Long Term Game Plan for Canadian Soccer

Discussion in 'Canada' started by soccersubjectively, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. soccersubjectively

    soccersubjectively Let us soccer

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    There might be a thread about this but I was wondering what the game plan is to fix the current situation of Canada not being that good = /


  2. cflsteve

    cflsteve Member

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    First I think that it would be great for mens soccer in North America if the Canadians Mens team were to reach the level of the Women's team.
    Canda's system of hockey certainly helped the US to grow into a better hockey nation.
    The success of the US Women's National team did the same for Canada's Women's team.

    I beleive the Soccer Canada is trying to better organize the D3 Level.
    In the meantime having 3 MLS teams in the three biggest Metros is a great start and if they each add a USL pro affiliate, Like Toronto and the Lynx and several US clubs, gives each club similar to a AAA minor league baseball team.

    The NASL is next on the plate for Canadian Cities the CFL Football/Soccer stadiums will help to make this happen and has already enabled the WWC to come to Canada.
    EDM has had a NASL team and while they are kinda out of the way of other NASL teams at this point they still exist.
    Ottawa will be fielding a well funded, well organized NASL club in a brand new stadium to go along with its CFL team owned by the OSEG group. With the new stadiums set to use lower levels for NASL soccer with seats close to the field hitting a crowd of 10K a game would be a real plus for them and other NASL expansion teams. ( The INDY Eleven are headed in that direction.)

    Hamilton adding a team that will be successful will be a huge boost especially with cross ticket promotion as well as sales of the Suites and club boxes for both Soccer and Football.

    NASL teams EDM and now Ottawa are both supported by Rogers Sportsnet on the new SN360, which is more than the US teams have.

    After Hamilton, looking at a NASL team in Calgary as part of the Alberta rivalry of NHL and CFL also giving Flames LLP another team durinf the summer months to go with the Stamps.

    The CFL/NASL franchise partnership and stadium seems to be a good business model.

    NASL teams also are looking to team up with a D4 pro league affiliate.

    The Voyagers Cup becoming bigger with more teams will also help to promote pro soccer and soccer in general in Canada.
    soccersubjectively repped this.
  3. Polygong

    Polygong Moderator Staff Member

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    We talk a lot about building new and bigger leagues, but unfortunately that requires a lot of capital into somewhat risky ventures, which means it's unlikely that it'll be made available.

    I think the best route is to focus on growing what already exists. There are about 60 D4 or higher clubs in Canada right now, 5 of which have maximised their potential, which means there are about 55 that can grow into something bigger.

    For example, if enough of the existing D3/D4 clubs could grow a sizeable enough fan base (say 6 to 8) where they could present a strong enough argument to add a fully pro team to their suite of squads, it may be feasible to have a fully pro-league, although it would not be fully on par with NASL, while keeping their academy squads in the D3/D4 system. They could then sway Edmonton and Ottawa to leave NASL for such a league (which they just might since playing in a Canada only league would significantly reduce their travel costs, especially for Edmonton who are over 1000km away from their nearest NASL rival).

    I think the best route is to grow the Voyageur's Cup, but do it in a slightly different manner. Rather than D3/D4 clubs gaining entry by winning their respective leagues, make the criteria for entry to be among the top 8 clubs in the country attendance wise. Obviously the 5 professional clubs would make it in, and some of the PDL clubs get decent crowds. Victoria Highlanders pull in over 1000 per game on average. K-W United and WSA Winnipeg also do quite well.

    This would give extra impetus for fans on these clubs to show up more and be a really big promotional item for those who get in (and those who almost get in). It would also help identify where the best potential for growth is.

    One thing to also consider is that there are four cities in this country that could easily support D4 or higher and have none: Calgary, Hamilton, Halifax and Quebec City. The first three I think could easily start off with a PDL club, while QC could easily support a PLSQ club. Once they do that, see how it goes and maybe step things up.
    soccersubjectively repped this.
  4. cflsteve

    cflsteve Member

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    Yes EDM has really been in the rough with travel with most clubs being in the US South.
    Now being in the Midwest/Prairies region travel is a part of life for cities in pro sports. With MINN, and Indy entering along with Ottawa and Cosmos the NASL should be able to begin starting say a North division. This could make it more appealing for Calgary to begin a franchise and Hamilton for sure now has a much better outlook with Ottawa, NYC, Indy to go with EDM
    The more Nasl D2 level teams the more places for Canadian players to take that steooing stone right in the Country where it is visible to see a future playing Soccer without having to leave the country.
    The MLS teams really do not have much incentive to sign Canadian players but give them a in between level between the D3 and D4 fills a void.


  5. Kingston

    Kingston Member

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    There isn't currently an actual game plan. This is both part of the problem and a blessing. To illustrate my point, let's consider the US and Canadian situations in 1993 when neither national team was all that good and neither nation had a solid pro league.

    I say no game plan exists to develop Canadian soccer because it doesn't. The CSA is a) sanctioning anyone who wants to add a Canadian team to a US league and b) putting out paperwork - but no actual work - on a Canadian D3 league. This is sharp contrast to what the US did in the mid-1990s in establishing MLS or to what is currently happening in women's soccer with the three national federations literally bankrolling player salaries on pro teams.

    The lack of an actual plan is bad in that there is no hand at the tiller. Any positive results are going to be accidental and, therefore, will probably take a lot longer than if there was a plan.

    On the other hand, another word for accidental is organic. MLS started because of a plan but exists today only because two men were willing to put hundred of millions of their own dollars into the league. MLS looks good now but if either Hunt or Anschutz had walked in the late 1990s/early 2000s the league would have died.

    Canada does not have a plan but this also means we don't need a Hunt or an Anshutz to fund something more grandiose than we can actually afford until the support grows to catch up. The teams we do have are growing organically to the level they can actually be supported at. This makes the process almost painfully slow but it means we never risk losing it all. If MLS had died, American soccer would have been devastated for a generation. The most we can lose is a team here or there (RIP Fraser Valley Mariners), not see everything fall apart if one billionaire gets tired of his toy.

    And Canadian soccer is growing. Our three MLS teams (notably two of which graduated up) are starting to flow players through to the national team. A second NASL team starts in the spring, this one linked to the well funded football team ownership group. The CSL continues to add teams and improve the product despite what could almost be called hostility from the CSA. New PDL teams are being added and the stronger PDL teams have fan bases approaching those of lower end NASL teams.

    It will take more time than any of us want - probably a decade still - but significant improvements to Canadian soccer are now inevitable. And, it is worth noting that despite everything, Canada doesn't have all that far to go to achieve our goal of qualifying for the World Cup. We missed the hex by one point. We only need to move up four or five spots in CONCACAF to take the third qualifying spot. And, critically, our opponents are countries where soccer is already king. They are not starting periods of massive improvement in their soccer teams like we are.
    henryo and soccersubjectively repped this.
  6. Polygong

    Polygong Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed. Like I said, we have 60 pro/semi-pro clubs in this country. Success of club football in this country is more likely if the growth of those clubs comes from increasing their fan base rather than trying to jump straight into the deep end with fully pro-clubs (not that I would discuorage from any enterprising people from doing so). The only thing I would want to see is the establishment of pro/semi-pro clubs in the four cities mentioned above, no matter how low level.

    Grow the NCC to develop our own national football culture, rather than continually trying to grow leagues. If enough clubs grow to a palatable size, then it may make sense to start our own pro-league (which would likely not include the three MLS clubs, and would probably be a step down from NASL).
  7. Kingston

    Kingston Member

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    The NCC is an extremely valuable tool in this regard. It gives fans a chance to see games among Canadian teams of different levels without the difficulty of trying to figure out how to fit teams drawing 20 000 and teams drawing 2000 into the same league. I can only see the NCC getting bigger with time. On an attendance basis, both Victoria and London are getting close.

    I know we've been involved in the whole pro league discussion before and that the CSA favours a Canadian D3 league. I agree with your comments that the MLS, and probably NASL, teams will never voluntarily go down to an all Canadian league. Ultimately, therefore, it comes down to whether a case could be made to all the other Canadian teams that they would be better off in the CSA's D3 vision than in their existing leagues. Done right, this is certainly possible but I don't think it is a lock of an argument.
  8. Polygong

    Polygong Moderator Staff Member

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    What also worries me is that quite a few of the MNT players on European clubs are spending a lot of time warming the bench. We need our guys to be seeign regular action with their clubs. I can't blame any player for trying to work their way up in the world and signing with bigger clubs, but there has to come a time when they need to acknowledge that they've reached a plateau and need to move to lower level clubs/leagues.

    I look at guys like Simeon Jackson and Marcel de Jong, who are 26 and 27 respectively, and are on Bundesliga squads, but are rarely seeing the pitch, and probably never will at that level. I think that these guys could see regular action in MLS.

    MLS needs to up the Canadian quota for Canadian MLS sides. Right now it is at 3. TFC, IM and VWFC all have at leaast 4 Canadians on their squad right now, so MLS could at least bump it up to 4. Possibly even 5.

    At least playing MLS they'd be getting action with and against CONCACAF players, who are the players we need to be able to compete with.
  9. Kingston

    Kingston Member

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    I suspect money may be the issue. Would you rather ride the bench in Germany for $300 000 or start for TFC for $80 000?

    I'd like to see more Canadians, too. Given that all the squads already exceed the (low) minimum, however, it doesn't appear to be a case of the teams trying to do the least possible to develop Canadian talent. In fact, I expect more Canadian representation as the academies grow. So I don't know that MLS forcing things further is necessary or desirable.
  10. Moaca

    Moaca Member

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    Gotta call ya on this one. Both of these guys are proven players who can play at that level, just because they may or may not be starting at this moment is irrelevant.

    Here's a good reason why going to a lower level to get playing time may not be a good decision. People who watched Terry Dunfield a few years ago forget what a great prospect he was before a knee injury nearly killed his career. My memory is getting faulty but I think most of this is true, if not someone will correct me.

    Dunfield was MOTM in his first game in the Premiership for Man City, he was toiling away with the reserves with other guys the same level as he. He decides to take a loan to get playing time. What happens? He becomes a League Two type and the guys who stayed at the reserves start to move up to the big team for various reasons none of which was superior talent. Had he bided his time, he likely would have been one of them.

    The only logical reason to move down a level is $$$. Julian DeGuzman has never been the same since leaving Spain. But that can be justified because he made a business decision that may or may not have worked well for him. He made megabucks with TFC and in the end that's all that really matters as far as a career is concerned. He gets to say he played in a prestigious league (for less money) and he also made better dough playing in a lesser league. He's got it covered.
  11. soccersubjectively

    soccersubjectively Let us soccer

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    Is the NCAA helpful to Canadian growth?
  12. Moaca

    Moaca Member

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    Anything is helpful. There isn't one specific route to a successful career. NCAA is good, MLS academies are good, European reserve sides are good. Everybody's different.
  13. SoccerJedi

    SoccerJedi New Member

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    The comments above aren't exactly accurate. Yes, the CSA is currently cleaning up a decades-old mess. But folks forgot to mention that Long-term Player Development (LTPD) is, finally, being implemented in provinces. The CSA has so far been quite bullish about its new agenda that was established just over a year ago. This includes the implementation of a proper D3 setup. After some political battles with the corrupt CSL - at least in terms of past match-fixing scandals - the province of Ontario will launch LEAGUE 1 ONTARIO (L1O) in 2014. The CSL will then lose its sanction. So far the list of clubs accepted to L1O is a bit of a heated debate but more clubs will be accepted over time. L1O is a U23 league with a few exceptions.

    Ultimately, funding is an issue for all provinces. Junior Hockey is pretty much a good standard to work towards. Most junior hockey teams have a modest, dedicated, arena and a proper owner. It will take years to develop this type of infrastructure in D3 - but it can be done.

    There is also a strong contingent of players ranging from 17-23 that are really raising eyebrows.

    2018 isn't a very realistic cycle - more of a development stage. But by the time the 2022 qualification cycle heats up, all our up-and-coming youth will be near or in their prime. And most importantly between D3, academies and LTPD there should be solid wave of talent ready to jump in.

    In the meantime, some naturalized MLS players and capping as much talent as possible will help in the short-term.

    I sincerely hope we've seen the last Canadians make it to the EPL but play for a different nation. Begovic keeps being tied to Man City. Breaks my heart that he sat on our bench and now he's going to Brazil.
  14. SoccerJedi

    SoccerJedi New Member

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    It would also help if Canadian's were listed as domestics in the whole of MLS - but that may or may not ever be possible.
  15. Polygong

    Polygong Moderator Staff Member

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    Apparently US labour law is the sticking point there, and even NAFTA doesn't negate it.

    Interesting plan for Ontario, any idea what's going on in other provinces? I imagine that PLSQ is a similar plan for Quebec. I would imagine that BC could also follow suit. The prarie provinces may have to combine efforts, and the Atlantic provinces as well.
  16. SoccerJedi

    SoccerJedi New Member

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    I apologize but I am out of the loop in terms of other provinces. I believe discussions are being had for changes in their systems.

    Ontario is a good start. The golden horseshoe, for Americans this is the area around Toronto, holds anywhere from 25-30% of the population of the entire country and as a bonus a large amount of immigrants friendly to the game.

    I can't emphasize enough the importance of a successful Toronto FC. Laugh all you want, but inspiration is an incredibly powerful tool in creating a pro athlete. And I've said from day one, the greatest legacy TFC can provide is a stronger men's and women's national roster. Right now we're seeing the very early fruit of TFC's influence and/or existence with native-Ontario players like Lucas Cavallini, Doneil Henry, Jonathan Osorio, Russel Teibert and Jordan Hamilton. Success at TFC, and other Canadian clubs, will only grow the list of names exponentially. It could mean the difference between an athlete choosing soccer over hockey or basketball. Inspiration is priceless.
  17. Kingston

    Kingston Member

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    As Moaca indicated, it isn't unhelpful. Off the top of my head, however, I can't think of any NT players who'
    ve come up through that route other than Kyle Bekker. (For the men anyway.)
  18. Kingston

    Kingston Member

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    To be accurate, this includes putting out a paper about how neat it would be to have a proper D3 setup and then offering to sanction leagues which should come into being at some point in the future. Leagues which we are to believe will somehow be better than the CSL and the PDL teams that actually exist today with real owners, stadium arrangements, and fan bases.
  19. Polygong

    Polygong Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm guessing that the plan is to woo the existing CSL and PDL clubs that they like into their new system. Surely there are no new markets for the CSA sanctioned league to start new clubs in, so they'd have to draw in existing clubs.
  20. cflsteve

    cflsteve Member

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    Question could it be possible for each of the current leagues to run under a single umbrella similiar to Junior Hockey and the CHL with the WHL, OHL, and the QMJHL where winning each conference is important but there can be other things sponsored by CSA built in around it?
    In which case players could become known and desirable for both MLS and NASL clubs in Canada and in the US
  21. Polygong

    Polygong Moderator Staff Member

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    Possible in theory... but given the various provincial fifedoms that exist, it would be difficult.
  22. SoccerJedi

    SoccerJedi New Member

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    Here is L1O's official announcement from the OSA as well as support documentation including application:

    http://www.ontariosoccer.ca/OSABlog/index.php/archives/9550

    Here is Jason de Vos's opinion against its sanctioning:

    http://www.jasondevos.com/2013/11/18/sanctioning-of-league1-ontario-is-a-mistake/

    For or against this idea, the reality is that the clubs that will join have a mountain to climb to be successful. A sound business model can help. I'm a firm believer that intimate venues, much like MLS, can be a key contributor and add a level of legitimacy not previously experienced. But to get there, you need to climb that mountain.

    Whether or not it's ultimately a smart decision from the CSA and OSA - it's what we have. I hope the clubs will try harder to reach out to Ontario's supporters of the game and in turn, those supporters will reach back.
  23. cflsteve

    cflsteve Member

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    Maybe if the CSA began to pattern itself after the CHL Junior system. Bringing each D3 leages winner for a Memorial Cup type thing with the winner playing in the following years Voyager cup.
    A CSA top prospects game.
    As you said good in theory but things like this could begin to gell the seperate leagues together.
  24. Moaca

    Moaca Member

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    Stalteri, Occean, Friend, Daniel Haber, Jakovic, Ricketts IIRC. Plenty more, if I think about it. Some were there longer than others. For example, I think Stalteri was only at Clemson for a year.

    Maybe, we're referring to the present NT where there are much less NCAA produced players, likely due to the rise of the MLS academy players but the NCAA is still a valuable source.
  25. Cliveworshipper

    Cliveworshipper Member+

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    Josh Simpson played 3 years for Clive Charles and Bill Irwin at the University of Portland.

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