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Is it time to expanded the Canadian Championship to lower divisions?

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And again, you're treating the Canadian Championship as merely a qualifier for the CCL.

What's wrong with that? That's what they have for the US open cup. They have added teams to the tournament this year, but but not everyone enters the competition at the same time. MLS teams enter at a later stage.

Don't forget that the season in Canada

starts in April and you have to have a Champion crowned by June (due to logistics and fixture congestion) unless you want to use the prior year winner, which I always thought was stupid, yes even in Europe. Team change from one year to the next, in Europe there is no other way around it because you can't fit both in one year. But in Canada, it's bonus that we have this because CL play can run into march of the following year. Imagine that, playing in a competition in march that you qualified for two seasons ago.

Edited by Free kick

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Again, if this is VOLUNTARY, and clubs CHOOSE to partake :)

And that's another problem, Do you know if any of the amateur clubs are even interested? I have not read or heard any such proclamations from any club other than USL/NASL. Bob young was on the radio several months ago stating that he would like to play in the competition if he gets a USL/NASL team but that's all I've ever heard. If all those amateur clubs really wanted to play in the competition and really stepped up the pressure, would anyone steadfastly refuse? Why would the CSA even object to this?

Years ago, before MLS and at the time he lynx were around, I had heard talk (over beers at post lynx loss errr game) of national competition to enter a side in concacaf play. But I recall hearing that the CSA pitched this, but it was the clubs (in this case the USL teams in canada) that weren't interested. The impetus picked up because here a chance to play an MLS team and that MLS was selling out it's seats.

Edited by Free kick

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Oh really? That's interesting. I'd like to hear the evidence you have to support this notion that clubs pay or should pay the travel and accommodation costs of visiting teams.

Uhm, you missed the point entirely.

What he suggested was that the revenue generated by hosting an MLS team in your small-town stadium would be enough to then cover the costs of travelling to the MLS-stadium for the return fixture.

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How do you expect a lower level team that plays in a 1,500 seat facility to use a home game to pay for an away game on the other side of the country?

The same way they currently do. Have you not noticed the attendances that FC Edmonton have had this season? Without doing the math, 1500 can't be far off the mark. Secondly, who says they'd play in their current home? If London City drew Toronto FC, no doubt they'd play the game at the university football stadium.

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Oh really? That's interesting. I'd like to hear the evidence you have to support this notion that clubs pay or should pay the travel and accommodation costs of visiting teams.

I think I already know what the answer from the three MLS sides would be if you pitched that notion to them.

I said no such thing. I pointed out that teams pay for their travel expenses to their away games from the revenue they make at their home games. This is how all sports works. You pay your expenses from your revenues. Please read what I write if you are going to comment on it.

Edited by seathanaich

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Uhm, you missed the point entirely.

What he suggested was that the revenue generated by hosting an MLS team in your small-town stadium would be enough to then cover the costs of travelling to the MLS-stadium for the return fixture.

Odd, the computer seems to have erased his thanks to you for explaining this, and his apology to me for misrepresenting what I said. Funny how that happens so much on chat forums. See you at RAP!

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Thats not my issue, my issue is whether or not Victoria can fly to Nicarugua to play Real Esteli on their own dime.

They . . . can . . . if . . . they . . . sell . . . enough . . . tickets . . . in . . . the . . . home . . leg. I and others have explained it at length. If a team from Victoria, or Halifax, or London was the Canadian champion, the interest generated in those cities would be huge, and so would the ticket sales for the home game.

Canadian clubs would pay for the trip the same way that Real Estelli will - from ticket revenues at the home game. This is how sport works.

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Why? I don't know how you can be certain about this at all.

It may apply to Victoria, but otherwise I really think it does not go without saying. This is an assumption taken from the European/South American experience that does not translate to Canadian soccer at this time.

The cache of an NASL or MLS team is very limited outside of the existing soccer community. Edm, Mtl, Tor, Vanc may be a top draw to us, but to most fans outside their home cities they certainly are not.

Heck, some of these teams have very limited appeal in their own community. Do you know what the attendance was for the last Hamilton home game? 125.

All of a sudden that's going to go to 4000 for a game against Toronto, let alone Edmonton? Most of these PDL teams don't have the staff or the infrastructure to host these games. They'd have to weather the financial risks if the game doesn't draw, let alone the financial risks of actual success (e.g. progressing.)

I really think Free Kick and Kodiak are right on this.

"Why? I don't know how you can be certain about this at all"

Because I observe the world. Some delusional people think that Moncton has a chance at a CFL team, and even the CFL doesn't disabuse them of the notion. Moncton couldn't support a CFL team, but Moncton can sell 20,000 tickets for a one-off CFL game held there. Presumably you live in downtown Toronto or some such place if you don't know how this sort of thing works. 1,000 Victorians paid to watch a womens game between Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders last year. Attendances to the Victoria Highlanders women this year is a few hundred. One big event with "big city" names playing in a smaller city draws a crowd. Canadian championship games would be events in smaller cities.

"It may apply to Victoria, but otherwise I really think it does not go without saying."

I think it would apply to Victoria, London, Halifax, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Quebec, Edmonton, Calgary, or Ottawa if any of these non-MLS cities had a soccer team win the CC. I also think that the PDL team in Thunder Bay would pack thousands into that small city if the honour of being Canadian champions was won by their (already successful) PDL team. The only current PDL team I'd be worried about would be Abbottsford; but even there I bet I'd be pleasantly surprised.

"The cache of an NASL or MLS team is very limited outside of the existing soccer community."

It's the event that's the thing. How many people at the Olympics last year followed winter sports? How many still do? Virtually none. Yet everybody went to see the "event". People went to the event because it was in town. It takes an Olympics, or a Stanley Cup run, to get a big city all excited. The smaller the city, the smaller event that's needed to get people out to watch it. My sister and her husband go to every concert that comes through their community. They act as if they've "always loved" band XYZ. They don't. Communities respond to events in their towns.

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The Highlander's facilities can hold 2,500 at most short of a big investment in temporary seating. Much the same or worse applies to lower level clubs anywhere in Canada. It's all very well attracting a crowd of 10,000 plus but if you cannot accommodate them the whole subject is moot.

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The Highlander's facilities can hold 2,500 at most short of a big investment in temporary seating. Much the same or worse applies to lower level clubs anywhere in Canada. It's all very well attracting a crowd of 10,000 plus but if you cannot accommodate them the whole subject is moot.

There's a place called Centennial Stadium in Victoria, which I'm sure you are aware of, even if I have to point it out.

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There's a place called Centennial Stadium in Victoria, which I'm sure you are aware of, even if I have to point it out.

Seats 10,000, right?

I remember it when I was looking at info on PCSL a few years ago. Didn't Vic. United of the PCSL used to play there?

Where exactly do Highlanders play, anyhow?

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Frankly I am not sure why I should respond to straw men and random numbers thrown around without thought but here goes.

Seats 10,000, right?

I remember it when I was looking at info on PCSL a few years ago. Didn't Vic. United of the PCSL used to play there?

Where exactly do Highlanders play, anyhow?

University of Victoria's Centennial Stadium has a permanent capacity of 5,000 but can accomodate temporary seating. (Ie: 1994 Commonwealth games which saw a 30,000 capacity). So yes, I would say we could pack 10,000 people in if we wanted to. However I don't think we would need to pack in 10,000 to cover the costs of one away game.

Victoria United has always played out of Royal Athletic Park unless the facility was not available (ie: U20 World Cup).

Victoria Highlanders, until this month, played out of Bear Mountian Stadium in Langford. For July the team moved to Royal Athletic Park which most hope will be a permanent move.

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Frankly I am not sure why I should respond to straw men and random numbers thrown around without thought but here goes.

University of Victoria's Centennial Stadium has a permanent capacity of 5,000 but can accomodate temporary seating. (Ie: 1994 Commonwealth games which saw a 30,000 capacity). So yes, I would say we could pack 10,000 people in if we wanted to. However I don't think we would need to pack in 10,000 to cover the costs of one away game.

Victoria United has always played out of Royal Athletic Park unless the facility was not available (ie: U20 World Cup).

Victoria Highlanders, until this month, played out of Bear Mountian Stadium in Langford. For July the team moved to Royal Athletic Park which most hope will be a permanent move.

Okay then...and so Royal Athletic Park seats how many?

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Okay then...and so Royal Athletic Park seats how many?

The official capacity for RAP is around 4,200 permanent seats (covered and uncovered). The U20 World cup created a total of over 10,000 seats in temporary seating at this venue. So yes, a club like Victoria would have options available to maximize revenue from a one-off game in order to finance travel to the corresponding away fixture.

Not knowing the stadium situation in every "secondary" market in Canada I cannot be definitive but I would imagine most, if not all, could find a way to host enough people to raise enough money to do the same.

Can we now accept that "travel costs" should be moved from the "barrier" column to the "challenge which can be overcome" column for this discussion?

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"Why? I don't know how you can be certain about this at all"

Because I observe the world. Some delusional people think that Moncton has a chance at a CFL team, and even the CFL doesn't disabuse them of the notion. Moncton couldn't support a CFL team, but Moncton can sell 20,000 tickets for a one-off CFL game held there. Presumably you live in downtown Toronto or some such place if you don't know how this sort of thing works. 1,000 Victorians paid to watch a womens game between Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders last year. Attendances to the Victoria Highlanders women this year is a few hundred. One big event with "big city" names playing in a smaller city draws a crowd. Canadian championship games would be events in smaller cities.

"It may apply to Victoria, but otherwise I really think it does not go without saying."

I think it would apply to Victoria, London, Halifax, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Quebec, Edmonton, Calgary, or Ottawa if any of these non-MLS cities had a soccer team win the CC. I also think that the PDL team in Thunder Bay would pack thousands into that small city if the honour of being Canadian champions was won by their (already successful) PDL team. The only current PDL team I'd be worried about would be Abbottsford; but even there I bet I'd be pleasantly surprised.

"The cache of an NASL or MLS team is very limited outside of the existing soccer community."

It's the event that's the thing. How many people at the Olympics last year followed winter sports? How many still do? Virtually none. Yet everybody went to see the "event". People went to the event because it was in town. It takes an Olympics, or a Stanley Cup run, to get a big city all excited. The smaller the city, the smaller event that's needed to get people out to watch it. My sister and her husband go to every concert that comes through their community. They act as if they've "always loved" band XYZ. They don't. Communities respond to events in their towns.

Oh, I know very well how this sort of thing works. Particularly in Canada, for soccer. Which is what we're talking about - not the Stanley Cup, the CFL, the Olympics, or John Fogerty's annual tour.

Not to mention that five of the cities you mention in your list *are* one of our "big cities" (Wpg, Ham, Ott, Edm, Calg, all 500 000 plus) - so there goes the "big city" = attendance argument and small town event aspect. Toronto FC attendance vs Edmonton - a fully-fledged pro team with an average attendance of 2300 in a pro leage, with FT staff and organization capacity - was 6000. Nothing to shake a stick at, but also an indication that such games are not a sure-fire attendance boon, nor a huge moneymaker.

Being in Victoria might skew things a bit - I've never been, and it seems like a pretty pro organization - but I've been to the PDL in Hamilton and in London and once in Thunder Bay. And not to take anythign away from the dedicated people who run these operations, but, well, professionalism runs from minimal to scant. And understandably so. The thought of Vancouver playing on the 'field' at Fort William is crazy, and Toronto FC at Hamilton would be frightening - honestly. Watching Hamilton is like watching a men's league - wives, girlfriends, sisters and moms in attendance, tickets optional, eteamz-reminiscent website and all. London was definitely better organized than Hamilton, but still not even an old A-League standard.

Most of our non-NASL and MLS teams probably don't even have the financial wherewithal to afford the insurance associated with the game, let alone actually the money and staff needed to set it up, operate and host it. Right now, there is the risk that even hosting one of these games could put most of our PDL clubs out of business.

You can "observe the world" all you want - again, for soccer "the world" is not Canada - but until we develop the infrastructure, the history and the demand including our PDL teams is likely not feasible for a while. Phasing in the teams as they gain in capacity and professionalism is the way to go. And then the expanded national championship will not only be more fun, more interesting and mroe competitive, but also a capacity- and interest-builder for participants.

Edited by Marc

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Seats 10,000, right?

I remember it when I was looking at info on PCSL a few years ago. Didn't Vic. United of the PCSL used to play there?

Where exactly do Highlanders play, anyhow?

Yes, Vic Utd does play at RAP. They got about 2500 people there for a game in which Steve Nash played about a decade ago, but usually play before about 100 people. There's a "game of the week" in the Van Isle Soc Lge during the winter season. It's the grand old lady of Island football.

VHFC are currently at Royal Athletic Park. Stand is old, but covered. Holds a few thousand people. Has a baseball field configuration at one end, but that doesn't interfere with the soccer configuration. This park is a century old. Amenities are okay. Downtown location familiar to fans and easy to access. Stands close to pitch. Lots of parking in the surrounding streets. Natural grass, usually in good condition. Vistas of the CSL played there in 89 and 90. It has hosted Youth World Cup matches, friendlies, etc with temp bleachers on the north side.

Played 09, 10, and half of this year at Bear Mountain Stadium. Stand is brand new, and covered. Holds about 1000 people. Amenities are shiny and new. Lots of parking. Attached to a larger new sports and rec complex. Not near any pubs, and on the edge of the greater urban area. Shared with Junior Football team. Artificial turf with gridiron lines on it.

Centennial Stadium at UVic was the venue of the 94 Commonwealth Games. It has a track, but a beautiful natural grass field. The main stand is old, ugly, covered, and cold, and unfortunately wasn't demolished for the Games. The other side has about 10 rows of permanent seats from 94 which are decent, but open to the air. Cent is usually used for intl matches for Cdn women and Cdn Mens U-20 games. It is the largest capacity facility of the three, and probably holds about 5000 in total.

In an expanded CC, Vic High FC could either play games at RAP with bleachers for the match, or could play at Centennial. In either case, they would get out a crowd in multiple thousands for a "glamour" game. We'll see on Thursday how many come to a mid-week game against Port Vale FC.

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The official capacity for RAP is around 4,200 permanent seats (covered and uncovered). The U20 World cup created a total of over 10,000 seats in temporary seating at this venue. So yes, a club like Victoria would have options available to maximize revenue from a one-off game in order to finance travel to the corresponding away fixture.

Not knowing the stadium situation in every "secondary" market in Canada I cannot be definitive but I would imagine most, if not all, could find a way to host enough people to raise enough money to do the same.

Can we now accept that "travel costs" should be moved from the "barrier" column to the "challenge which can be overcome" column for this discussion?

Every city in Canada with more than 200,000 people, and either an existing PDL or NASL team or the potential to have one (ie Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, WIndsor, London, Hamilton, Kitchener, Quebec, and Halifax), has a university football stadium that hold 5,000 or more fans. They're all artificial turf, and some of them are no doubt terrible for soccer, but they exist; and like Percival Molson Stadium in Montreal they all have soccer lines on them, as well as gridiron lines. It's far from ideal, and the players would complain about the surface, but the reality is that CC games could be hosted by every existing and future MLS, NASL, and PDL team in Canada at such venues, and accommodate crowds of the 2500 or more than are needed to raise enough money to finance the away leg in such a competition.

In the "chicken and egg" conundrum of teams and stadia, having the CC open to such teams may, or may not, help in the creation or modification of better soccer facilities in places like Victoria, or London - or for that matter, Calgary and Winnipeg. But it would certainly be one more reason why a local owner, or a local group, would be given one more reason to get involved with semi-pro soccer, and one more reason for municipal authorities to give soccer a higher priority in facilities like Royal Athletic Park than they currently do. Cheers.

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Not to mention that five of the cities you mention in your list *are* one of our "big cities" (Wpg, Ham, Ott, Edm, Calg, all 500 000 plus) - so there goes the "big city" = attendance argument and small town event aspect. Toronto FC attendance vs Edmonton - a fully-fledged pro team with an average attendance of 2300 in a pro leage, with FT staff and organization capacity - was 6000. Nothing to shake a stick at, but also an indication that such games are not a sure-fire attendance boon, nor a huge moneymaker.

Being in Victoria might skew things a bit - I've never been, and it seems like a pretty pro organization - but I've been to the PDL in Hamilton and in London and Thunder Bay. And not to take anythign away from the dedicated people who run these operations, but, well, professionalism runs from minimal to scant. And understandably so. Watching Hamilton is like watching a men's league in Brian Timmis. Most of our non-NASL and MLS teams probably don't even have the financial wherewithal to afford the insurance associated with the game, let alone actually the money and staff needed to set it up, operate and host it. Right now, there is the risk that even hosting one of these games could put most of our PDL clubs out of business.

You can "observe the world" all you want - again, for soccer "the world" is not Canada - but until we develop the infrastructure, the history and the demand including our PDL teams is likely not feasible for a while. Phasing in the teams as they gain in capacity and professionalism is the way to go.

"Not to mention that five of the cities you mention in your list *are* one of our "big cities" (Wpg, Ham, Ott, Edm, Calg, all 500 000 plus) - so there goes the "big city" = attendance argument and small town event aspect."

Maybe. Maybe not. In terms of soccer, Canada's 1M Cities (Edm, Cgy, and Ott) are NOT big compared to the 2M+ Cities (Van, Tor, and Mtl), because they're not (and never will be) in MLS. I think that the 500K Cities (Wpg, Ham, and Que) would see the "knock off the MLS team" effect if they had PDL or NASL teams that faced the MLS clubs in this Cup. I hope we get the chance to find out which of us is correct!

"Toronto FC attendance vs Edmonton - a fully-fledged pro team with an average attendance of 2300 in a pro leage, with FT staff and organization capacity - was 6000. Nothing to shake a stick at, but also an indication that such games are not a sure-fire attendance boon, nor a huge moneymaker."

In their first ever competitive match. I think that's a fantastic attendance at a makeshift facility. Surely this is a signal to owners that, if they had a modern soccer facility which held 10K, they'd fill it for these games. I agree that the league is the bread and butter, but having a Cup pay-day has to help.

"Watching Hamilton is like watching a men's league in Brian Timmis."

Fair enough, and I feel your pain. Ontario and the CSL looks like a gong-show from what little I know of it. The PCSL is certainly more interested in being a players league than a fan league, and as long as that's the case, nobody will show up. The PDL needs to make changes too: more games, more play-off positions (4) per division, if it's going to become more fan-friendly. But clubs like Victoria and Kitsap Pumas (in our division) show that you can get 1000-1500 fans out if you market, build a full club, and have a decent facility. Like most of us I'd like to see other clubs join them, rather than see them join the long list of ventures that fail due to lack of enough other teams that are operating at their level of professionalism, competency, and financing.

We need strong clubs, but the problem is that we also need reliable leagues for them to play in. It's not easy.

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Maybe. Maybe not. In terms of soccer, Canada's 1M Cities (Edm, Cgy, and Ott) are NOT big compared to the 2M+ Cities (Van, Tor, and Mtl), because they're not (and never will be) in MLS. I think that the 500K Cities (Wpg, Ham, and Que) would see the "knock off the MLS team" effect if they had PDL or NASL teams that faced the MLS clubs in this Cup. I hope we get the chance to find out which of us is correct!

So do I. But "Knock off the MLS team effect?" Will they even be aware of what "knock-off" means in the sense of the competition? Why assume that people understand a Euro-style knock-out, coming from a NorthAm playoffs perspective? Because those are the type of people this game would be attracting - the casual observers. They're not going to know the history or meaning of this type of competition, so why would that be a drawing-point? Why would they care if it is an MLS team - most of those people don't even know what the MLS or the Nurtilite Canadian Championship is. The penetration of the MLS is tiny outside of the major cities and Canadian soccer circles.

Plus, draw-wise not each one of these cities is going to get a Vancouver or Toronto in a cup style competition. Some poor schmuck has to play Edmonton or Montreal. ;)

"Toronto FC attendance vs Edmonton - a fully-fledged pro team with an average attendance of 2300 in a pro leage, with FT staff and organization capacity - was 6000. Nothing to shake a stick at, but also an indication that such games are not a sure-fire attendance boon, nor a huge moneymaker."

In their first ever competitive match. I think that's a fantastic attendance at a makeshift facility. Surely this is a signal to owners that, if they had a modern soccer facility which held 10K, they'd fill it for these games. I agree that the league is the bread and butter, but having a Cup pay-day has to help.

A team averaging 2300 gets 6000 for one match and that's a sign they could fill a 10 000 seat stadium? What? Why? If part of the draw of playing an MLS team in the cup is the town-vs-bigger city/big-fish-small-pond draw phenomenon, as you have suggested, then certainly venue makes little difference - simply because those extra people who aren't turning out regularly and only come for the one-off-ness of the game don't care about the venue.

And was that a pay day? How do we know? I could be wrong, but I can't imagine Edmonton FC is breaking even at 2300 a game. Will it be a payday for the teams that don't have the staff, capacity and ability to host games, that have to rent a different stadium, that have to hire people and security one-off, etc., for which these games will cost more to run, only to have a much smaller turnout? It's such a huge financial risk. I don't mean to repeat myself but one failed Canadian Cup game could put each one of our PDL teams out of business, save for Victoria and maybe London. That's not good for the sport or the competition.

Look, I admire your positivity. There's nothing I'd like more in a pro soccer context than to have a Euro style Canadian cup. It's nothing personal but you make so many assumptions that simply have no basis in reality ... yet. Your wish will become reality, eventually, but it's going to take a while.

Edited by Marc

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Ontario and the CSL looks like a gong-show from what little I know of it.

ummm, sure their's been the odd contreversy but that exists in all leagues from big to small. All in all it's a pretty decent semi pro league, most pdl teams in canada are actually amateur so it's usually a minor step up (get's a good boost from having a decent amount of men, ie. a bit more developed athleticism). Theirs full matches in the 'other men's league' if you wanted to give it a watch and judge for yourself

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ummm, sure their's been the odd contreversy but that exists in all leagues from big to small. All in all it's a pretty decent semi pro league, most pdl teams in canada are actually amateur so it's usually a minor step up (get's a good boost from having a decent amount of men, ie. a bit more developed athleticism). Theirs full matches in the 'other men's league' if you wanted to give it a watch and judge for yourself

Please, for the love of whatever you find sacred though, do not watch London City or North York Astros....we're terrible, and make the league look bad.

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Will they even be aware of what "knock-off" means in the sense of the competition? Why assume that people understand a Euro-style knock-out, coming from a NorthAm playoffs perspective? Because those are the type of people this game would be attracting - the casual observers. They're not going to know the history or meaning of this type of competition, so why would that be a drawing-point? Why would they care if it is an MLS team - most of those people don't even know what the MLS or the Nurtilite Canadian Championship is. The penetration of the MLS is tiny outside of the major cities and Canadian soccer circles.

A team averaging 2300 gets 6000 for one match and that's a sign they could fill a 10 000 seat stadium? What? Why? If part of the draw of playing an MLS team in the cup is the town-vs-bigger city/big-fish-small-pond draw phenomenon, as you have suggested, then certainly venue makes little difference - simply because those extra people who aren't turning out regularly and only come for the one-off-ness of the game don't care about the venue.

And was that a pay day? How do we know? I could be wrong, but I can't imagine Edmonton FC is breaking even at 2300 a game. Will it be a payday for the teams that don't have the staff, capacity and ability to host games, that have to rent a different stadium, that have to hire people and security one-off, etc., for which these games will cost more to run, only to have a much smaller turnout? It's such a huge financial risk. I don't mean to repeat myself but one failed Canadian Cup game could put each one of our PDL teams out of business, save for Victoria and maybe London. That's not good for the sport or the competition.

Look, I admire your positivity. There's nothing I'd like more in a pro soccer context than to have a Euro style Canadian cup. It's nothing personal but you make so many assumptions that simply have no basis in reality ... yet. Your wish will become reality, eventually, but it's going to take a while.

"Will they even be aware of what "knock-off" means in the sense of the competition?"

I think most Canadians would understand what it meant if the Saskatoon Blades or the Windsor Spitfires beat the Edmonton Oilers; or if the Manitoba Moose (now moving to St John's) beat the Calgary Flames; so "yes", I do think that people who are sports fans can figure out what it means for an NASL team like FC Edmonton or (for 2011) Montreal Impact to beat the Vancouver Whitecaps or Toronto FC. Indeed, I'm sure almost everyone who watched the CC games live or on television figured out the concept, even if, like my 8 year old, it needed to be explained to them by me first. While I don't consider the average person to very intelligent on topics like history or physics, this is certainly within the grasp of most sports fans to understand.

"most of those people don't even know what the MLS or the Nurtilite Canadian Championship is."

If you think that most of the people who attend FC Edmonton games don't know what the MLS is, and if you think that most of the 6,000 people who attended the CC game in Edmonton against Toronto had no clue what they were attending, then I disagree. I would think by the end of the game all of those people knew what the competition was. I'm generally pretty negative in my opinion of the average person's intelligence, but this stuff isn't rocket science, even to people who tuned in to these games, or went to them, for the first time. It only takes the announcers, or the guy beside you, about 1 minute to explain what the CC is, how it works, and what the winner gets.

"A team averaging 2300 gets 6000 for one match and that's a sign they could fill a 10 000 seat stadium? What? Why?"

Because this is their first season in actual competition, and over time more people will know who they are. Because they currently play in a makeshift facility which many people will use as an excuse not to attend. Because this is the first year that this new club has competed in the CC, and therefore next year there will automatically be more people who know what the CC is than did at the start of this year. Because of all of this these numbers are a worst-case scenario which can grow in the future if the right decisions are taken, and can afford to be taken, by the club involved. The history of the growth of the teams in Montreal and Vancouver explains why I not only think this is possible, it is quite probable, as long as - AS I ALWAYS STRESS - clubs own their own modern soccer-specific facility.

"then certainly venue makes little difference"

Anyone who thinks that the quality, size, and appropriateness of the venue plays no part in the attendances of North American sports teams is clearly not familiar with North American sport. Sorry, there's no other way to point this out. Thousands of people who won't come out to a place like Foote Field will come out to a place like the current Impact Stadium, or BMO Field; just like thousands of people who won't come to the ramshackle dump that St Marys U play at in Halifx will come out to the vastly superior facility that Laval play at in Quebec; and thousands of people who won't pay top dollar to watch the Winnipeg Jets at the dumpy old Winnipeg Arena will pay top dollar to watch the new Winnipeg Jets at their beautiful new arena. I assume that most knowledgable sports fans know this sort of thing, and understand why it is.

"Will it be a payday for the teams that don't have the staff, capacity and ability to host games, that have to rent a different stadium, that have to hire people and security one-off, etc., for which these games will cost more to run, only to have a much smaller turnout?"

It wasn't a smaller turnout. You have already noted the attendance of the Toronto FC game, which was more than double (almost triple) the average gate that FC Edmonton have been getting. Therefore the rest of this objection is not a serious one. It would only be evidence that your opinion was correct if FCE got a smaller gate for the Toronto game than for their league games.

"you make so many assumptions that simply have no basis in reality"

I haven't made a single such assumption. All of my opinions have been backed up with either actual data (the FCE vs TFC game), or the example of what has happened in Canadian soccer previously in Montreal and Toronto. I have supported all of my points with numbers that we both agree are the actual ones that occurred this season for FC Edmonton, and illustrated why where FC Edmonton currently is in terms of their age and the facility they play in makes this the low end of the attendance they COULD get in the CC 5 years from now if they played in a modern soccer specific stadium which they owned. The Montreal Impact got crowds of over 10,000 people to Tier 2 soccer, even before they were realistically likely to be invited to MLS, in a sports landscape in which, outside of their own fans, they were largely ignored (my wife's family are from Montreal, as are some of my friends). I don't know why it's so difficult for some people to realise that the exact same thing is possible in Edm, Cgy, and Ott in this country; indeed, it is not those who say it's possible upon whom the burden of proof lies, but rather upon those who say it ISN'T possible, since we've already seen it happen in this country. If the owners of the Whitecaps didn't have to deal with a Vancouver city council which is completely retarded, they could have built a Gastown stadium years ago, and done exactly the same thing the Impact have done, with or without the MLS. Ditto if the Hartrell's had been able to do so in Toronto. A modern, appropriately sized, soccer-only stadium is the major ingredient in this equation. If you don't believe me, then ask the owners of any professional soccer club in North America, or the people who run either MLS, the NASL, or the USL, because they're all pretty much in agreement on this. If Edmonton (or Miami, or Atlanta, or any other city in North America with 1 million people) had a club-owned facility, then they could do what Vancouver and Montreal did in the USL: be financially solvent and stable as long term business propositions. Little Charleston, South Carolina has had their own little stadium for years, and in a small city in the US Bible belt have been getting crowds of 3000+ out to pro soccer for a decade. The population there is a quarter what it is in Edmonton, and the soccer culture there is more dominated by gridiron football and baseball than Edmonton is by hockey and the CFL.

And the climate for soccer is only getting better with every Canadian city that enters MLS, and every Canadian city that joins the new NASL.

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ummm, sure their's been the odd contreversy but that exists in all leagues from big to small. All in all it's a pretty decent semi pro league, most pdl teams in canada are actually amateur so it's usually a minor step up (get's a good boost from having a decent amount of men, ie. a bit more developed athleticism). Theirs full matches in the 'other men's league' if you wanted to give it a watch and judge for yourself

Hi. Sorry, I wasn't trying to put down the players in this league. I'm sure they're many of the best local amateur players, and if they all played in the NASL for a Hamilton team they could be as successful as FC Edmonton has been this year on the pitch. And I hear what you are saying about the PDL.

However, I have a problem with a sports league that divides up a large metropolitan area along tribal lines, as the CSL has always done. It's a proven failure as a method for creating a viable professional sports entity in Canada, and therefore by continuing to exist as it is, it is an impediement to the growth of a successful Tier 3 regionalised Canadian soccer system of leagues. As long as multiple ethnic-based clubs within one urban area are involved, I cannot take the CSL to be anything more than a social organisation. If the CSL had teams from Windsor, St Cath, Kingston, Brantford, coupled with teams with distinct geographical distinctions (ie Scarborough, Mississagua, etc) rather than Toronto Italia, Toronto Croatia, Toronto Portuguese, Toronto Maldive Islanders, etc, then it would begin to lose its bush-league aspect in my eyes. Until it does, it will continue to be a dead-end in terms of the development of a proper Canadian soccer pyramid. If I lived in Metro Toronto I would not follow any team that was dependent upon some ethnic tribe for its identity. The focus should be on sport, not where your parents came from, when you are part of a sports organisation in Canada.

If the PCSL had teams from Nanaimo, Kamloops, Victoria, and Kelowna competing against teams from a geographically sub-divided Vancouver (say, Vancouver, North Shore, Burnaby, Surrey, and Abbottsford), then I could get into following it. That works in junior football, in hockey, and in lacrosse in British Columbia, where these sports get out enough fans to pay for their travel, and give a little under the table to the players (which I think is great). But when it has a team of Christian proselytisers calling themselves Athletes in Action, and a team of Sikh proselytisers called Khalsa Sport, then I'm sorry, it's not directed at fans, and therefore it isn't worthy of my time or interest.

The CSL has recently been mentioned in match rigging and betting scandals, which is what my "gong-show" reference is to. Cheers.

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