Loss Leaves Canadian Fans Shell-Shocked

After 8-1 defeat in Honduras, big changes must be made in order to ensure future Canadian success
by Henrik Lonne   |   Wednesday, October 17, 2012

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

Where do I even start?

I’ll begin with the emptiness inside of me, that I am sure many of you also feel. I knew that Canada might lose this one. I knew that I was an optimist when I was dreaming of the team making the Hexagonal round.

But ... this?

The defending was horrendous, the passion and the will to win was no where to be seen. How, seriously, how does a result like this happen? This is the fastest growing sport in the country, millions are playing it. So how did Canada lose in this manner?

Before the game, the Jonathan de Guzman saga got a new episode, as he announced that he was just bluffing by saying in June that he was committed the Dutch program.

I’ll make my feelings clear about de Guzman: I do not want to see him near the Canadian men's national team. Ever. Playing for your national team is about more than a career. It is about pride, about caring.

I have no problems with players suiting up for other countries than the one they were born in. Just look at Terrence Boyd. He cares and he is proud to play for the USMNT. Cacau wanted to repay the difference Germany had made for him and his family by playing the national team. That I understand and respect.

But constantly going back and forth, and using your brother, to instill hope in the minds of the fans? Stay in Europe, Jonathan. Junior Hoilett at least has the decency to not play the emotions of the fans. Is this really the behavior of a committed player that will fight for Canada?

And when it comes to commitment and fight, it is impossible to not look at Stephen Hart and his job as Canada's manager. As said before, this team has, at times, shown that it can do more, and in the end it is the role of the manager to lay a tactical foundation and to inspire a belief in the players, that victory is possible.

Does this sound like BS to you?

Just look at John Herdman and the Canadian women’s team. He didn’t really change that much, but what he did was change the mindset of the team and that made a great difference.

That is the kind of coach the Canadian men need too. Canada had the quality players and skill to have won this game. We know this. Isn’t that why we are so disappointed?

Plenty of players will leave the team now. Some because of age; others will have to leave because they have shown that they cannot perform when it really matters. I can’t see a future for Hart with this team. The Canada Soccer Association needs to find the right person, if progress is to be made.

While it is also easier to throw everything out the window, we must also remember that results happen later than when the changes are implemented. Rather than just tearing down the house, we have to take a serious look at the state of it and what has already been done to mend it.

Personally, I am very much looking forward to the feasibility study for an all-Canadian Division II, which will come out in a few weeks. If anything positive is to be taken out of this result, it might be that the Canadian soccer world might be more open to change.

Benjamin Massey made the following comment on Twitter after the game: “For two years me and millions like me were told we didn't matter because our sacrifice would get Canada through to the hex.”

I sympathize with this. I also agree with the argument that playing in Toronto isn’t necessarily a good thing. And, of course, rash judgments are not productive.

Everyone within the Canadian soccer community needs to sit down and consider how to improve Canadian soccer. This loss shouldn't have happened. However, this should not turn into regional infighting. Every stone needs to be turned – including where the team plays.

Keep the focus on Canada and how to benefit the sport as a whole.

Maybe, then, the results will come.

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.