A Rough Year for Canadian Soccer

2013 is coming to close and now is the time to reflect on what Canada can do better next year
by Henrik Lonne   |   Thursday, December 12, 2013

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

Phew.

While this isn’t Thanksgiving, surely many Canadian soccer fans are very thankful that 2013 is over.

It was a rough year for the Canada Men’s National Team. After crashing out of World Cup Qualifying in a horrible manner last year, 2013 didn’t provide the comfort some hoped for. After 13 games played, the team went 0-10-3, and were outscored 19-1. All of this included an awkward loss to Martinique, a team not even recognized by FIFA, at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

To be fair, Canada didn’t just schedule easy games against easy opponents – with the possible exception of the 2 Mauritania games – but consistently played against better teams. While I have used this space to advocate scheduling games against weaker opponents to build a positive atmosphere among both players and fans, the Canadian Soccer Association deserves credit for scheduling a lot of games against strong opponents, something the players are only likely to gain from.

So what can we expect from 2014?

Who knows. I hope a win. After having coached the team through 6 games, CMNT manager Benito Floro should have an emergent idea of who is on his side moving forward.

And other than 1 or 2 wins, what I believe Canadian soccer fans should hope for is a team that, relative to its qualities, is playing great soccer in every game. Some games might be lost, others tied, a few perhaps won. But the goal should be some great performances that invoke hope in the future and the integration of talented youngsters into the team.

Many of these young players will come from the 3 Canadian MLS teams. 2013 saw Maxim Tissot and Karl Ouimette break into the first team at Montreal, as well as Russell Teibert establish himself as a key player for Vancouver. In Toronto, a silver-lining from another catastrophic season was the emergence of Jonathan Osorio, who I hope along with Teibert could be important piece of the Canadian offense in the future.

With Alessandro Nesta’s retirement from the Impact, there should be more room in the 2014 Impact defense for the likes of Tissot and Ouimette and hopefully they will continue their development. It will also be interesting to follow what happens in Vancouver. The Whitecaps have said that an important role for their new coach will be to improve the integration of academy players into the first team. Along with Toronto FC team, that might finally experience a sliver of success – something their Canadian players would also benefit from. There should be a few things to build a small hope for the future of Canadian soccer on.

Henrik LONNE

Nationality:
Denmark
College:
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.
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