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tess11

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Hello all. I'm new to Voyageurs, and a first time poster, though I've been lurking for a while. I knew there had to be lovers of the Beautiful Game out there...it's good to have found you!

I have a confession to make: I don't watch MLS games. I follow the rankings, and have been to TFC games, but... I love European footie. Manchester United is my club (I know, I know. I can hear the hissing from here! But unless you can give me reasons other than they have a large fanbase, lots of money, and have been consistent winners for years, I'm not buying it. It always sounds like trophy envy to me) and Germany is my national side.

I'm a girl, so I don't know tonnes of statistics, or who played with whom back in '73, and how great that shot was in the 89th minute when Dortmund beat Valencia -- there no doubt are women who do know, but I'm not one of them. I just love the game, think it's the best sport out there, and really wish more North Americans understood it. I feel bipolar, waffling between calling it soccer and football, so I usually compromise with footie, which heads off any confusion with N/CFL.

My fascination comes about from having European parents, and having lived overseas for years as a child. I'm aware of the differences in culture, attitudes and opinions between North America and Europe, and have witnessed these in sporting events.

I'd like to ask a few questions of the forum members, if that's allowed. I'm writing an article for a school assignment, and I've elected to write about footie: the world-wide presence of the game, the growing popularity of the game in North America (which I think is true, and not only because of the celebrity excitement of Becks in LA), and its ability to unite diverse cultures.

I'm interested in knowing how all of you came to love the game. Do you have ties to Europe? Or other countries where the game is popular? If you live in a town with an MLS team, is there a large immigrant population? Do you have immediate friends who also like soccer, or do your footie friends range far and wide, linked through the internet?

If you'd like to share your story, feel free to email me, or post here. Thanks for your feedback.

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Welcome, tess. Your story is not unusual, so you'd fit right at home here.

Many of us have ties everywhere, like all the members of our Men's National Team.

You might want to check this thread to see everyone's club affinities:

http://www.canadian-soccer.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=19031

The thread might also expose everyone's history with our sport. Good luck to you & your paper.

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Firstly, welcome.

Secondly, your love of United will not be derided too much around here so long as you don't speak too much about that kid from Calgary playing for them.

As for your questions, I can give a little personal history if that's what you're looking for. I came to the game relatively late. Sometime around the age of 20 or 21, my friends and I started up an indoor team on a lark. Before that I hadn't really given soccer that much thought. Once I started playing more regularly, the 2000 Gold Cup rolled around and I was hooked. Since then, it's been pretty much non-stop for me. The core group of friends still play together, but I'm the only one that's really taken an obsessive interest in it.

As for demographics, I'm from small-town Ontario and couldn't really consider myself anything other than Canadian as we've been here for a number of generations. Grew up playing hockey and talking only hockey with all my friends. The only time I get a chance to seriously talk soccer is here and when we all get together for games.

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UNITED???![V]

Sorry... as a Chelsea fan I had to do it.

I assume I'm one of the younguns 'round here, as I'm only 24. Being from Saskatoon, hockey and football (actually football more than hockey) trounce all other sports more or less. My parents didn't want my brother and I to play hockey, they didn't like the idea of either of us having concussions by the time we were 12. Soccer was a natural fit, as community soccer programs like SFG (Sutherland-Forest Grove) were started right when my brother was 4. There were a few individuals in S'toon, all of European descent, that got soccer going here at that time. It existed before then, but not to the same extent. My brother and I played all through youth and into adult. I was one of the only ones on any of my youth teams to actually give a crap about the game. All the other kids just played it cuz their parents put them in it as a recreation and nothing more (sadly). Only about 4 years ago did I really become as obsessive as I am now. With the creation of TFC, and by becoming a Voyageur, I'd say 95% of what goes through my brain these days has soccer in it somehow.

I have no former ties to the game, my parents got into it simply because it was a sport to put my brother and I in instead of hockey. The closest thing to pro soccer here in S'toon are the U of S Huskies soccer teams. I've sought out people here in town and across the province trying to both gauge the soccer community and to see who I can spread word of the Voyageurs to.

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Great to have a gal on board here - stay and post more often, by all means.

I came to love soccer behind the portables of my elementary school from about the age of five. My dad, bless his soul, had played fairly high level football (Junior Argos) and Junior B hockey, and didn't know a thing about the strange, immigrant game he had seen played in the parks around Toronto in the 30's and 40's as a kid, but knew that I loved it and made an effort to learn it too. He eventually became an assistant coach for a couple of my league sides when I was young and took me to one of the last NASL Caps games, and then to the first 86'ers game at Swangard. By the end I think he had really picked up a passion for the game, and one of our last great conversations was over the '02 World Cup.

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A fellow United fan is always welcome :)

Anyways my story. I've always played footy, but only recently got into watching football. The first game I ever watched was the England-Argentina quarterfinal in the 1998 World Cup. I was very young, didn't understand the importance at all, but watched it with an English friend of my Dad's so I had an immediate affinity with England. I didn't really watch any football again until the 2002 World Cup when I decided to cheer for England again because of my previous World Cup experience. So I watch England and remember England beating the Argentinean team who had beat them back in 98 off a David Beckham penalty. I didn't really know any of the hype surrounding this guy but I decided that I was a David Beckham fan because he scored that goal against Argentina.

Then of course I found out that he played for United so I was a Manchester United supporter. Well... not really, I just sort of watched about a game or two a year and didn't really follow the league.

In 2002 I also got caught up with the whole U-19 Women's World Championship craze when Canada hosted the tournament and made the final, eventually losing to the US in a packed house at Commonwealth. This was my first time watching a Canadian national team.

In 2003 another significant event happened in my football supporting life. I watched my first ever live match, the Canadian womens team vs. Australia in a friendly before the 2003 Women's World Cup. Canada won the match 2-0, and eventually made the semifinals of the womens world cup another tournament that I watched.

2004 marked the first time I watched the Canadian men's national team when they played two World Cup qualifiers against Belize at Richardson Stadium in Kingston. I remember seeing the Voyageurs for the very first ever time at these two matches and finding the fact that they were calling the referee a wanker to be hilarious. I didn't follow the rest of the qualifying tournament and I only remember hearing an update one day on sportscentre that Canada had been eliminated from the World Cup.

I watched all of the England games at Euro 2004, but at this point I still wasn't really watching club football just a game or two a year.

In 2006 I went to Italy and saw AS Roma play Messina at the Stadio Olympico in a Serie A match. It was incredible. I was hooked immediately. That year I watched the Champions League final for the first ever time as Barcelona beat Arsenal 2-1. Then came the World Cup. I watched an obscene amount of matches during the tournament and loved every second of it. This was when I fell in love with football. So starting from the 2006-2007 season I watched every single Man. United game or at least followed it via radio something that has continued to this day.

I also started to get into Canadian footy more and more so. I watched a few games at the U-20 World Cup in Toronto including the 3-0 loss to Chile. I went to watch my first game with the Voyageurs against Costa Rica at BMO. Then of course went through the anger of the Gold Cup and the depression of the failed World Cup qualifying campaign.

As I found Canada footy I really just watched England games for enjoyment and I cheer them as a surrogate team now more than I actually "support" them. But my love for United has only grown as it does with every game, including a Champions League win in 2008 (Viva John Terry!). And this year I went to watch my first live United game at Old Trafford... the 4-1 loss to the scouse bastards. Still an incredible experience I will never forgot.

So that is pretty much where I am right now. I feel like I've just retold my life story, sorry for being so long winded but considering most of my life today revolves around either watching, playing, coaching, writing about or being someway involved with football I feel the length is justified.

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Thanks, Ray and Redhat, for the links. They made for some fun reading. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do here, to get up to speed.

El Hombre – I promise to mention the kid from Calgary only when absolutely necessary, provided I don’t get the Portuguese Prima Donna thrust at me when discussing United in 09/10. Deal? I’ll more than happily natter your ear off about Ryan Giggs though, if you like. Thanks for sharing – obsessive is the only way to be interested!

Tuscon – Chelski? Errr... Chelsea? lol. No problem. Congrats on the weekend win over ‘pool. I have a feeling those two points are going to cause some difficulty. You’re one of the true believers in a land of heathens (soccer in Sask). Keep it up!

Nolando – thanks for the welcome. I’m glad you were able to share The Beautiful Game with your dad. Mine was an Arsenal supporter (and Wigan). I feel guilty when I root against them, but... this ain’t lawn bowling, you know?

Leafdolfan- Nice to meet you! Poor John Terry – I remember that moment very clearly. There’s nothing like experiencing the game live, with the energy and enthusiasm of the fans. What a memory you’ve got, seeing Roma play in living, breathing colour. Very cool!

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I'm going to make this into a quid pro quo, Tess.

As for my personal background with the game: my dad was born in Italy and is a lifelong fan of Inter Milan. He would follow their results closely when I was a kid (and still does), which gave me a peripheral interest in the sport. World Cup 1994 was my first big-time exposure to the game, and things reached a head in my neighbourhood (which contained a heavy concentration of Italian and Portuguese immigrants) when Italy and Brazil (who all the Portuguese kids claimed as their own) met in the final. I got plenty of guff about Baggio's miss in the ensuring weeks.

I've also played the game since I was seven, have refereed for 12 years and now am a full-time employee of my childhood club. There are a good number of people who I know through my club who are footie fans, but also plenty of folks who I've met online or through other means who have a similar passion.

Now, as for my question to you, this passage piqued my interest:

quote:Originally posted by tess11

Manchester United is my club (I know, I know. I can hear the hissing from here! But unless you can give me reasons other than they have a large fanbase, lots of money, and have been consistent winners for years, I'm not buying it. It always sounds like trophy envy to me) and Germany is my national side.

Your profile says you live in Canada. So my completely honest question is, why don't you identify Canada as your national team (or, at least, one of them)?

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My grandparents came from England, Scotland, and Ireland, but as they lived here since they were children, we've never really had any European influence in the household. I discovered soccer at the age of 17, watching France 98 and waiting for my late summer job to start. I still envision those Burger King whoppers slowly turning in the air whenever I hear Grand Funk's version of "Some kinda Wonderful"... it almost brings a tear to my eye.

It was many years later until I started both playing and watching soccer on tv on a consistant basis, aside from the odd Tues/Wed Champions league match on TSN. I'm now a fully blown addict to the sport and I play in leagues whether I'm here in Spain or back home in Toronto. I watch whenever I can, and I finally have not one, but two home clubs to support, Real Zaragoza and TFC. They both suck but growing up halfheartedly supporting the Leafs that's nothing new to me.

I never really had a national team until recently. I guess I've always supported Canada, but I didn't really know how to before the Sub 20 World Cup 2007. I found the Voyageur's last year and participated and much as I could in Canada's failed qualification campaign last year. Since then I've been a devoted supporter. I used to kinda pick a team I liked each big tourny, which for the past four years has been Spain because of my girlfriend, and for the record they were massive underachievers before last year's Euros, so it's not a bandwagon thing.

In spite of our dire situation, I love supporting Canada, and I will continue to do so come what may. I also like to contribute to growing the game in any way possible back at home and I think that even if it's a long time coming, good things are on the horizon for the sport back home.

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Hi Squizz,

Fair question. It's Deutschland Uber Alles for me 'cause I was born there, and spent much of my childhood there. I grew up watching and appreciating their game, their players, and their supporters. It's the one you love first that has the greatest hold on you, right? (Oh, and, they always have the best looking kit. ;) ) Both parents are Dutch, so I go Oranje when called to (though Mom, turncoat that she is, is for Azzurri and still talks about Roberto Baggio as if he were a long lost love) and because I follow EPL, I cheer on the England 11 as well.

As for Canada... I guess I used to think it was an amateur, or hobby sport over here, that it wasn't taken seriously at the national level. If it didn't mean anything to them, why should they mean anything to me? I know differently now of course, but it's too late -- I've bonded with someone else. I always leave with the one who brung me.

Earlimus - Spain has been looking really good of late - must be all the practice they're getting in Liverpool! Best of luck to you this summer. I really hope you're right about good things coming in the Canadian game. Maybe 2014 will bring us some joy?

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For me I got into the game during the 2002 World Cup. My late godfather had come over from England in the 70's and was obsessed with the game. He had always been an important part of my life, but sadly in 2002 he had a terminal case of cancer. So during that summer I spent alot of time with him, and naturally he wanted to watch the Japan/Korea Tournament. As I watched the matches I fell in love with the game, and by the end of the tourement I was hooked. Sadly he died shortly after the conclusion of the tournament, but his love for football will stay with me for the rest of my life.

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quote:Originally posted by tess11

As for Canada... I guess I used to think it was an amateur, or hobby sport over here, that it wasn't taken seriously at the national level. If it didn't mean anything to them, why should they mean anything to me? I know differently now of course, but it's too late -- I've bonded with someone else. I always leave with the one who brung me.

With much respect, you know you can also cheer for more than one nation: Canada and Germany.

Paul Stalteri's wife once wrote to a Toronto paper during World Cup 2002, suggesting that people can support more than one team. In her case, it was Canada and Portugal. The issue that I, and many on this board have, is that people either choose one nation other than Canada, or disrespect Canada, despite enjoying the Canadian lifestyle and standard of living.

Look at the number of people showing up at Canadian MNT matches, not only supporting "their" team, but also disrespecting OUR team, OUR flag, OUR anthem, OUR country. That's a disgrace. You certainly have good reasons to support Germany and Holland. Bur really, leave with the one who brought you? Where's your "home" address anyways?

Just my passionate opinion, but I'm certainly not alone. Respectfully.

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Welcome tess. I'm with redhat and earlimus on this one, especially if you have a place of birth or other attachment to another country. For example, I also support Scotland, which in fact was the first national side I ever followed from having spent my very early years there.

You'll find many (maybe most) football supporters in Canada have that link...the only thing the Voyageurs ask is that if you are Canadian, in addition to supporting whoever, that you also support Canada.

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I understand that this is a touchy point among you, and I'm pleased you're passionate about Canadian soccer. I hope you can appreciate that I'm fairly new to even the idea of being interested in our Canadian team on their own merit, and not just because they happen to be a Canadian team - of any sort. I always root for Canada when they play; I just have never followed them with the same dedication I have Germany. The reason I came looking for this site is to learn more about them...give me a chance, eh? I really do think there's a chance for the game to gather a large and loyal following in NA, and I hope to see it happen.

Respectfully.

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Hehe one thing you must know but have probably already gathered is that nationalism runs VERY high on this board. We're all Canada 'til we die! and nothing less, but it's good to know that you are willing to give them a chance to prove themselves. Brazil 2014, baby!

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Yop, to be sure the level of national pride was clear to me even before I registered for an account. I'm hoping to learn more about Canada's soccer culture, the training. league play and so on, in order to be a better supporter of our team. I don't want to just assume that because it doesn't resemble European football exactly it's not as good...and so here I am.

Redhat, my current home address is Canada; but if I move to England or the Netherlands, should I switch my allegiance to those teams? Just want to be clear on the rules.

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quote:Originally posted by tess11

Redhat, my current home address is Canada; but if I move to England or the Netherlands, should I switch my allegiance to those teams? Just want to be clear on the rules.

Ha, well, clearly you've been lurking long enough to master that special brand of Voyageur sarcasm. Methinks you'll do fine here.

For what it's worth, my original question was simply inquisitive. I've got no idea how long you've lived in Canada - maybe your family moved here two months ago, for all I know. And yeah, if you've only lived somewhere a short period of time, it's not as if you adopt an affinity for their national sporting teams (especially those in what are considered "fringe" sports domestically) overnight.

But clearly you've got a passion for the sport, and if you could translate some of that passion into supporting our national side, then we'd gladly take it. As you can probably guess, we need all the help we can get.

(Though, if you're using this message board as the source of that inspiration, please focus on discussions of our players, association, teams, etc... try to ignore the long-winded, pointless, regionalistic, petty, personal arguments that flare up all the time over absolutely nothing.)

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quote:Originally posted by squizz

try to ignore the long-winded, pointless, regionalistic, petty, personal arguments that flare up all the time over absolutely nothing

But that's the fun stuff! ;)

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quote:Originally posted by tess11

Redhat, my current home address is Canada; but if I move to England or the Netherlands, should I switch my allegiance to those teams? Just want to be clear on the rules.

I'm hoping to learn more about Canada's soccer culture, the training. league play and so on, in order to be a better supporter of our team. I don't want to just assume that because it doesn't resemble European football exactly it's not as good...and so here I am.

Thanks for the reply. My concern is not about people who change residences, but for those who move here and consider themselves as "Canadian", but would also disrespect our players that represent our country. This may not apply to you, but to all those call themselves Canadian but would boo our MNT on the pitch against their "old" country. Like the Portuguese-Canadians that I know that have lived and worked in Canada for years and claim to be Canadian but would NEVER support our Canadian team. Or the Chilean-Canadians who assaulted some Canadian fans during the 2007 U20 World Cup. Or those originally from Central America that have settled in Canada as refugees but would rather support Honduras in Montreal even though they may be Salvadorean. Lots of examples, perhaps uniquely North American. Voyageurs understand this very well.

Your reasons for supporting Germany are, in my eyes, understandable. I'm hoping that there is room for Canada in your preferences, perhaps in the future. I am encouraged that you are a person with an open mind and would try to give our underdog team a chance.

Too many people, including many Canadians, just do not understand the unique challenges that face our Canadian MNT players. We are a vast country (second largest in the world) with several time zones and a relatively small population, the size of California. Our budget for sports (other than hockey) is literally stretched, especially for football. Yet many of our players excel despite coming from a country faced with logistical obstacles. And yet our MNT will have to play in CONCACAF, one of the most corrupt conferences in FIFA, so you can understand more obstacles that would follow.

Canada is an underdog team ... eventually we (Voyageurs) hope that something, maybe karma, would turn things around. For the number of times we get screwed by CONCACAF referees and officials PLUS the lack of respect and support by our "fellow" Canadians, including the lame efforts by our association, we Voyageurs would just like to be part of any future Canadian upset of any of FIFA's favourites.

Just like the 2000 Gold Cup, whether or not it was a fluke, it was very gratifying to prove to naysayers what a determined Canadian team can do. We hope you will join us and witness the emergence of the underdog.

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Pax, Redhat: I'm onboard.

My dad served in our CAF, hence my birth abroad. I'm Canadian, but a nomadic Canadian. I may wiggle a bit on the issue of nationality, but when it comes down to it, I wouldn't choose to be anything else, so hopefully you'll never have cause to card me for disrespect.

As I said earlier, in response to the link you posted, I've got a lot of reading to do here. I want to learn if there is any sort of developed youth system, to foster young talent at a professional level; is the MLS playoff system better than straight promotion/relegation; what is needed for the game to survive and thrive here; does Canada have the raw talent to compete internationally, especially coaches/managers; what is our national style of play?...and so on. I'm not so good with stats etc. (I got a kick out of the WCQ thread with all the: if England beats Poland and Portugal forget their boots then...talk.) but I'll be following what I can and adding my two cents when I've got them to spare.

Thanks for all the feedback.

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Guest Ed
quote:Originally posted by tess11

Pax, Redhat: I'm onboard.

My dad served in our CAF, hence my birth abroad. I'm Canadian, but a nomadic Canadian. I may wiggle a bit on the issue of nationality, but when it comes down to it, I wouldn't choose to be anything else, so hopefully you'll never have cause to card me for disrespect.

As I said earlier, in response to the link you posted, I've got a lot of reading to do here. I want to learn if there is any sort of developed youth system, to foster young talent at a professional level; is the MLS playoff system better than straight promotion/relegation; what is needed for the game to survive and thrive here; does Canada have the raw talent to compete internationally, especially coaches/managers; what is our national style of play?...and so on. I'm not so good with stats etc. (I got a kick out of the WCQ thread with all the: if England beats Poland and Portugal forget their boots then...talk.) but I'll be following what I can and adding my two cents when I've got them to spare.

Thanks for all the feedback.

A Forces brat who cheers for other than Canada? Shame on you. Where's your pride? I am a Cold War Forces brat and know where my loyalty lies. I'll cheer for Germany if Canada isn't there as I spent a good chunk of time on bases in Germany but I would NEVER say that Germany is my national side.

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Hi Ed,

I'm pretty sure I explained it all in my original and succeeding posts, but I'll lay it out again: I do not side against our National Men's Team. I do not hate them, despise them, malign them or disrespect them. The circumstances of my life have lead me to know more about another national team, and as that team consistently shows up in international play, I spend more time cheering them on than I do Canada. I am here because I want to correct my own ignorance about the game I love in this country.

Feel free to continue to give me a hard time about my affection for another team. Tease me endlessly because I like Manchester United. But please don't accuse me of a lack of patriotism, or chastise me like a child. As a forces brat yourself, you should know something of the cost of that life.

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