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Will MLS help get Canada back into the World Cup?

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So I checked the front page of TSN and the Toronto Star websites today and while I had my doubts, the front page showed Toronto FC's historic Eastern Conference championship win, which was a pleasant surprise.  I've never seen a Canadian domestic soccer team receive coverage like this before from the Canadian media. 

I know that if the CPL takes off, that will definitely help grow Canadian talent too.  I also know there is a lot of controversy about the "domestic" rule for Canadian players in the MLS.  But what do you think the MLS will have on increasing interest from our younger boys, especially those around age 14 to 17, to choose a career in professional soccer?  When Toronto FC makes the front pages of TSN and the Toronto Star, that has to be a big morale and prestige boost for Canadian kids that wonder if pursuing a career in professional soccer is worth it.

Do you think the MLS will have the same impact as the NBA in Canada?  Without a doubt, the Toronto Raptors have been a huge boost in developing and encouraging Canadians to pursue a professional basketball career.  And now, Canada has entered a new "golden age" of up and coming NBA players.  I'm hoping the MLS does the same as the NBA - encourage and inspire our youngsters to seriously consider soccer as a professional career.  Only then can Canada make the World Cup again.

Do you think the MLS can help get Canada back into the World Cup?

Edited by football_world

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A friend of mine in Toronto has two kids in OPDL. All his youngest does all day is practice and practice and practice with the soccer ball at his feet trying to pull off Giovinco's moves. And with no exaggeration, the 9 yr old kid can pull off a lot of them. If there's a generation of new youngsters coming through the ranks like that (or imitating Piatti in Montreal ... or formerly Camilo in Vancouver I suppose) there is going to be quite the talent surge over the coming years.

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Yes it will because kids will watch if they think that it looks important, and when you have crowds like over 60000 in Montreal and another crazy electric crowd of close to 36000 in Toronto and the TV coverage it has been getting all over the place,  kids will watch and want emulate the players they are watching and they will realize these are not teams playing in front of these big crowds in Europe,  but here in Canada where they live,  it will influence these kids and will give these kids the will to keep playing and getting better that's what these MLS Canadian teams are doing for these kids,   and it will help when they see all the attention these MLS Canadian teams are getting .

Edited by 1996

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12 hours ago, football_world said:

Do you think the MLS will have the same impact as the NBA in Canada?  Without a doubt, the Toronto Raptors have been a huge boost in developing and encouraging Canadians to pursue a professional basketball career.  And now, Canada has entered a new "golden age" of up and coming NBA players.  I'm hoping the MLS does the same as the NBA - encourage and inspire our youngsters to seriously consider soccer as a professional career.  Only then can Canada make the World Cup again.

Do you think the MLS can help get Canada back into the World Cup?

Contrary to popular opinion it is not the Raptors who have boosted player development in the GTA over the last decade, but rather the creation of multiple AAU clubs who now congregate the top talents in the GTA over the summer period, give them top level coaching, top level competition against American-based AAU clubs and the resulting exposure to prep. school and College scouts. If MLS academies can replicate that ie. get some top-notch competition for these kids in the form of joining European-based youth leagues and then the top kids being recruited away to those top academies then the situation we have in Basketball could be replicated. However, FIFA does not allow the movement of players under age 18 so that's not going to happen.

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Ya but without the Raptors those academies might not be around, come on of course the Raptors have played a significant role in getting kids interested in Basketball, the popularity of the Raptors has helped immensely, so will kids going to games and seeing the added mainstream media coverage that the MLS is getting in the 3 Canadian MLS cities , with kids in soccer in Canada it's never been a question of the numbers of kids that play the numbers are there, it's keeping these kids playing longer and getting more kids to try and reach higher level rather than just playing with no aspirations of making the pros one day . Hopefully this is what the 3 Canadian MLS does to some of the kids that are playing youth soccer, they see the big crowds, they see the added media coverage and it makes some of these kids want to take the next step of getting better and trying to make it as far as they can.

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In Garber's State of the League address he specifically said an MLS goal is to see Canada in the WC. Was on Friday. He also responded half ass to a great N Davidson question about player parity. Will have to start a new thread on that I think now that we're post final.

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21 hours ago, 1996 said:

Ya but without the Raptors those academies might not be around, come on of course the Raptors have played a significant role in getting kids interested in Basketball, the popularity of the Raptors has helped immensely, so will kids going to games and seeing the added mainstream media coverage that the MLS is getting in the 3 Canadian MLS cities , with kids in soccer in Canada it's never been a question of the numbers of kids that play the numbers are there, it's keeping these kids playing longer and getting more kids to try and reach higher level rather than just playing with no aspirations of making the pros one day . Hopefully this is what the 3 Canadian MLS does to some of the kids that are playing youth soccer, they see the big crowds, they see the added media coverage and it makes some of these kids want to take the next step of getting better and trying to make it as far as they can.

Re the Raptors...no, you are incorrect. The path of the youth basketball scene pre-dates the Raptors. As does the first AAU team. The world's best players coming to town via Raptors has certainly contributed, but the efforts guys like Wayne Bridge and the admittedly questionable character Ro Russell are far more significant. Giving the Raptors any more than mild influence on the growth of basketball in Toronto is simply incorrect. 

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On 2016-12-01 at 10:19 AM, rob.notenboom said:

A friend of mine in Toronto has two kids in OPDL. All his youngest does all day is practice and practice and practice with the soccer ball at his feet trying to pull off Giovinco's moves. And with no exaggeration, the 9 yr old kid can pull off a lot of them. If there's a generation of new youngsters coming through the ranks like that (or imitating Piatti in Montreal ... or formerly Camilo in Vancouver I suppose) there is going to be quite the talent surge over the coming years.

I coach a U9 MJ team and while there are Messi and Ronaldo fans but they all loosely follow TFC.

In fact I asked my son who he thinks of as the best soccer players and he said and I quote.  " of course Messi and Ronaldo are the best but Giovinco is great and Michael, the guy with no hair for TFC, is good".

I'd say that the TFC impact is around but less than the Vince Carter impact on Basketball fans.

 

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Again if you still think the MLS in the three Canadian cities with there big crowds and a kind of Major league feel around them will not influence some young kids to want to stay in the game and take their game one step further what can I say. The amount of young kids going to MLS games and watching on TV will have an influence on our young soccer players of today I believe no doubt about it just wait a few more years and you will see the difference but if your a MLS hater than I can't change your mind, it is what it is.

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55 minutes ago, 1996 said:

Again if you still think the MLS in the three Canadian cities with there big crowds and a kind of Major league feel around them will not influence some young kids to want to stay in the game and take their game one step further what can I say. The amount of young kids going to MLS games and watching on TV will have an influence on our young soccer players of today I believe no doubt about it just wait a few more years and you will see the difference but if your a MLS hater than I can't change your mind, it is what it is.

What does us disagreeing with your Raptors analogy have to do with hating MLS? Talk about clutching at straws.

Will MLS academies extend the youth careers of some talented players? Sure. Will some become pros because of MLS? Yeah, sure. Are the MLS clubs going to cause a groundswell of elite development that will dwarf what came before it and breed a dozen or more EPL/La Liga/B1 calibre players the way basketball development has taken off? No. The Academies are just not that good yet and it will probably take at least a generation or more to get there. The raw material is there at our U10 level, but we need better coaches and better competition than the current academy environments provide to keep those kids at that level until they're 18+.

At this point we were better off when our top teens were able to go abroad to club academies in Europe and break-in to the first team because those teams had financial incentive to bring our players up in hopes of selling them. MLS clubs have little to no incentive to sell players and would rather play to win to put butts in the seats. Unfortunately the change in FIFA statutes means that option is off the table for minors who don't own EU passports.

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12 hours ago, Gordon said:

Re the Raptors...no, you are incorrect. The path of the youth basketball scene pre-dates the Raptors. As does the first AAU team. The world's best players coming to town via Raptors has certainly contributed, but the efforts guys like Wayne Bridge and the admittedly questionable character Ro Russell are far more significant. Giving the Raptors any more than mild influence on the growth of basketball in Toronto is simply incorrect. 

When asked, most cnd players in the NBA say that Vince Carter was their biggest influence and idol.   

I am not sure that programs like CIA bounce would be around today if there were not a culture for the game and desire by many to join and get involved in these programs. 

Edited by Free kick

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It's an interesting debate. I remember being a fan of the NBA even before the Raptors and Grizzlies came into the league. Let's just say the Canadian NBA expansion solidified the culture for the sport here and helped blossom the seeds planted by the AAU teams.

Edited by Macksam

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In the short term, MLS helps Canadians on that front by giving national team level Canadians first team minutes. On that front, this year was better than most. When it comes to the effect of the teams on kids choosing soccer and developing in the sport, I suspect the effect will be largely local (nearly all of Canadian NBAers are from the GTA, hardly a coincidence). On the bright side, the 3 MLS teams 'local' areas cover nearly half of Canada's population.

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The population of the 3 Canadian MLS cities are bigger than a lot of countries that are way above us in the soccer rankings, so if it only affected kids that live in the MLS Canadian cities it would still be good.

Edited by 1996

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On 12/1/2016 at 1:42 AM, football_world said:

So I checked the front page of TSN and the Toronto Star websites today and while I had my doubts, the front page showed Toronto FC's historic Eastern Conference championship win, which was a pleasant surprise.  I've never seen a Canadian domestic soccer team receive coverage like this before from the Canadian media. 

I know that if the CPL takes off, that will definitely help grow Canadian talent too.  I also know there is a lot of controversy about the "domestic" rule for Canadian players in the MLS.  But what do you think the MLS will have on increasing interest from our younger boys, especially those around age 14 to 17, to choose a career in professional soccer?  When Toronto FC makes the front pages of TSN and the Toronto Star, that has to be a big morale and prestige boost for Canadian kids that wonder if pursuing a career in professional soccer is worth it.

Do you think the MLS will have the same impact as the NBA in Canada?  Without a doubt, the Toronto Raptors have been a huge boost in developing and encouraging Canadians to pursue a professional basketball career.  And now, Canada has entered a new "golden age" of up and coming NBA players.  I'm hoping the MLS does the same as the NBA - encourage and inspire our youngsters to seriously consider soccer as a professional career.  Only then can Canada make the World Cup again.

Do you think the MLS can help get Canada back into the World Cup?

MLS will have the same impact as the NBA? I think it has the potential to have a greater impact, just because it has more of a presence in 3 teams instead of just 1. When I look at this list, it is dominated by the Toronto or the Golden Horseshoe and Canadians who moved to the US before highschool by a LARGE margin. (Like pretty much everyone except 4 from Vancouver, 2 from Montreal and 1 from Saskatoon). It's also a number in it's 30s, all time, which isn't nearly enough.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_foreign_NBA_players

However, when I also look at that, I'm left asking "Well, just about all these players went to the NCAA and went from there" how much as Basketball really grown in our country when CIS programs are still a joke, and you have graphs like the one bellow, which are still very true. I think it's more a case that Toronto highschools have benefited because of the Raptors and the NCAA is swallowing up the cream of that crop. We're still failing to qualify for the FIBA Worlds, failing to qualify for the Olympics and just now getting Bronze at the FIBA Americas. It's better then it was, don't get me wrong but it's not the springboard to say we are a Basketball nation (although outside the US, Spain and France who really is?)

It really is no stretch to see soccer eclipse basketball in Canada quickly over the next few years, because the NBA's presence is concentrated in Toronto. I don't think a lot of people out West or in Quebec care much about it. Frankly, it's a miracle that the MLB still draws as well as it does (although a generation seeing the Jays stick it to the US and Expos regret might be a factor there) and the fact that 28 Canadians have made it to the show, I think sorta speaks volumes about Baseball development in our country.

Now back to the question. Will MLS help? Sure, any time you have a local professional presence in the sport, you will see gains because you have exposure to it, even if you don't have a lot of local player development. Inspiration has a power to drive development, so yes it can and does help. There is no question MLS helps our National team, if only by raising the profile of the game, but also in development (for what it does provide).

However, the broader question, can it help enough as it stands with it's current model to get us to the World Cup, on it's own? My answer is, probably not. Why is that? Well, couple reasons.

First off, we have swaths of talent in our country not being properly cultivated out West, nevermind out East. It is no shock that the West produces a great amount of both NHL and CFL talent, and why? Because there are teams out that way. You have NHL and CFL teams in every major city save Saskatoon and Regina (mainly due to the Riders being Saskatchewan's team and the Saskatchewan not being big enough for the NHL to consider) and long established WHL and CIS Football programs in every metro of note. Having three teams is not enough to cover out country, not only from a development perspective, but from an inspirational perspective. There's not enough interest out there to have swathes of the population invovled.

Second, there is a lack of roster cohesion. It's no coincidence that most teams who win the world cup, have squads composed of players who play in their domestic league, many on the same club. It's also no surprised that Europe and South America routinely dominate because they have the strongest national leagues, and thus not only to they benefit from the strongest domestic competition, but benefit by having their best players nearby to practice together as a national squad. Say what you want about Floro, he made one VERY true statement, in that "It's hard to pull players playing in Europe and across MLS and get them together and on the same page, on the same system". So what does this have to do with MLS? Well, simply put there aren't enough players playing there to even attempt a cohesive team. There is never the problem of "Z is a better player, playing in Europe, but X and Y both play for TFC and are better together, we're sticking with them"

Third, is requirements, in that there still aren't any. Now don't get me wrong, the new MLS rules do now give an incentive for more top level Canadians to get minutes as domestics, but we're still drowned in the face of the US's population. Clubs develop talent, not the national team and Clubs only develop local talent when they either have to because the governing body demands it, or it's cheaper to develop them then to buy abroad. It's as a simple as that. Clubs are businesses the same as any other, and like any business it's up to the government body to reign them in for the benefit of the country. The problem is we can't reign in and force MLS to play more Canadians, and thus develop more Canadians. We can only request.

Now that all said, we do play in CONCAAF, which lets be honest, is not only one of the weakest federations, but also, when you think about it, one of the hardest to get into, if you aren't one of the top 3 countries. Two of the 3.5 spots will forever be locked by the US and Mexico (barring a civil war in either country) leaving 1.5 spots left, and Costa Rica has a pretty strong hold on one of those spots too. So I'm left asking, can MLS alone, get us to the point where Canadian soccer is better then Costa Rica and the next best guy? My answer has to be a no. The only way we get in, is when CONCAAF hosts and we slip into one of the spots that has opened up. Even when you take the better but still limited domestic rule in account, over time it may get us into the hex, but not much further then that. Too much of our population is disinterested in the sport, which is something that only local, independant teams can solve, because it's hard to invest in a team miles away or in a farm squad where my roster could be pillaged at any moment.

Thankfully, that's why we have the CanPL and why it needs to take off for us to get there. Not only from a development, academy standpoint, but to get butts in seat, money in CSA coffers, development programs started to target youths who can't afford to pay an academy when they have the skills and to educate the public as a whole on the game.

Edited by -Hammer-

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the great analysis -Hammer-!  We already have the MLS.  Next year, we will have the CPL.  But for the next 8 years, we will have the 2026 World Cup baby!

Canadian soccer hasn't had such a good outlook for the longest time.  We have thriving MLS clubs with lots of Canadian fans and these MLS clubs are gradually generating Canadian talent.  We have young kids and teens that are fans of these MLS clubs and some of them are deciding to pursue soccer as a career over other sports.  We have the CPL starting next year, which will help to spread the popularity of soccer in the other smaller Canadian cities, and the CPL will provide a steady pay cheque to Canadian professional players.  And last but not least, we have the 2026 World Cup coming to Canada which will further raise the popularity of soccer in Canada!

I'm so happy for Canadian soccer today!  Feels like the stars are finally starting to align for us!

Edited by football_world

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