Do Canadians care about football? (oops I meant soccer)…

Posted on juillet 8, 2010


Title on the left reads: "World Cup 2010: Inside the corrupt game of African soccer."

6 years ago, a schoolmate told me: « Because of these bloody immigrants, soccer is close to becoming Canada’s national sport. Hockey is going to lose its first place. »

What a jerk!Funny how back then I didn’t care much about soccer and I could have hardly foreseen the popularity of football after having witnessed the cult of hockey.

Despite all the publicity generated around the World Cup, the magazine Canadian Business talks about football as if it were a foreign sport that Canada doesn’t know about. Here’s what Canadian Business forgot to talk about.

How Canada could win big time without even qualifying

According to Peter Montopoli, the Canadian Soccer Association General Secretary in Canada « more people play soccer than any other sport — including hockey ». (So my stupid classmate was right after all).

« Six in ten Canadians (62%) agree that they would be more likely to support a company that sponsored Canada’s national soccer teams as they attempt to qualify for the FIFA World Cup™ competitions. » That’s good news for Rogers I guess.

To add a social dimension, Montopoli added: « soccer provides a welcome environment for New Canadians and couldn’t be more pleased that this important group of individuals for the future of this country would also support Canada on the global stage.”
This year the city of Montreal has taken creative steps taken to amaze football fans.

For the first time , the World Cup games are re-transmitted on Radio-Canada, the national TV station. (I know it’s called radio, but it’s a TV channel).
On week days and even during the week-ends, specialists comment on the games. It may not be as good as Jour de foot from Canal + but it’s a very good start for Canada.

I remember that few months ago Radio-Canada urged football fanatics to apply as bloggers to cover the 2010 World Cup. Since then, the online version of the channel equipped itself of 32 bloggers who share their emotions as they watch teams succeeding one another.
Radio-Canada has also created a frequently updated Facebook page even before the kickoff of the World Cup! How more official can it get?

Oh and no need to Google the results; it is at your feet. Results from the games are printed on the floor of Montreal’s the Eaton Center mall.

For the finale, Radio-Canada collaborated with the STM (Montreal Transit Corporation), to have shuttles fetching football fans to la place du chapiteau de la TOHU where the last the two last games will be projected on giant screen. How huge is that?

Canadian Business haven’t dared elaborating on how Canada could do better than South Africa as a host country because Canada may not even be given a chance to do better. It has emerged that Canada has been trying to bring the World Cup home since 2000. When Denis Coderre was still the Minister of Sports, he toyed with the idea of having games disputed in cities like Halifax. He also envisioned the opening and final games to be played in my dear Montreal.

Unfortunately, it looks like it takes more than just being  a member of the G8 to be part of the club. The Reds (Canada’s football team) haven’t qualified for the FIFA World Cup since 1986, which definitely eliminates their chances of even being considered as a potential host country for the World Cup. Canada hopes cousin Sam will host the next Cup as if that would make them the next on the map, somewhere in 2034. It gives me plenty of time to get married and bear a whole football family.

Bottom Line is

Football may not be the country’s strength for now but I think this universal language can help new and old Canadian to find a common front.

Who doesn’t enjoy seeing people running in the streets draped in ridiculous garment, painted with hideous flashy colors who loudly expose their support for a specific team – whether or not the latter was defeated just moments ago? I would have loved to see a real game just before my eyes and not just on TV. I still have to admit that I love the spirit of football even more than football itself.

Whose fault is it if Canada can’t play football? Maybe they should get high-skilled players and an experienced trainer to build a strong team that will at least qualify the country. Something tells me this team will mostly consist of these bloody immigrants…

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