Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Maritime Mishap

After what has seemed like the quickest three week stretch humanly possible, unbeknownst to the majority of sporting fans in Canada, because I think we need to differentiate the difference between a Canadian sports fan, and a true, loyal Canadian Soccer fan, we have reached the quarterfinal stage of the World cup . There is a difference, and this article will parallel the reasons on why I think the Canadian Soccer Association dropped the proverbial ball when selecting host sites for the 2015 FIFA women's world cup, and further yet and even disturbingly more outrageous, they really missed the boats on selecting the playoff host sites.

First, before I delve into the reasoning as to why I feel the way I do, let me just first backtrack as being a mid eighties baby, my recollection of early to mid nineties Canadian Soccer, aside from the legendary tandem of Dick Graham and Vic Rauter on what I believe was called "Soccer Saturday" was the majority of national games that were broadcast were hosted at Commonwealth Stadium. The remnants of the likes of Paul Peschisolido scoring a goal and then making a victory lap around the infamous track which circled the playing confines were memories that were able to stick with me because these games were hosted at one primary destination, with one primary landmark that being the track. And I can just add that Peschisolido was an absolute beast for me on my Nintendo 64 in FIFA world cup '98, I apologize for the side bar but that game was an absolute stellar, other then "Waverace", best game of my childhood.  Ok, back to the topic at hand getting away from my Nintendo domination, the fact that Edmonton hosted these friendlies/World Cup qualifiers/gold cups was something that stood out to me. A lot of other sports tend to rotate locales, such as soccer does now. Some(most) would argue that diversification amongst destinations is a good thing as it allows the fine game of soccer to be grown nationally, but the purists could distain that by doing this we lose that memorability. To use a good comparable, I'll reference the Canadian University Vanier Cup. For years, it had one location, Toronto. You would get ready in your living room each November a day before the Grey Cup in anticipation of a good, high scoring indoor football game featuring players, that if they were lucky, would crack a practice roster in the CFL. Now, what do we get, a game in Saskatoon,Saskatchewan on a  day when it's -40 Celsius, playing on a regional field that is better suited for a neighbourhood pick-up game of flag football. Final score 2-0 on a safety! To bring this all back, the World Cup has come to Canada in 2015 and we're rewarding sites like Moncton,New Brunswick???? The same Moncton who has a tough enough time securing enough season ticket commitments to bring the CFL to their province, our supposed home brewed, superior traditional game of football can't suffice, but yet they can host a soccer world cup? 

I was watching a couple preliminary matches from Moncton a couple of weeks ago, and literally they were playing to a half sold-out crowd.  I understand, and I prefaced in the article earlier that I fully support growing the game in parts of the country that otherwise wouldn't get a cup of coffee but save this "experimentation" for friendlies/gold cups/ etc etc. Let the world cup play on pitches that can actually consummate worldly crowds. I may be biased, nevermind that, I AM biased when I say the my hometown province of   Saskatchewan should've been included in the rotation, specifically Regina because frankly Saskatoon doesn't have the facility. Riderville surely would've jumped on board and supported the chance to see Ivory Coast and Norway or France v England. I'd be extremely curious to understand the reasoning asto why Saskatchewan was axed from contention and also why Edmonton, who's a soccer made metropolis probably large in part due to their beloved Oilers looking like an American Hockey League club these days, didn't get rewarded with the final games of this tournament. If it was an availability issue, then I apologize for my rant but due to the Canadian Soccer Association's decision to give Moncton a undeserved lineup, I'm sure their first pick of Montague,Prince Edward Island, or some other small island was offered and couldn't accept.

According to geniuses/crooks at FIFA, not growing the game at all is better then putting Canada on the soccer map.

Thanks, and hope you're thoroughly enjoying. Please feel free to respond with your own thoughts

Brett Murray



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