Canada Archive

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FCE’s Boakai and Jalali to join national U-20 side for the Milk Cup

Dale-Farm-Milk-Cup-logoFC Edmonton teenagers Hanson Boakai and Sadi Jalali will be leaving the team on Wednesday.

Why? So they can join the Canadian U-20 squad for the Milk Cup, a tournament to be held in Northern Ireland from July 27-August 1. Canada will face Mexico, China and the Irish hosts.

And, for Boakai and Jalali, it’s a chance to audition for Canadian squad going into the cycle for the 2015 U-20 World Cup qualification process. For Jalali, who scored his first career NASL goal on a penalty at the end of the spring season, it’s not a surprise to be named to the team. Much of the U-20 squad will be made up of the players who played at the U-17 World Cup in 2012 — and Jalali was a part of that team. A concussion forced him to miss the most recent U-20 national-team camp, but he was always a player you’d have thought would be in the rotation.

But, Boakai was part of the U-17 World Cup team in 2014; so he’s moving up in terms of age group. But, as arguably the best player of the 2014 Amway Canadian Championship, and a player who has already earned a trial stint at Fortuna Dusseldorf, his stock may be higher at this moment than any other youth player in this country’s system.

“I’m one of the youngest ones, it will be a new family.”
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Beckie’s move from American program to Canadian program highlights U-20 roster

Janine Beckie

Janine Beckie

Over the past two NCAA seasons, Janine Beckie has scored at a torrid pace for Texas Tech.

Now, her addition to the Canadian team ahead of the U-20 Women’s World Cup provides coach Andrew Olivieri with an interesting trump card.

Beckie’s name was on the team roster for the U-20 Women’s World Cup, which was announced Wednesday morning. And Beckie, a former member of the American youth program who joined the Canadian system earlier this year, was on it.

And, yes, before you even need to ask — she is the sister of defender Drew Beckie, the current Ottawa Fury member who played with Canada’s U-23s in qualifying games for the 2012 World Cup. In fact, U-20 Women’s Team coach Andrew Olivieri said that Drew’s input was key in helping his sister decide to play for Canada.
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Garber hints that Canadian-player rules in MLS may change: Why we need to look at minutes played, not roster spots

Don Garber

Don Garber

In a Facebook chat with fans held on Monday, MLS Commissioner Don Garber was greeted with the thorny question about Canadian players in the league.

Francis Ghanimé asked him: “Will Canadian players ever stop counting as internationals for American clubs?”

And this was the answer from the commish.

“We are working on a new approach to our international player rules as they relate to Canada. Stay tuned.”

We have asked MLS for more clarification on the issue.

But, we do know the rules as they pertain to Canadians are on the radar. We also know the Canadian Soccer Association has lobbied MLS to changes the rules so Canadians are seen as domestic players, league wide. This would then put MLS on an equal footing with USL-PRO, which allows Canadians to be domestics on U.S. clubs.

Right now, the Canadian teams are required to each carry three Canadian players on their rosters. On the U.S. teams, Canadians are counted as international players and take up roster space that many American teams would prefer to give to players from, well, sexier parts of the soccer world. Meanwhile, on Canadian teams, Americans are seen as domestics.

The timing is interesting. We know CSA has been pushing for changes for a while. But, now, the CSA has gone public with its stated goal of having Canada’s own “Division 1A” (CLICK HERE or see issue 2 of Plastic Pitch), and reports continue that NASL, CFL owners and the CSA are discussing the formation of a Canadian division — something that NASL won’t deny, but says it simply can’t comment on… at this time.

So, pressure is no doubt building on MLS.
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CBC’s great World Cup numbers and how they could boost Canada’s bid for 2026

2014FIFAWorldCuplogo2-FIFAMy inbox regularly pings when yet another press release about TV ratings comes out.

It sorta works like this. If ratings are good (such as this World Cup, or Olympic hockey numbers), the network that’s got the rights wants to tell as many people as it can about its success: How many people watch, what are the key demographics, when the broadcast reached its peak viewership.

Now, if the ratings are poor, we get nothing, nada. How did last year’s MLS Cup do, ratings-wise, on TSN? We didn’t get a press release on that.

Of course, the average journalist gets so many of these big-TV-numbers releases, that they simply become background noise.

But the CBC’s numbers for this World Cup deserve a mention. Not because anyone needs to be pumping up the CBC’s tires. The network has already announced that, in its post-NHL life, it is getting out of the sports business. Why do we need to celebrate the numbers? Because the outstanding TV viewership tallies can be used by the Canadian Soccer Association for a greater purpose.
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Canadian women lose to Germans by a goal; but it’s a flattering scoreline

Erin McLeod

Erin McLeod

Imagine that 2015 is upon us. We’re coming up to the Women’s World Cup.

If you were asked which of the elite countries we matches up best against, the country our women’s national team would be most likely to upset, chances are the answer would be United States. The U.S. overwhelms you with passion and athleticism, but the rivalry brings out the best in Canada — and John Herdman’s young Canadians have shown that they can handle the athleticism.

And that’s what made Germany’s visit so important. As much as the Americans offer Canada the best possible chance for an upset in 2015, our women’s national team doesn’t match up all that well with sides that are very technical in nature. Our defenders are young and can handle the physical challenges that Abby Wambach and Sydney Leroux might present in 2015; but we’re not so sure if they can handle sides that can pick you apart with a series of precise passes or a clever change of play.

Canada had that very challenge on Wednesday night at BC Place; a high-profile Women’s World Cup tuneup against the Germans. And, even though the scoreline was a respectable 2-1 for the visitors, you’d have a hard time feeling good about this match if you were a Canadian supporter.
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Issue 2 of Plastic Pitch: An in-depth look at Canada’s 2026 World Cup bid

PPitch2_SUMMER_UNCORRECTEDAs we enjoy the current World Cup action from Brazil, Canadians can wonder what it would be like to host the world 12 years from now.

Can we afford it? How far are we into our bid for the 2026 World Cup? What kind of support exists from CONCACAF? And what would happen to all of the hard work that’s already gone into the bid if FIFA takes the 2022 World Cup away from Qatar and gives it to the United States?

The second issue of Plastic Pitch, out today, features a 16-page section on Canada’s bid for the World Cup. Get it today on iOS(CLICK HERE), Google Play(CLICK HERE) or Amazon(CLICK HERE). For current subscribers, just grab the new issue when you open the app.
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Canada scores again in draw with Moldova, while RBC ad burned into brains of supporters

The stream: It was a nice idea, but the execution... not so much.

The stream: It was a nice idea, but the execution… not so much.

I woke up bright and early this morning (had a TV appearance, so I was up and at ‘em at 6 a.m.) and, before heading out the door, checked to see if the Canada-Moldova friendly would be available anywhere online.

I always check the opposing nation’s official site first; it can often give you some leads on whether or not the game will be broadcast in that country. And, lo and behold, the Moldovan Football Federation had this message for all to see — that the Canada-Moldova game would be webcast live via UStream, through the MFF site. I Tweeted it out and was surprised by the amount of retweets, especially by my followers in the West. Like, what time do you people get up?

Oh, the excitement of not having to find a feed on a site where the game is consistently interrupted by requests to chat with potential Russian wives or anime porn!

The stream, coming from what appeared to be a secret Austrian location, fired up right before the national anthems. I was treated to an RBC ad in French. Then, a bit of “O Canada.” Then, the Blue Spinning Wheel of Death. The feed reloaded. The RBC ad again. The blue wheel. Wheel. RBC. Wheel. RBC. Occasionally, the feed would get to point where it would play the whole ad, and I’d see shot from the game, and background chatter that sounded like the kitchen at a really good party. Then, the blue wheel again.

But, thanks to Twitter, we learned that Moldova had gone up a goal just six minutes in thanks to Eugen Sidorenco, who plays his club football in the Russian second division.

Then, came the Twitter chatter of a Canadian goal. There was discussion on whether it came from open play. Then came the confirmation: Tosaint Ricketts had scored after a corner. Andre Hainault headed the ball into the danger area and Ricketts finished.
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De Guzman says that when he’s replaced by a young Canadian, it will be a sign of national-team progress

Julian de Guzman

Julian de Guzman

The world of sports is filled with stories of veterans trying to hang onto their starting jobs, trying to hold off the hungry young pups from taking their spots.

For Canadian national team midfielder Julian de Guzman, nothing will tell him that Canada’s on the road to soccer recovery than when coach Benito Floro tells him that it’s time to let a kid take his spot in the centre of midfield.

It’s not that de Guzman wants to leave the Canadian program; anything but. He says it is still an honour and a pleasure to represent the country. He says that he would love to keep playing, “as long as my legs hold up.”

But, at 33, he understands that he shouldn’t be the surefire first choice to start for Canada in the middle of the park. And he won’t be disappointed when Floro says that a young gun like Bryce Alderson, Kyle Bekker or Samuel Piette will be taking his place.

“I would rather have a young Canadian take my spot,” de Guzman said Monday on a conference call with the media. “It’s the goal of having a better national team.”
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A goal! A goal! Canada scored a goal!

Atiba Hutchinson

Atiba Hutchinson

Canada didn’t win the game, but the men’s national side earned a moral victory.

For the first time in 14 long months, Canadian soccer supporters could celebrate a goal scored by the men’s national side. An actual goal.

In case you’ve forgotten what a goal is — and how could we blame you — that’s when the whole of the ball crosses the opponent’s goal line, in between the goalposts and under the crossbar.

That goal allowed Canada to earn a 1-1 draw with Bulgaria in a friendly played on Austrian soil. Judging by the empty seats, most of the locals didn’t take advantage of the fact that tickets for the game were going for the bargain-basement price of six Euros each.

The goal came off the foot of veteran Atiba Hutchinson, who put his penalty kick just inside the post after teammate Tosaint Ricketts was kicked in the face by a Bulgarian defender.
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Aird’s Canadian repatriation the highlight of the U-20 roster

Fraser Aird

Fraser Aird

The Canadian Soccer Association released the names of the U-20 players who have are currently in Sunrise, Fla. for a week-long camp.

And one name jumps right out at the Canadian soccer supporter. Fraser Aird.

Aird has been the subject of will-he-or-won’t-he talk regarding his international future. Would he play for Canada or would he play for Scotland? And his appearance at Canada’s U-20 camp is helping confirm recent speculation that he’s ready to don Canada’s colours at both the junior and senior levels.

The teen, who is with Rangers, was placed on Canada’s 35-player long list ahead of last year’s Gold Cup. Then-Canada coach Colin Miller had tried to use his longstanding connections with Rangers to try and convince the teen to come play for his birth nation. Miller spoke with Rangers’ manager Ally McCoist last year to try and sell the parties in Scotland on the benefit of having Aird play for Canada. (CLICK HERE)

As a former Rangers player who represented Canada, Miller was hoping the connections would go a long way. But Aird didn’t play for Canada at the Gold Cup, so many of us pessimistic Canadians had pretty well assumed that the teen had committed to Scotland. After all, Aird had previously played for Scotland’s U-17 and U-19 sides.
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