Canadian Soccer Must Look to the NASL

Canada's influence in the NASL may be jumping next season, which means there will be players abound
by Henrik Lonne   |   Thursday, November 28, 2013

Made in Canada - coverage of the Canadian MLS, NASL & USL Clubs, CSL, PCSL, Canadian Championship & Canada National Teams

In 2014, the North American Soccer League is going to become a lot more Canadian.

Not only does the league now have two Canadian teams with the debut of the Ottawa Fury FC, which joins FC Edmonton, but also the San Antonio Scorpions removed the interim tag from Alen Marcina, making him the third Canadian that will coach in the league when the 2014 spring season begins.

One of the first things he did as coach was to make San Antonio even more Canadian by signing Shaun Saiko, who had been released by FC Edmonton early in November. He joins former MLSer Kevin Harmse at San Antonio, as well as other American-based Canadians such as Paul Hamilton of the Carolina RailHawks and Andre Arango of the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

This means that the 2014 NASL season should be a lot more interesting for fans of Canadian soccer than this past season, especially if you want to watch Canadians play. FC Edmonton has consistently played more Canadian players than its MLS counterparts. And should the Ottawa Fury follow a similar strategy, not only will this give the teams a stronger local connection, but could benefit the Canadian Men’s National Team in the longer run.

Is this a major league? No, this is second-tier soccer and the name is better known for the league that failed 30 years ago than for the one that carries the name now.

But I have a hard time believing that playing the NASL should be a lot worse than in the Swedish second tier, where Canadian National Team player Nik Ledgerwood plays for Hammarby, or not even having a club!

In the current state of Canadian soccer, the CMNT shouldn’t have a fake sense of pride. With two Canadian teams in the NASL that are likely to play a lot of Canadian players, CMNT manager Benito Floro should give a sincere look at the league and the Canadians there and judge whether any could contribute now or later for the team.

The Canadian player pool is extremely shallow right now and no stone should be left unturned, so Canada cannot afford not to look towards the NASL for players.

Henrik LONNE

Copenhagen Business School
Club Domestic:
AGF Aarhus
Club Foreign:
Toronto FC
Born and raised in Denmark, the US performance in the 2002 World Cup dragged Henrik into the world of North American soccer. Subsequent trips to Canada made him a Toronto FC fan from abroad. The passion he now has for MLS outshines most European leagues.