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Welcome to Partially Obstructed View. We are each restrained by the limits of our own perspective, but when we meet to share information a clearer picture of the truth can be revealed. Comments & criticisms are welcome.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

First Person View – For Country

    It's been a while since I sat down to get opinionated about something, apologies for that, but midseason torpor set in, and I did not rage against it as much as I should have. There have been plenty of causes and ideas, which will be coming forth in due time.

    The controversial, if expected, announcement that all three of Canada’s upcoming World Cup Qualifiers – against Cuba, Honduras, and Panama - and the Centennial celebratory friendly against the US will be held in Toronto and not spread around the country, has caused some outrage.

    While I do sympathize with the fans’ desire to have the national team come to their town, with all due apology, this is not about them; nor is it about Toronto. It is not about ingratiating yourself to the wider nation, this is about setting a base, offering the team the best chance to qualify, and building for the future. Winning will bring the fans out, Toronto – for the reasons mentioned previous – is a good starting point.

    I do feel bad for the cities – Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, etc. – that have shown some support for the game in recent years, but sacrifices must be made. If the power of football resided in Asia – as it may well one day – I would understand if coming to Vancouver was the best course of action. I wouldn’t like it, but I would comprehend the reality.

    While the expression “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is not entirely true, especially in today’s now-society, there is something to be said about building the demand, such that when the team does make it to town, the drive and hunger for the event is present. Vancouver did an inspiring job of supporting the Women’s Olympic qualifying, but that does not necessarily translate to full houses for a Tuesday night tie against Cuba.

    In the coming years I desperately hope there are more friendlies per annum to spread around the country and feed that demand for local matches; perhaps even some Gold Cup matches will migrate north of the border.

    The bizarre argument that preparation in Florida, only to travel to Toronto for the friendly in June, then on to Cuba is justification for sending a game to the West Coast is ludicrous. They are two entirely different cases, of time zone, travel considerations, and need. What’s best for the team will not always be what is best for the individual – insert weak joke about no Van. in team; though there is a TEAM Radio in Van., but I digress.

    Canadian soccer has long been held back by internecine – sorry, learned a new word in January’s book of the month - struggles about power bases and regionalism; it’s over due that these petty squabbles be set aside for the greater good.

    At Christmas, I wrote – over at Waking the Red – about the need for a true sense of community for Canadian soccer and this silly game of one-upmanship is unbecoming of a nation seriously considering itself a contender for the World Cup.

    Most nations view the national team as sacrosanct and overlook petty club rivalries in support of the whole, but for Canada, the inconsequential factor of where the game is to be held draws more ire than any club disputes. Perhaps the CSA’s decision to not honour the spirit over the letter of the laws in the seeding for the upcoming Voyageur’s Cup – one example of a similarly contested dispute – should come as some solace to the aggrieved, but more on that later.

    I’m very intrigued by the idea of a membership plan, though details are yet to emerge; I mused awhile back on the Voyageur’s forum that the CSA needed a partnership with hotel and airline providers to allow fans wishing to travel for the matches to do so at a reduced expense. I hope something gets sorted; I would love to follow the team around and I’m quite certain there are many more like me.

    Really wish I had been able to make it out to the event tonight, but I had prior plans and wasn’t entirely sure where it was. Oh well, next time.

    Also apparently they unveiled a new kit; I’m deeply grateful for the efforts the folks over at Umbro Canada have expended on hyping the national team. Kit looks good, but again, the shirt – much like the location – is infinitely less important than what it stands for, and where it can take us.

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