Diagnosis of Canadian Football

Discussion in 'Canada' started by DominicanStrikeForce, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. DominicanStrikeForce

    May 1, 2005
    Canada
    In my 26 years I've always known higher level soccer in this country to be a 2 steps forward and 2 steps back sort of story, like we cant get over "the hump" and stay there. I would like to know what other Canadians think about why a country of our size seems to continuosly faulter at the national level. Is it the players, managment, financial, grassroots or whatever is the biggest factor in major possitive and permenant change.
     
  2. Stephen1164

    Stephen1164 New Member

    Jul 7, 2003
    USA
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Heck I thought this was a thread on the CFL GO ARGOS!!!!
     
  3. Canadian_Supporter

    Staff Member

    Dec 20, 1999
    Prostějov, CR
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Excuse me...

    I believe it should read Go Tigercats! :D
     
  4. Khansingh

    Khansingh New Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    The Luton Palace
    Those bastards in Winnipeg are sitting on my Bashir Levingston jersey. I'm starting to get pissed.

    Anyway, with strong ownership in Hamilton and Toronto, TV ratings and attendence on the upswing, and lucrative corporate sponsorships, I would diagnose the CFL as very healthy.
     
  5. MLS3

    MLS3 New Member

    Feb 7, 2000
    Pac NW
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    and if they added a 10th team in Halifax (Halifax Hurricane??) then the league would be even cooler...
     
  6. Joe MacCarthy

    Joe MacCarthy New Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    Actually, a friend of mine has a real collectors item; an Atlantic Schooners t-shirt. The prospective backers (JI Albrecht, ughh) created the shirts some 20 years ago to promote the proposed 80s franchise

    Doubt if the team would be called Halifax Somethings and I think the Atlantic Schooners name would still be popular but they need some big money to get this thing off the ground. Irvings, McCains etc. The Irvings have dabbled in sports ownership with the QMJHL Moncton hockey team which has been reasonably successful.
     
  7. BritSoccer

    BritSoccer New Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Alberta
    From what I can see in Alberta there is a strong grassroots following. Lots of kids playing, lots of enthusiasm from players, parents and volunteers. But naff all support from CSA and not enough support from big business (sponsorship etc...).

    Having lived in Canada for close to three years I feel there is a lot of "issues" with soccer in this country. First and foremost, once a player reaches a certain age/stage there is little opportunity for advancement. If you don't go to University how do you even stand a chance? Even younger, in Alberta there is the Provincial team. One premier team. For an entire Province. Makes no sense to me.

    Another problem I see is in Canada there is much more competition between the sports for players. In Europe most people play the basics: Football, Rugby, Cricket and maybe another national sport (Athletics?). In Canada there is an absolute bevvy of sporting options - all with rep leagues, associations, recruitment: soccer, hockey, baseball, volleyball, basketball, swimming, athletics, football, lacrosse. It's not unusual in my U12 rep team to have a boy involved with more than one sport. At the 13/14 age there comes a time when a teenager has to make a choice - because they can't carry on participating in several sports and go to school and get a part time job and have a life.

    I earnestly believe if there was more of a commitment from the top level in Canada to promote soccer, get quality players playing across the country and give more opportunity for young players to advance there would be an explosion of interest.

    But I'm dreamin'.........
     
  8. Joe MacCarthy

    Joe MacCarthy New Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    I'm gonna say something and I'm gonna try and not make it sound like trolling or being argumentative and it is just my opinion. This is my rant on your comment on "explosion of interest"

    For the most part, for whatever reason Canadians just don't like soccer. It is almost as simple as that. As fans we can't accept that and I guess are working to try and change that.

    This hit home with me when I heard someone on TV talking about the NHL in the US. The NHL has had US network TV contracts off and on since the early 1960s. The number of kids playing hockey in the US has skyrocketed since then, yet the popularity of viewing hockey on TV or hockey becoming part of the culture has not increased (actually decreased). Most Americans outside of a few large areas just don't like hockey and we as Canadians find that hard to accept.

    We look at the number of kids playing soccer in Canada and say we have huge registration numbers. We do, but aside from the large urban immigrant centres I have never in my life seen kids kicking around a soccer ball in an unorganized game. For those of you in the big cities I'm sure this is a common occurrance but it hasn't been for me in my travels.

    I played soccer in school in the 70s. Every school had a soccer team, lots of kids played soccer, it was as popular as all the other sports but there was no soccer culture. I played soccer but rarely had the urge to watch it (usually the Nats on rare occasions on CBC) and yes there was soccer on TV occasionally (but not near as much as today). Conversely, I didn't play organized hockey but I watched it religiously.

    I guess part of what you're saying about nowhere to go in soccer is true. I played organized baseball for years and Canada has more baseball than soccer awareness but you get to that certain age when it is time to stop playing. You're not really aware of what is out there and the gap between the next level and the level you are at is too great (in your own mind)

    Part of the reason I enjoyed soccer was because it was somewhat exotic, different from other games. The game was strangely un North American (whatever that means) low scores, strange rules (no hand ball, offside rule, yellow cards).

    I don't think this is a reason why soccer isn't more popular but it is a big one for me. That reason is the inherent unfairness of the game. The referee (corrupt, incompetent or fair) has more affect on the outcome of a game than almost any other sport. Penalties, which Canada has been a victim of to a very large extent lately kill the game for me. To me, diving and the referee falling for it are intolerable but there are cultures that say that is part of the game. I think many Canadians would disagree.

    For the most part the Canadian mentality is to play fair and not to throw batteries and urine bags. The culture and fanaticism that surround soccer are foreign to Canadians. We love hockey but not to the extent that soccer is to many of its fans and I believe most Canadians prefer it that way.
     
  9. DominicanStrikeForce

    May 1, 2005
    Canada
    I agree for the most part, Canadians don't take soccer seriously enough as you can tell from the others who responded to my question. A large percent of the people in Canada who take soccer very seriously are people who are from or are born from people who come from foreign country's where soccer is #1. The problem is that these people come here and see no passion for the game here and continue to support there old world teams and countries. Therefore most of your young talent pool want to get the hell out of here and go play where their appriciated, a la Owen Hargreves!
     
  10. Joe MacCarthy

    Joe MacCarthy New Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    I have to take exception to your comment about players wanting to get out of Canada which is an insult to about 99 percent of Canadians playing abroad. If there was a good living to be made in Canada I doubt too many would leave. If all monies were the same the only reason to leave would be for the glamour and tradition of a ManU, Inter etc. Who the hell would go to Scandinavia or second division Europe? (Don't mean to be insulting to Scandinavians as they allow our players to play there)

    Please don't associate Owen Hargreaves with the majority of Canadians abroad.

    I would also disagree that people see no passion here and support their old country. If they're partial to their old country they are going to support them anyway. That's a very convenient excuse to a large contigent of people who support the country they chose to leave over a country that provided them a new life.

    I think my points are borne out by the experience of our friends to the south.
     
  11. BritSoccer

    BritSoccer New Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Alberta
    So, do anyone of you think that soccer will ever be an accepted and mainstream sport in Canada?

    Your right, "explosion" probably wasn't the right word to use. But I still feel after reading your replies that if there was more promotion from the top down it would have an impact on grassroots.
     
  12. bigp

    bigp New Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    TDOT
    If you think about it this is not just a soccer issue but a sporting issue in Canada. If you look at other sports like Basketball, Baseball, etc. you would probably see many athletes stop playing at a certain age because there really is no forseeable future in continuing with the sport. Us Canadians rely heavily on the NCAA with these other sports but soccer isn't a big NCAA sport so many players just decide to quit. There really needs to be a whole adjustment to the sporting culture in Canada as there are many athletes out there who just don't get an opputunity to utilise their talents. I really don't understand why Canadian universities don't implement a system like the NCAA where scholarships are handed out to outstanding athletes. You get scholarships because you get high marks and that shows you work hard and are intellectually gifted. You should get scholarships for working hard and being physically gifted as well. There has to be so much talent in Canada, especially with more and more immigrants coming into this country and it's all being wasted because of the perception that there's no future in sports.
     
  13. rivers

    rivers New Member

    Jul 11, 2003
    Canada
    football is just not part of our culture or way of life
     
  14. rivellino1

    rivellino1 New Member

    Jun 13, 2004
    New York City
    This is a stupid thread that does not need any debate. In Canada, Ice Hockey is the national sport. It is "football" for the Canadians because they have a lot of passion for the sport.
     
  15. Khansingh

    Khansingh New Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    The Luton Palace
    Some Canadian Universities offer special assistance to student athletes. But the predominant philosophy of the CIS seems to be that athletics should compliment the academic experience, not supercede it. Also, I don't think that University Sport generates enough revenue to justify NCAA-style athletic scholarships. Football, men's basketball, and men's hockey might.
     
  16. Then why does soccer have more registrants than hockey? Also have you ever been in southern Ontario during a World Cup and seen some of the street celebrations that can happen? The problem is that at the pro level our elite level of soccer is on a par with class AA or intercounty baseball or senior A or ECHL hockey and as an entertainment product draws crowds accordingly. If Toronto had a team in a league like the Premiership or serie A they could fill the Skydome regularly for soccer. It may take a couple of decades to start getting there by that's where MLS enters the equation.
     
  17. Flyin Ryan

    Flyin Ryan Member

    May 13, 2004
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think if there was a Canadian soccer league, it would help. I know there's money issues, but do not underestimate the power to declare someone "National Champions." You have Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver that play in a U.S. league. So Canadians would tend to look at what they do as a U.S. league. I think if you started out small, and built from the grassroots up in terms of teams, it would happen over time. I know there is the "Toronto MLS" situation, but would anyone outside Toronto care about that?
     
  18. Joe MacCarthy

    Joe MacCarthy New Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    You're parroting what I already said. The registration numbers are high... and mean nothing. It's the best daycare going. There were lots of people playing soccer 30 years ago (although not as many as now) has its profile increased significantly amongst Canadians?

    How is a bunch of Greeks yelling in the street going to help Canadian soccer if they won't support it? Toronto just doesn't get it. Montreal and Vancouver are able to draw good crowds with their "inferior" products because they have soccer fans not Euro-wannabes. Same with the CFL although Toronto is starting to clue in.

    They should realize that they can have a good product at home and shouldn't have to look elsewhere. If you don't have a good product blame the Hartrells not Canadian soccer. The Zagreb/Rangers game only drew 18,000 to the Rogers Centre so it appears that this Euro snobbery falls out of fashion fairly quickly.

    One of the most popular threads here is European teams touring Canada - how does that help Canadian soccer? It only serves to marginalize the game even more here. People were whining about the CSA trying to get their cut of these games (like any other FA would do) and put that money back into Canadian soccer. You can bet the promoters of these games wouldn't be doing it if they didn't have to.

    Forty years ago Toronto had the star laden Toronto City team (Matthews, Blanchflower et al). That was as good as you could see. Did that help the cause?

    Saying that if Toronto had a team in the Premiership they could fill the RC but that's like me saying if I won the lottery I'd... nice sentiments but...

    Both you and I can speculate about MLS (apparently on different sides of the issue) but if we look at the USA's struggles (similar to Canada) we might find some solutions. Is catering to the immigrant model working for Chivas?

    How do I think MLS would do in Toronto? Probably as good as the later years of the Blizzard. What I was trying to say in my previous post is that for 40 years soccer popularity has been on a roller coaster with the highs not being all that high.
     
  19. MLS offers the way to build up the sport to the point that it actually works in economic terms as a mainstream entertainment product. The latent demand for the product is already there but the quality out on the field is not being produced yet to sustain major league level spectator interest on a par with the Leafs or the Jays. American soccer has improved tremendously in terms of playing standards from where it was at for Italia 90 because of the investment made in MLS which is based on home produced players rather than bringing in expensive imports like the NASL and ECPSL were. Still a long way to go but the SSS's in Columbus and Los Angeles have provided a blueprint for how to make the sport actually work in North America which simply wasn't there in the NASL era.

    Beyond that I'm not sure what your point is about Rangers vs Zagreb. 18,000 people paying $45 minimum for a preseason friendly involving many fringe players from two clubs that usually don't make much of an impression in Champions League and UEFA cup terms is actually very impressive IMO and the atmosphere would have been tremendous if the proposed 20,000 seat SSS had been available. The key is to provide them with good soccer in a North American context that is actually worth paying to watch.
     
  20. El viejo Matias

    May 21, 2005
    Canada
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina
    soccer will never fully sell here and canada is destined for mediocrity. The philosophy behind the sport is to foreign for many to become mainstream and how the media sells time in North america is what kills soccer viewership. I mean how can Canada ever compete in the soccer world when its own country wont televise the teams games?? Only recently have we been able to get soccer on our TV's period!!!

    Two 45 minute halves is not enough for the media moguls to push product so they will stick to sports where one can paste the advertisemnets on every few minutes, and this I think is the biggest reason why soccer just will not work here. We do not hve the funds to start our own MLS type league, ( when we tried it went under in just a few short years ). Nobody will pay 15 bucks to see mediocre soccer at best.Ergo we will have to hope that maybe some day the Cannucks can somehow squeeze into another WC.
     
  21. Joe MacCarthy

    Joe MacCarthy New Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    I agree that soccer will not become the most high profile sport in Canada as some hope it will be (registrations aside). However that doesn't mean it is destined for mediocrity. Are the US mediocre? I don't think they are. They face many of the same issues we do and are succeeding at an international level.

    As for not broadcasting the games blame the broadcaster not the country. Soccer has been televised in one form or another for a long while in Canada, not just recently. TSN carried CSL soccer and broadcast games regularly. CBC closely followed the Nats and broadcast the FA Cup and NASL games were also aired. The issue of commercial time is a valid point in NA but there are ways around it.

    I agree we do not have the money or initiative (at the present) to start our own league that's why I liked the model the CSA presented (MLS and USL1) It is the cheapest and quickest way to get our younger players playing.

    As for nobody paying to see mediocre soccer, why is it we hold up some European model as unattainable or even worth pursuing. Check out the calibre of soccer in Europe and the crowds they attract. Look at Scandinavia and the SPL. Aside from the biggest clubs (Auld Firm etc.) the calibre of play and the attendances are not much better than MLS or some USL1 teams.

    I agree with what BringBackTheBlizzard said
    The key is to provide them with good soccer in a North American context that is actually worth paying to watch.

    If we don't make our own way and stop trying to emulate European models we will always be one step behind.
     
  22. bigp

    bigp New Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    TDOT
    This isn't just a problem with soccer. It's a problem in all sports except for hockey. Canada is not a sporting nation. We don't invest in sports and therefore will always suck in it. Soccer falls down way below the pecking order because it's not a North American sport. If it was popular in the U.S. then you would bet on more Canadians following and playing it. And I think the whole player registry is a bit misleading. It just shows that suburban kids are playing it as an after school activity. I, living in Toronto, rarely ever see regular pickup games of soccer. I see more kids playing hockey, basketball and baseball. Once you see more kids starting to play pickup games then you can argue that soccer is on the rise.
     
  23. El viejo Matias

    May 21, 2005
    Canada
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina
    very good point..... the kids register for soccer because the parents know it is the cheapest sport.As for pick up games... I only see it in mainly in communities that have a large foreign base.

    For the other guy you missed my earliest point, soccer is not part of our philosophy therefore sure you will see a bunch of spectators watching some crappy footie in Scandanavia somewhere because it is their hometown or region or factory team playing it is their colors if you will, we do not have that regional attachment here not even with hockey anymore.

    As for soccer on TV before the 1990's I had a very tough time aside from WC's to see any quality footie, and I sure was not going to pay 15 bucks back in 1988-89 to see Edmenton Brickmen vs Kitchener Spirit.

    The model in the USA works because in the first 5 years of the MLS a lot of funds were pumped into it and they are a sporting nation far beyond us.
     
  24. RealGooner

    RealGooner New Member

    May 2, 2005
    Toronto
    Joe Macarthy:
    <<Toronto just doesn't get it. Montreal and Vancouver are able to draw good crowds with their "inferior" products because they have soccer fans not Euro-wannabes. Same with the CFL although Toronto is starting to clue in.>>

    Usual incorrect anti-Toronto anti-immigrant rant. I happen to have 3 friends who come from small towns in Northern Ontario. They are WASP hockey-loving guys who also have become huge fans of European soccer teams since coming to TO. So because they like European clubs and not the Lynx and Whitecaps they are not soccer fans, they are just Euro-snobs? LOL, sorry buddy but soccer is what the fan makes it, not what you say it is, so take your foot out of your mouth. My friends prove that non-immigrant Canadians can become passionate about soccer given exposure to quality on-field product. If the EPL and Serie A weren't shown on TV in Canada these guys and others like them would not be soccer fans today.

    Also, Montreal and Vancouver do not have an inferior product. Toronto does, thats why fans stay away, so stop comparing them! "Its the quality stupid!" to borrow a phrase. The commenters above who talk about putting quality product on the field in order to attract local fans have hit the nail on the head. So actually, the Impact, the Whitecaps, BigSoccer posters and Toronto soccer fans (Euro-snobs?)get it. Seems like you are the one that doesnt.
     
  25. Newman

    Newman New Member

    Jul 24, 2002
    Madison, WI
    Realgooner, you're missing the point. I am an American soccer fan. I know very well that I can see better soccer than MLS by watching Premiership games. I will pick the MLS game everytime. Why? Because I feel I have a stake in it, that I am a part of it. I watch these young players develop to represent my country, I can easily go to games and see them in person. I feel connected in a way that I don't when I am simply enjoying quality. Watching Arsenal and Henry is enjoyable, but not in the passionate, edge of my seat, way that watching a US Nats game or MLS playoffs.

    That connection to the game because it is Canadien and because it is good football seems to be what is missing. The passion that surrounds the sport in Canada played by Canadians.

    It develops incrementally, ratcheting up. MLS was pretty lousy in it's first years, but the level raised as players had a chance to develop and athletes saw soccer was a viable pro sport. It takes time and money to shelter and nurture it through it's infancy.
     

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