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PhillyJawn-guy

Why was the original CSL short-lived?

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I was wondering why the old CSL didn't last longer since it was coming off Canada's successful 1986 WC qualification. Also several CSL players later won the Gold Cup and Canada almost qualified for 1994 as well. So a league that played decent quality soccer but without the NASL's lavish spending on foreign superstars and instead gave Canadians plenty of game time couldn't last more than 5 years. What happened?

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40 minutes ago, PhillyJawn-guy said:
44 minutes ago, PhillyJawn-guy said:

I was wondering why the old CSL didn't last longer since it was coming off Canada's successful 1986 WC qualification. Also several CSL players later won the Gold Cup and Canada almost qualified for 1994 as well. So a league that played decent quality soccer but without the NASL's lavish spending on foreign superstars and instead gave Canadians plenty of game time couldn't last more than 5 years. What happened?

It’s an interesting discussion, but I think you’re operating under a bit of a misapprehension. The only time there has ever been professional soccer here (before MLS or the now renamed US “A” league -the USL)  was the old NASL! There were multiple Canadian clubs in that league, the major Canadian cities all had clubs in the league, most of them right up until it folded. 

 

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2 minutes ago, gator said:

Simple answer, not enough money backing the teams, it was a good league but some franchises had very poor attendance!

But mainly, the CSL was semi pro at best. 

Edited by Ams1984

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To me the answer is simple back then we didn't really care about soccer in Canada and had no way to follow it internationally. With advances in technology we are able to get the top leagues in Europe and we now have MLS close to home. The reality is knowledge and support of soccer is just stronger today then it was back then.

 

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This for me is one topic that deserves infinitely more attention on the eve of relaunching a fully national league. One of my earliest and favourite soccer memories was seeing the 86ers open their CSL days at Swangard versus the Edmonton Brickmen. I followed the league regularly and adored guys like Mobilio, Bunbury and Pesch and was beginning my own love affair with the game as a schoolboy. 

I'm personally not reading or hearing enough reflection on how this new league and these owners are planning to avoid the same pitfalls of the original league. I'm also not seeing enough names that would generate any great excitement outside of a small group of hardcore supporters that would make up in a small fraction of posters on this very knowlegable board.

I've read in some sources that early on some of the smaller markets in the original league struggled mightily both financially and at the gate and had to be propped up by the pocketbooks of the bigger markets, Hamilton, Montreal and Vancouver especially. That's not hard to envision happening this time around either, if there is even a mechanism for that in place. Another concern I have is if they have planned sufficiently far ahead, knowing that likely nobody involved will be making any money overall for a number of years.  Calgary and Edmonton concern me for this reason given comments in the media, and then the attendance in some of the smaller markets is also potentially a troublesome point if they don't start with a strong season ticket base. 

And this was a league that had Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal more properly included. And decent TV exposure. And Vic Rauter.

86ers first magazine.jpg

Edited by nolando

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Some good points and concerns nolando, I was a regular at Steelers matches and was sad to see the league go, I am however a bit more optimistic that this league has thought and planned things out better and that includes more stable ownership!

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3 minutes ago, gator said:

Some good points and concerns nolando, I was a regular at Steelers matches and was sad to see the league go, I am however a bit more optimistic that this league has thought and planned things out better and that includes more stable ownership!

But is there evidence of this, beyond the types filed under hopes and prayers?

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1 minute ago, nolando said:

But is there evidence of this, beyond the types filed under hopes and prayers?

I can speak about Forge FC specifically and they are doing a great job of marketing and reaching out to the fans, the Steelers had less of a soccer audience to appeal to as @grasshopper1917 points out, I think that is a huge difference now for the whole league, our owner, Bob Young has much deeper pockets than the previous owner! I am not disappointed with the signings of the league so far and eagerly anticipate comparing rosters as we move closer to first kick!

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2 hours ago, nolando said:

This for me is one topic that deserves infinitely more attention on the eve of relaunching a fully national league. One of my earliest and favourite soccer memories was seeing the 86ers open their CSL days at Swangard versus the Edmonton Brickmen. I followed the league regularly and adored guys like Mobilio, Bunbury and Pesch and was beginning my own love affair with the game as a schoolboy. 

I'm personally not reading or hearing enough reflection on how this new league and these owners are planning to avoid the same pitfalls of the original league. I'm also not seeing enough names that would generate any great excitement outside of a small group of hardcore supporters that would make up in a small fraction of posters on this very knowlegable board.

I've read in some sources that early on some of the smaller markets in the original league struggled mightily both financially and at the gate and had to be propped up by the pocketbooks of the bigger markets, Hamilton, Montreal and Vancouver especially. That's not hard to envision happening this time around either, if there is even a mechanism for that in place. Another concern I have is if they have planned sufficiently far ahead, knowing that likely nobody involved will be making any money overall for a number of years.  Calgary and Edmonton concern me for this reason given comments in the media, and then the attendance in some of the smaller markets is also potentially a troublesome point if they don't start with a strong season ticket base. 

And this was a league that had Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal more properly included. And decent TV exposure. And Vic Rauter.

86ers first magazine.jpg

Who could every forget Vic in the booth with some of his legendary calls (  :, can still hear his  Mobillo call in my head to this day. The league was lucky that TSN was in it's infancy when the CSL launched and were in the need of programming. It gave the CSL instant exposure. It really shows the different media landscape the CPL is facing today compared to the one the CSL had over 30 years ago.

The CSL had some really dubious ownership situations especially with London and Kitchener towards the end. 

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@nolando you’re not seeing any names that generate excitement but the names you mentioned weren’t names until the CSL. I’d bet this new league attracts more “names” recognizable to the casual fan than the previous start up. 

The signings by the league have been good so far.. at least USL level.  Guys like Bekker, Ledgerwood, Edwini-Bonau etc. that is a pretty good start. Those are guys who have played at decent levels and are still at reasonable ages.. could CSL say the same initially?  And being linked to guys like Zaccardo, O’Dea etc. Was that the case then? I genuinely don’t know.

Edited by Keegan

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2 hours ago, nolando said:

But is there evidence of this, beyond the types filed under hopes and prayers?

This time around it looks like a very organized effort, all the right elements are coming together. 

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4 hours ago, nolando said:

I've read in some sources that early on some of the smaller markets in the original league struggled mightily both financially and at the gate and had to be propped up by the pocketbooks of the bigger markets, Hamilton, Montreal and Vancouver especially. That's not hard to envision happening this time around either, if there is even a mechanism for that in place.

You mean like how Bob Young is already the primary investor in Hamilton and also now the financial backer of Halifax?

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3 hours ago, Keegan said:

@nolando Those are guys who have played at decent levels and are still at reasonable ages.. could CSL say the same initially? 

The CSL had most of the CMNT starters playing in it not long after the 1986 World Cup appearance. CanPL will probably be doing well to have any player called up for the national team when World Cup qualifiers are involved given MLS also exists and it's much more likely for Canadian players to be signed by a club overseas nowadays.

The quality of CSL varied markedly but a team like the 86ers was stacked with national team players and was drawing the largest crowds for any outdoor team anywhere in Canada and the United States at the time. The sport had moved indoors south of the border and top CMNT players like Dale Mitchell and Dominic Mobilio could make very good money in the winter months in leagues like the MISL and NPSL to supplement their income.

If you are old enough to remember the CSL, I have to agree with nolando that the quality of signings for CanPL is underwhelming by comparison so far when compared to the 86ers and Blizzard. That's not necessarily a problem as the key is making it work in the markets like Calgary, Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, K/W and London where the franchises folded last time around and being the Washington Generals to the 86ers soon got very old, especially in the western conference.

Edited by BringBackTheBlizzard

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4 hours ago, BringBackTheBlizzard said:

The CSL had most of the CMNT starters playing in it not long after the 1986 World Cup appearance. CanPL will probably be doing well to have any player called up for the national team when World Cup qualifiers are involved given MLS also exists and it's much more likely for Canadian players to be signed by a club overseas nowadays.

The quality of CSL varied markedly but a team like the 86ers was stacked with national team players and was drawing the largest crowds for any outdoor team anywhere in Canada and the United States at the time.

Thanks for this tidbit. This blows my mind and I seriously had never considered the role the Swangard club had at the time in terms CanAm soccer.

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I was a season ticket holder with the Winnipeg Fury, who were one of the original CSL clubs and the Fury outlasted the league.  Winnipeg Fury won the Mita Cup in 92.

The biggest difference is we now have the internet.  In terms of marketing, managing and coordinating resources, there is no comparison.  The CSL operated in the dark ages.  This point can not be underestimated.

The CSL was born out of passion from Canada making the 86 World Cup.  There was no business plan and little money.  Not at the national level or local level.  The CPL have money behind them and a have worked on their business plan for years.  Example: The club names have been well thought out and resonate with locals.  The 'Fury' is a generic recreational league name.  Valour has unique Winnipeg history tied to it.  Locals love the name and logo.  First class marketing in CPL.  CSL had zero marketing.

The sponsorship deal with Macron is worth millions to CPL.  The CSL had zero in this regard.

I loved the Fury and CSL, but on many levels Valour/CPL have already surpassed the Winnipeg Fury on many levels, without kicking a ball.  The Fury had no money and operated on a shoe-string budget.  The Fury had no paid front office staff.  Valour don't have money behind them like Hamilton, but they are owned by the Bombers (CFL), who are a community owned team and been around since 1930.  Instant stability and professional infrastructure.  

We only have 4 players signed, but even the on-field product looks better.  In 87 the team was completely amateur.  The local kids could not compete nationally.  Now we are bringing local kids home with pro experience.  That did not exist in 87.

I also like the fact the CPL is not obsessed about being in the big three markets.  The way forward for pro sports is niche markets and the CPL understand this.  One only has to look at the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL to see the way forward.  Halifax Wanderers have the potential to be the next Saskatchewan Roughriders (and look at the CFL scrambling to catch CPL!).  

CPL will have it's struggles like any new league will.  Some clubs (hopefully not many) may not last.  But so far, they are operating on a very professional level and there appears to be much interest across the country in terms of new clubs. They aren't trying to go head-to-head with MLS.  They are starting from the ground up, the way it should be built.  I actually love the fact budgets will be modest.  It tells me the CPL knows what they are doing.

I also love the fact the CPL purchased League One in Ontario.  Anyone from back in the day recalls the bickering between NSL and CSL (although a different dynamic).  CPL have kept relationships positive and have incorporated them from the get go.  Again, they understand the importance of this.   (One reason I could care less about the Ottawa Fury being in the CPL.  If they don't want to be in our league, I don't want them in our league.  If they had wanted to be part of CPL, I would have welcomed them like brothers.  But if they don't want to be part of our league, close the door and say goodbye (which CPL correctly did).  Nobody should be brought in kicking and screaming.  

Another advantage to CPL will be the Voyageurs Cup.  CPL home games against MLS sides should result in a huge gate.  I suspect Valour home games against Whitecaps/TFC will be well into the double digits in terms of crowd.  CSL had zero in this regard.

Another key part of CPL is creating soccer infrastructure.  Again, CSL had nothing in this regard.  CPL is creating soccer specific stadiums where required.  CSL could not have pulled this off to save their life and did nothing in this regard.

One thing CPL is working on, but has yet to settle, will be a travel sponsor.  Travel costs will be key and they need to hammer this one down.  The league is more than aware of this and working on it.

LOTS of positives moving forward.  And to this point, CPL have made CSL look completely amateur in terms of their business acumen and approach.

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, nolando said:

^ Top post...many thanks, WF..I feel much more encouraged now

I loved your post old timer !  

There's the macro level and micro level.  Just trying to provide some incite into our micro Winnipeg level.  The micro level will vary obviously from city to city.  I hope Pacific FC is blowing the Victoria Vista out of the water locally and I'm sure they are, but will let Ted or someone with more local insight address.   

The micro level is key.   Blanket comments on Toronto mean nothing out here, and vice-versa.  Need some local old-timers with insight to step up.  Interesting to see how Edmonton works compared to NASL/Brickmen/Aviators/Drillers, etc.....

I will say this.  I know the primary focus of the Bombers is CFL.  But if they put some marketing into Valour, Winnipeg should be rock solid.

We need the CPL to get their travel sponsorship completed.  i know they are working on it, and if they do as well as their kit sponsor, we should be laughing.  

 

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I think non-big 3 market growth will be key to the CPL.  If they can build a sustainable league out of not being dominant in those markets then the building blocks are there for a genuinely national league, which given enough time (likely a quarter of a century) could eventually bring those teams in.  

I think the owners are aware of the MLS’ experience and accept that it will likely take a long-term commitment and early losses before this thing reaches sustainability. If not, they’re going to fail. But after reading much of what has been written, I am more optimistic about this league than I was even two weeks ago. 

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22 hours ago, nolando said:

This for me is one topic that deserves infinitely more attention on the eve of relaunching a fully national league. One of my earliest and favourite soccer memories was seeing the 86ers open their CSL days at Swangard versus the Edmonton Brickmen. I followed the league regularly and adored guys like Mobilio, Bunbury and Pesch and was beginning my own love affair with the game as a schoolboy. 

This is what I am most excited about. I can't wait to see the next generation of talent just grab the proverbial bull by the horn. I think every season we will be pleasantly surprised and young Canadian versions of Miralem Pjanic and Marek Hamek will start regularly coming out of the woodwork.

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5 hours ago, BringBackTheBlizzard said:

There was. It was called CUSL. Later there was the Easton Report. Try googling those to see what happened.

Did the CUSL ever even start? The Easton Report was a good step that was taken after the 8-1 drubbing in Honduras. That was the basis for the CSA laying the groundwork for the provincial associations to build their own regional leagues, leading directly to the creation of L1O and LPSQ. The CPL actually flies in the face of the Easton Report, since the report stated that a Nation-wide Div II league was not financially viable.

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I think L1O and LPSQ did a lot to help grow the conditions for the League to exist.  You now gave a body of players and officials that can staff a league. 

The conditions may not have existed then, but they may now because of those leagues.  

Also, I guess it may well be now or never in terms of people willing to try launching one. 

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10 hours ago, Winnipeg Fury said:

I loved your post old timer !  

There's the macro level and micro level.  Just trying to provide some incite into our micro Winnipeg level.  The micro level will vary obviously from city to city.  I hope Pacific FC is blowing the Victoria Vista out of the water locally and I'm sure they are, but will let Ted or someone with more local insight address.   

The micro level is key.   Blanket comments on Toronto mean nothing out here, and vice-versa.  Need some local old-timers with insight to step up.  Interesting to see how Edmonton works compared to NASL/Brickmen/Aviators/Drillers, etc.....

I will say this.  I know the primary focus of the Bombers is CFL.  But if they put some marketing into Valour, Winnipeg should be rock solid.

We need the CPL to get their travel sponsorship completed.  i know they are working on it, and if they do as well as their kit sponsor, we should be laughing.  

 

Geez, I'm dating myself now.  I was at the first game for the National Capital Pioneers at Aydelu Park in Aylmer, Quebec,  It was very much a make shift facility that had a maximum capacity of maybe 4,000.  It was basically a (slightly above) average recreation park that had bleachers on either side with a hockey arena next to the pitch.  I remember going there as a young high school student with my soccer playing buddies and thought that was the pinnacle for Canadian soccer.  But like WF says, it was actually very poor quality wise and I remember going to a game later that season and thinking that there were no more than about 500 people in attendance. and every goal I saw scored was scrappy  I would like to think the CPL is way better organized and has more money behind it with much better facilities.  The travel issues (costs) continue to exist and that is still my #1 concern about the survival of the league - geography doesn't work in our favour I'm afraid.

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