Canada Archive

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Canada vs. Japan: Hard to dislike the World Cup champs

Erin McLeod PHOTO BOB FRID/CANADA SOCCER

Erin McLeod PHOTO BOB FRID/CANADA SOCCER

Sure, when it comes to rivalries in women’s soccer, the Americans are at the top of the Canadian totem pole. They are the ones we, as Canadians, love to hate.

So, as the Canadians women’s national team gets set to face the World Cup champions from Japan twice in the coming week, you can’t expect there to be a war of words. Really, the series of friendlies sorta feels like we’re inviting a well-respected friend and the kids over for a playdate.

Canadian keeper Erin McLeod was at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Fieldhouse to help conduct a clinic for local minor soccer players and, after, she spoke of the challenge of playing the Japanese.

“They are so tactically disciplined, I think it will be a wonderful match for us,” said McLeod. “They are wonderful opponent, they are so well organized, we can’t afford any slip-ups for the entire 90.

“I think Japan reminds me of Germany. Germany is always so very organized and so is Japan. You saw in the World Cup, it was incredible what they did. It was after the tsunami and they really brought a nation together, so the spirit and the heart that team has, we won’t overlook it.”
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Teenage goalkeeper Kaiswatum promoted from academy to FCE roster

Christian Kaiswatum

Christian Kaiswatum

For the last several weeks, teenage goalkeeper Christian Kaiswatum had to keep a secret.

He knew that he was going to get promoted from the academy to the senior squad, but he just wasn’t quite sure when it would happen. And, he was surprised when the Eddies added him as a professional keeper right before the Oct. 6 NASL roster freeze. But, the deal wasn’t announced publicly, so Kaiswatum had to remain quiet.

Until Thursday, that is. The Eddies publicized the Kaiswatum deal; that the 1997-born keeper joins John Smits, Lance Parker and Tyson Farago in the rotation.

“I was a little surprised (about the deal),” said Kaiswatum. “They told me a couple of weeks in advance but I wasn’t expecting (to sign) so soon. I was expecting it later on.”
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Canada frustrates Colombia for 74 wonderful minutes

Ricketts: Should have earned a penalty kick in the early going

Ricketts: Should have earned a penalty kick in the early going

I get the feeling that a lot of Canadian soccer pundits’ work is going to come off like a lot of bad high-school-newspaper sports reports.

We have nothing to be ashamed of!

We lost, but we held world-ranked No. 3 Colombia off the scoresheet for 74 minutes! Seventy-four!

Losing 1-0 was a great learning experience for our boys!

I’m not trying to be mean. But, after Tuesday’s friendly between Canada and Colombia in New Jersey passed the one-hour mark still tied 0-0, I had hopes of writing the most flowery narrative to describe a nil-nil draw since the dawn of time. So, after James Rodriguez caught the Canadians napping on a quickly taken free-kick that ended up in the back of the net, I had to fall back on the high-school-paper cliches.
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17-year-old Boakai’s call-up highlights Canada’s roster for Colombia friendly

14168703842_40586212e6_kCanadian national-team coach Benito Floro is going to give wunderkind Hanson Boakai the chance to play with the big boys.

Boakai won’t celebrate his 18th birthday till later in October, but he will be joining the Canadian national team for its friendly against Colombia at New Jersey’s Red Bull Arena on Oct. 14.

Boakai becomes the first playing member of FC Edmonton to be called up to the senior national side. The call-up comes just days after reports surfaced that the U.S. national team is set to summon Minnesota United’s Miguel Ibarra for its next camp. Ibarra was just named the NASL player of the month for September.

“It’s a compliment to our academy, it’s a compliment to our coaches, it’s compliment to his parents, it’s a compliment to everyone who has helped this young man develop,” said Boakai’s FC Edmonton coach, Colin Miller.

Miller said that Xtreme FC, Boakai’s youth soccer club, deserves massive credit for helping put this teenager on the national soccer map.

Boakai was an integral part of Canada’s squad at the most recent U-17 World Cup; he’s already working ahead of his age group, as he’s in the mix for the current U-20 Canadian squad.
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FIFA to send independent company to “ensure” quality of Canada’s Women’s World Cup turf

fifa-logoFIFA is going to contract an independent inspector to ensure that Canada’s artificial turf fields are indeed good enough to host a Women’s World Cup.

After the Executive Committee wrapped up its meetings in Zurich, FIFA made this announcement: “Regarding the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada, the executive ratified the decision to assign an independent company to travel to Canada in order to test pitches and training fields to ensure they fulfil the FIFA quality requirements.”

The Canadian Soccer Association says it will not make any comments about the timing of FIFA’s announcement, as this was a directive that the Association already knew about. It confirmed that the process of vetting the fields has actually already begun. Surfaces in Edmonton and Moncton are already approved. The goal is to have approval of the match surface and two training fields in each of the host cities.

American star Abby Wambach is leading a group of elite women’s players who have launched legal action against the exclusive use of artificial turf at next year’s Women’s World Cup. They claim the use of turf is a case of gender bias, as no men’s World Cup has ever been staged on artificial turf.

FIFA approves the use of artificial turf for international matches, as long as the surface meets FIFA’s star-rating system.
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PLASTIC PITCH 3 is available now! “The Walking Reds” on the cover!

PPFALL2014COVERThe third issue of PLASTIC PITCH, our national soccer magazine, is out as of right now.

How to get PLASTIC PITCH? If you’re a subscriber, just update the Plastic Pitch app in your Android or IOS device. If not, you can get the App and magazine through iTunes, Apple Newsstand, Google Play and Amazon.

Halloween is coming up, so we decided on a Halloween cover. “The Walking Reds” cover combines soccer and zombies. Why? Because soccer and zombies were meant to be together. And it looks cool.

What will you find inside?
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Floro gets his first Canadian win as the home team scores three, count’ em, three!

Benito Floro

Benito Floro

It was a glass half-full kind of night, wasn’t it?

Canada beat Jamaica 3-1 on Tuesday at BMO Field. It marked the first time our national men’s team scored more than a single goal in game for the first time since Oct. 12 2012; that was a 3-0 win over Cuba in World Cup qualifying, which came directly ahead of that 8-1 loss in Honduras which wiped out all hope of Canada qualifying for the World Cup.

Yup, I did it; I managed to immediately contrast Canada scoring three goals at home with giving up eight goals. That’s the cynicism that needs to be beaten out of the average Canadian soccer follower. It’ll take more than one win in a friendly at home to beat it out of me. Gah.

So, back to the glass-half-full bit. Yes, Canada’s first two goals came on set pieces, and the third goal was the result of a howler from Jamaican keeper Andre Blake — who certainly did nothing to convince his Philadelphia Union bosses that he deserves a shot between the sticks in MLS action anytime soon. But, still, three goals! And, for coach Benito Floro, his first win as Canada’s boss! For a Canadian team that can’t afford to slide any further down the CONCACAF rankings, it’s something that will go some way to build belief that, maybe, just maybe, this country can score some goals at the next Gold Cup and maybe, maybe, maybe, qualify for the Copa America.
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Canadian quotas are price USL must pay for not having Canada at the table when MLS deal was hatched

Victor Montagliani

Victor Montagliani

Back in 2013, Major League Soccer announced its partnership plan with (officially regarded as) third division USL-PRO.

But there was a problem. It was an American agreement made with the oversight of American authorities. For MLS, which is a North American league, shutting Canada out of the process was a major problem.

So, now, both MLS and USL-Pro have to reap what they have sown. As the Montreal Impact (Montreal FC), Vancouver Whitecaps (New Westminster) and Toronto FC (maybe a team north of the city) move ahead with plans for affiliate USL-Pro teams for 2015, we have learned they will be subject to pretty tough quotas.

As reported by Duane Rollins in Canadian Soccer News (link here), any USL-PRO team affiliated with a Canadian MLS team will have to follow some strict roster rules. Half of the players on the squad must be Canadian-eligible, and six of the 11 starters must be Canadian-eligible.

By “eligible” we mean that, if Canadian national-team coach Benito Floro made the call, that player would be available to go.

The move will likely prevent teams from stashing foreign talent on their USL-PRO rosters, or treat their affiliates like true minor-league clubs. That’s fine. The Whitecaps have sent established non-Canadian pros to NASL’s FC Edmonton on loan in the past, and the two teams still have a strong relationship. Toronto FC sent Ryan Richter to the Ottawa Fury. No reason that the Fury can’t continue to build relationships with TFC and the Impact.
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Floro’s choice of Canadian goalkeepers offers food for thought

Milan Borjan

Milan Borjan

Canadian national men’s team coach Benito Floro has released the roster ahead of Sept. 9’s friendly in Toronto against Jamaica.

Of course, it is now the job of the media to second-guess him. And, specifically, I’ll look at the goalkeeping department, where veteran Kenny Stamatopoulos has been named to the team, along with Milan Borjan, who is unattached at the moment, and Quillan Roberts, the kid who was recently recalled from the USL back to Toronto FC, but isn’t seeing any MLS action.

Yes, Borjan is a veteran, but he doesn’t have a club. Roberts doesn’t have the club experience to help Canada’s senior team, yet. And there are other options out there. David Monsalve starts regularly at AC Oulu in Finland’s second division. His team is on an eight-game undefeated streak. Yet he hasn’t received any contact from Floro (I spoke with Monsalve yesterday — dropping a major hint towards what to expect in the “Passports” section of Plastic Pitch’s autumn issue).
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U20WWC: Prince’s injury was a harbinger of bad things to come for Canada

Nichelle Prince

Nichelle Prince

At the 15-minute mark, the Canadian team got bad news — and a bad omen. Striker Nichelle Prince had to leave Saturday’s U-20 Women’s World Cup quarter-final due to injury.

And, facing the tournament-favourite Germans in front of more than 22,000 fans at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium, the Canadians lost their top central striking option.

Canada would go on to lose 2-0; but the home side did create plenty of chances that result in scuffed shots, tame efforts right at the keeper, or headers over the bar. In terms of possession and territorial play, the Canadians matched the Germans. But, where the Germans took advantage of their opportunities, Canadians scoring chances went begging.

And Prince had to sit on the bench to watch most of the game.
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