Why Canada Will be Missing World Cup in Brazil
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The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is a vast but sparsely populated country on the west coast of Africa. Martinique is a quaint island of less than 400,000 people in the Caribbean, which is known more for its sunny beaches and throngs of tourists than for its athletics. Yet both these nations in 2014 accomplished what is becoming an increasingly common footballing feat: they wiped the floor with the Canadian Men’s National Soccer Team (CMNST). You don’t have to be a tuned in football fanatic, or even a casual sports fan to realise that any team losing to Martinique in a competitive match is not destined for anything that remotely resembles greatness, or even base level competence in the foreseeable future. In fact the Men’s National team closed out the 2013 season in November by losing to Slovenia. Losing to Slovenia is nothing to be embarrassed by – they qualified for the 2010 World Cup and narrowly missed out on Brazil 2014 – what’s embarrassing is that the Men’s National team failed to win a single game in 2013 and scored only 1 goal (in a loss to Japan).
Is There Hope for the Future of Soccer in Canada?
2013 represented the worst season in recent memory for the CMNST, and the program is being retuned (yet again) after the international retirement of iconic players Dwayne De Rosario and Julian De Guzman. For years the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) was regarded as somewhat of a joke, an organization who couldn’t convince two once in a lifetime Canadian talents (Jonathan De Guzman and Owen Hargreaves) to play for their birth country, and produced very few players who could play in any of Europe’s top leagues. While this seems dire, there is room for optimism, after all, it’s almost inconceivable that Canada will have a worse year than 2013, most of the current CMNST are under the age of 25, and the CSA has just outlined a new 5 year plan to revamp the organization in preparation for a 2026 World Cup bid, and there are twice as many Canadian children playing soccer over hockey, Canada’s most popular sport. In addition, the under-20 team managed to qualify for the 2013 CONCAF U-20 Championships and gifted Oakville midfielder Kyle Bekker was chosen third overall in the 2013 MLS Super Draft. In the meantime Canadian football fans will have to sit down, grab a pint glass and find someone else to cheer for.