brother have never received any abuse because he is black or Ochoa because he is white or Salcido because he has strong indigenous features. So it’s not about racial purity.

    But honestly, Mexico receives very little immigration outside of American businessmen and retirees. Theres something like only 1800 Argentinians in Mexico in the official census. About 100 of them are soccer players ;)

    But let’s be honest, why shouldn’t Mexicans prefer native born Mexicans on their soccer team? Is that wrong? Mexico isn’t like the US, it doesn’t have an Emma Lazarus poem encrusted into the national conscience.

    In that sense, it’s unfair to judge Mexican values from a strict US point of view. It’s the same way when Mexicans judge American foreign policy, Mexico has a strict stance on not sending soldiers to foreign soil. They can’t understand our worldview and actions.
    Each country, in each situtation is coming from a very different set of values and unless you make a strict point of looking at it from their POV, it doesn’t make sense.

    That said, it was a pretty vocal minority who disliked the naturalized players (Hugo Sanchez was one of the ones leading the mob). It’s hard to say, but from talking to people, most really don’t care in mexico all that much. They don’t really like it, but they’re not going to make a fuss about it. But theres people who will, but they’re not necessarily soccer fans either. In a lot of ways, Mexico has never really recovered from the civil war, the PRI’s version of history was drilled into the national consciousness and a nationalistic pride was at the center of it.

  19. Edmund says:

    I’ve never seen a MLS game but if I go by this author’s logic all of Mexico is racist and just by reading that link about the Columbus crew fan’s racist abuse of a Black player MLS is also full of racist fan’s,what a shame that is…

  20. Walter says:

    The Mexico discussion is certainly entertaining but unimportant.

    However, the discussion about Canada and FIFA rules is something which the American soccer press has been completely asleep about. Kudos to Kartik for having the courage to raise it, since everyone wants to avoid the subject or equate MLS and USL to the MLB or the NHL, leagues which are not under a world governing body.

    Recall when the USSF somewhat reluctantly allowed TFC to enter MLS, our first division sanctioned by FIFA and the USSF, they were to be “our Monaco.” We were also told at the same time that USL, our FIFA and USSF sanctioned 2nd division had two Canadian pro teams who were brought to the league by a merger prior to sanctioning in the early 1990s. Fair enough.

    But now the Canadians want it all without creating and supporting their own institutions and leagues.

    Canadian Fan states

    ” Let’s allay the fear of Kartik and the Yanks first crowd around here. The CSA is very involved in USL’s move.

    The game is growing. We have 16 teams between USL First Division and PDL, and of course have TFC also for a total of 17. So the CSA is very active and the sport is doing well in Canada.”

    17 teams! And yet you claim you cannot have your own league!

    Papadakis the new commissioner of USL even states in that article you posted above,

    “Based on the groups we have met with throughout Canada and the applications that we have received and are reviewing, we will certainly be expanding further over the course of the next few years, whether it be in Ottawa where there have already been public reports regarding specific groups, or in other markets such as Edmonton, Winnipeg or Hamilton to name a few. Furthermore, the expansion efforts will be at all levels and will include an emphasis on the women’s game, which we know is of importance to the CSA.”

    Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Hamilton in addition to the three existing pro franchises equals seven. You only need one more in Calgary, Victoria or somewhere else to be a permanent pro league.

    Tiny nations like Slovakia whom the US will face in a friendly next week have independent leagues sanctioned under their federation.

    Canadian Soccer fans may think they want to just attach themselves to American leagues but in the long term it HURTS you guys. You’ll never develop your own identity or improve your national team.

    From our standpoint, we need to make sure we do not run afoul of FIFA if someone replaces Blatter and that person is a bigger stickler for the rules. Furthermore, I do not believe helping Canada helps ourselves as some have argued.

    In Italy do they say “if we help Austria, we are helping ourselves because our World Cup qualifying will be tougher.” Of course not, and that shows how illogical the line of thought is.

  21. LZR says:

    So now USL is openly talking about four more professional teams in Canada? That’s part of the reason they are opening a Canadian office?

    When the hell does Canada finally start their own league?

    Let TFC-Columbus become a rivalry in Continental Competitions like all the other cross border rivalries around the world.

  22. Jeremy (CAN) says:

    I am Canadian and I am for the developpement of a stronger CSL that would become a national league. I think Canada has enough potential markets to develop a league similar to the CFL. Surely the level of play wouldn’t be as high as MLS, and that may be a turn-off for the majority, but real Canadians and real supporters of the game of soccer will support the league, I think, if it is created.

  23. Footballer says:

    Mexicans are indeed racist. In fact, Kartik, if you went down to Mexico, they’d treat you like crap because you are Indian. They wouldn’t even consider you to be a human being.

  24. Walter says:

    Another point.

    Don’t Canadian Soccer fans have any pride?

    I booted up Football Manager 09 last night and has forgotten that TFC, Vancouver, Montreal and all of the PDL teams from Canada are on the game, and have AN AMERICAN FLAG NEXT TO THEM!

    This is because they are in US leagues. So that is your 17 teams or whatever, seen as extensions of the United States Soccer structure by programmers in Europe.

    Congratulations, Canada and welcome to the Union as the 51st state!

    • I have noted the same thing in FM and wondered what Canadian Soccer fans think. I know the flags correspond to leagues on the game and the US flag represents MLS and USL, but still it must be somewhat painful to see if you are Canadian.

  25. Joey Clams says:

    I sent SoccerAmerica a letter in which I expressed dismay at their failure to address the Canada thing. I also suggested that they dedicate most of an issue to a pro-con on the question. They did nothing. Why? Because they’re afraid of pissing off Sunil.

    I’d love to see meaningful competition between US and Canadian clubs. Those games, though, should be within a conventional, traditional format, that is, a continental club championship.

    I also wish to see higher profile games between the national teams. Canada, though, can’t get past the Concacaf semifinals and we’re meant to believe that coaching rather than a lack of heart is the problem.

    Anyway, for an American fan to desire a US-only league through national soccer pride is not xenophobic or “Yanks first.” It’s merely traditional. It’s human nature. Or is pride now out of style?

    • vic says:

      I do support a Canadian league, but “within a traditional format” may be unhooking things a bit too fast. Fellow commonwealth country, Australia seems to have done well in developing a league- partly a result of exciting World Cup runs. Canada hasnt had that. So maybe the best thing would be for MLS & Canadian league to have seasons kind of like the Mexican league- divided into two. However, I say the play only within respective domestic leagues should constitute like 60% or just over half of play. Then, the significant other 40% or so would be part of a N. American cup. If the vast bulk of play for the Canadian teams involves just playing themselves, then I think attendance and interest will drop off (since the available competition would be just 7 other teams). That could be a transition step towards eventual traditional inter-league cups that would satisfy FiFa’s rules on domestic leagues. Remember, the large Canadian markets have long been exposured to leagues where competition involves 30 or so other teams (hockey, baseball, basketball). To go from play with 16 other cities in MLS to playing the same 7 teams a 3rd or 4th time over a season will certainly have its affect. Now if only Costa Rica & Trinidad leagues could go in opposite direction (fold weak teams, & invite strong teams from neighbor’s semi-pro leagues- martinique, panama, etc), then maybe CCL play might be more competitive and watchable

  26. vic says:

    …but Canada is, and with 10mil more in population then Australia.

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  29. but Canada is, and with 10mil more in population then Australia.

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