Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Not tooting my own horn, but ...

I thought it was time that you returned your attention to a post I made back in December, highlighting how poor Asian and African teams have been in World Cups.

There is a very good chance that AFC and CAF will be responsible for exactly one team combined in the next round, and almost certainly not more than 2. CONMEBOL should feel insulted that they only get 4 full spots with a fifth only possible via a playoff.

CONCACAF is doing just as we all expected: Honduras are crap, Mexico have qualified for the grroup stage, and the USA are in the mix.
School's almost out for the summer, so you do the math.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Stephen Hart irks English football club

Well as it is mostly quiet on the Canadian front these days, as all eyes are on the world stage a little byline of a story came across my eyes over here in the UK. As luck would have it Canadian international Terry Dunfield, who recently took part in the matchups down in South America has been playing for Shrewsbury Town who are currently in League Two in the UK.

New manager Graham Turner of Shrewsbury Town is currently set to lose Terry Dunfield this summer and it is all thanks to Stephen Hart. According to Mr. Turner, Terry was told by Stephen Hart, that in order for him to play for the Canadian squad in the future he needs to find himself a more competitive place to play than with Shrewsbury Town who are competing in England's League Two.

Terry will clearly now have to find a new place to play as he has ticked off manager Graham Turner, who had this to say about Terry. "I was far from happy with the player basically implying League Two football was not good enough for him."

So you be the judge, is Stephen Hart meddling going to make it any easier for him to get players released from clubs, or does he have the best interest for his players going forward. One thing is for sure, I do not see Shrewsbury Town singing any Canadians in their future.

Enjoy the World Cup all.

Thanks to bbc for the info

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Canadian content in the Canadian Championship

Even before the numbers were a bit skewed by throwing out a few academy players in a meaningless(ish) match, TFC were clearly the most Canadian team on the pitch in the Voyageurs Cup:

Toronto 1446 3960 36.50%
Vancouver 1108 3901 28.40%
Montreal 993 3895 25.50%
OVERALL 3547 11756 30.17%

They also hold a slight edge over Vancouver in the overall standings for 2010.

P.S. Blogging from the porch is truly the shit (that's meant in a good way, kids!)

Nutrilite Canadian Championship Pool: Final Standings

Just like the tournament itself, this year's edition of the NCC/V-Cup pool didn't need to rely upon any arcane or arbitrary tie-breaking methods. While most of us ended up in the 9-10 differential range, there was a clear separation at the top and the bottom.

Congratulations to our winner, Lank. Also deserving of being singled out, though for the opposite reason, is morbital, who captured the lanterne rouge.

As you may recall, the arrangement was that the winner should receive a scarf of the loser's choosing, from any of the 3 teams, or the CSA store. However, I haven't found an online location to buy Whitecaps gear -- can anybody help me out with this?

So morbital, get in touch. I have Lank's contact info, and I'd surmise from his location details that he's a TFC fan. So would you rather subject him to an Impact or 'Caps decorative?

The final standings:

Difference Entries
4 Lank
5 jloome, Simon B
6 CanadianKid
7 Chris
8 Tuscan, M@, masster
9 Duane Rollins, J, Jeremy, Crofty, zooko26000, Headhunting Canuck, Filipe, John, Spungi, Keato, icecoldbeer, Scott P
10 Pompey Canuck, Sagacious Chew, bbb, adriano, Daniel, Trevor Brooks, capsfan79
11 Lord Bob, Elvis, Casual Soccer Fan, pejnam, Heavy Red Flow
12 rmac, Sam, soka
13 Lennie, ATN_LR
14 Sigma
16 morbital

P.S. It seems as a collective we've grown to understand these teams and this tournament. Last year, the winning score was 10, and the bottom was 19.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Where will Canada's players come from?

What? You've been waiting impatiently for me to post about last Saturday's friendly against Venezuela? The one where Canada finally snapped a long winless and goalless drought on a last minute equalizer by Gavin McCallum, of all people? That featured promising performances by exciting youngsters like Adam Straith and Eddy Sidra?

Well, I didn't see it. But I've got some other thoughts to share.

Youth on display

In case you had forgotten, what with all the euphoria of the aforementioned Venezuela draw, or the celebrations in the streets of the T-dot in honour of "the FC" having clinched the Nutrilite tournament without even playing, tonight there is still one Voyageurs Cup game being played.

And since the outcome of the tournament no longer hangs in the balance, both squads have fielded less than full strength -- and somewhat more than experimental -- lineups.

Toronto FC's starting XI includes academy standouts Doneil Henry and Allando Matheson, and 3-year TFC man Gabe Gala who is, of course, still only 20 years old.

Vancouver is countering with an nearer-to-full-strength XI that includes young Canadians Marcus Haber, Philippe Davies and Luca Bellisomo.

The inclusions of these players is evidence of an abundance of young Canadian players within these systems. I decided against "young Canadian talent" because evidence that we are in fact dealing with talented youngsters remains in short supply.

But this brings to mind a thread on the Voyageurs forum: What's your hope for Canadian player development in 5 years. The theme in the responses from the more-clued-in-than-average posters that you get at the Voyageurs forum is that Canada's pro teams would have to shoulder the burden of developing Canadian talent if Canada is to have success on the internationl scene.

Three teams may not be enough, but it will interesting to see in 5 years time whether the young Canadian talent from it's 3 fully professional sides, whether currently on the senior squad or in the residency/academy, finds its way into the Canadian national team.

As an illustration of what a couple of pro teams can do for one nation's national side, let's go back in time. All the way to the year 2005 . . .

A walk down memory lane

Back in spring of '05, I was a young lad spending the days washing dishes and the evenings rolling around on the streets of Amsterdam. As luck would have it, Ajax was having a poorish season and tickets weren't in short supply. So I took in two matches that year at the ArenA: against FC Den Bosch in February, and Willem II in April.

The lineups on those evenings (actually, I think the February match was an afternoon encounter):
20 February 2005 vs FC Den Bosch: Stekelenburg; Trabelsi, Heitinga, Escudé, Maxwell; Obodai (60. Babel), Lindgren (81. Anastasiou), Van der Vaart; Rosales, Charisteas (68. De Ridder), Boukhari

7 April 2005 vs Willem II: Vonk; Trabelsi, Heitinga, Grygera, De Jong; Pienaar (74. Maxwell), Maduro, Sneijder; Rosales (74. Boukhari), Babel, Mitea
For your benefit, I've bolded the names of players part of the roster for the Dutch roster for the upcoming World Cup. That's 6 players, 4 or 5 of which are likely to be in the Orange XI, playing for the same squad at the same point in time. Not to mention Maduro, who has been on the fringes of the Dutch team.

If you look closely, this lineup reads as a who's who of Dutch football.

And this was not a New York Yankees-like collection of the big names of a league. These were all young players, 5 of which have since moved on to bigger teams and leagues (only Stekelenburg remains).

Could Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver produce the same effect on our national team roster five years down the road? Who will be our Ajax?

So, in a roundabout way

All of this brings me full circle. Canada's lineup vs Venezuela was as follows:

CANADA: Wagenaar (al-Shaibani 70); Stalteri, Straith, Hastings, Klukowski (Sidra 64); Nakajima-Farran, Dunfield (Beaulieu-Bourgault 74), Pacheco (McCallum 81), Ledgerwood (Zavarise 84), Wassey (Ademolu 61); Jackson

The only player with roots in a Canadian club team is Straith, and even he only spent a season or so in the Whitecaps system (thanks masster for the correction)

In other words, it looks like we have some way to go.