Strategic Plan Shows Path to Soccer Success for Canada

World Cup bid overshadows bold steps forward in the CSA’s strategic plan for 2014-2018
by Henrik Lonne   |   Thursday, January 30, 2014

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It has been a week since the Canadian Soccer Association announced their strategic plan for developing Canadian soccer. The part of it that got the most attention in the media and among many was the CSA’s declaration that it will bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. While this would be a big accomplishment, it is the rest of the strategic plan that will mean much more for Canadian soccer.

Canadian soccer has been suffering for a long time due to poor leadership and a lack of a coherent strategy for the sport in the Great White North. Right now the strategy is mere words on paper and given the lack of leadership previously shown by the CSA, it is understandable if some fans are still sceptical.

It is however important to remember that the CSA has a new governance structure – it is no longer ruled by provincial associations guarding their individual interests – and new people are in charge.

Creating a strategy and putting it down on paper is an important first step in revolutionizing soccer in Canada. By doing so, the CSA has not only shown Canada what it is it strives to achieve, but the CSA has also given the country something to measure the organization by. A strategy is first and foremost a plan for what you want to be and what you want to achieve, but, more importantly, it is a promise.

If the CSA fail in spreading LTPD principles, mandate coaching-certifications, develop a national curriculum, develop regional semi-pro leagues, achieve greater accountability and transparency, and many other things, it will not have lived up to the promise they made last Thursday and the CSA and the people current in charge should be held accountable. They should, however, also be similarly applauded if they are successful.

And the World Cup bid? Can it happen? Sure. Will it happen? Who knows. But the bid in itself could be just as important as potentially winning it – the bid that is. Going for the World Cup could be helpful in inspiring provincial associations in making the necessary changes to improve the foundations of soccer, and whether or not Canada hosts the 2026 tournament, those changes could be what ensures that Canada takes part in it – and potentially even earlier in 2018 or 2022.

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.