Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Canada's summer of soccer

Congratulations are in order for head coach Sean Fleming and the players of Canada's male U17 national team, who have qualified for this summer's U17 World Cup in Mexico. The decisive result was a 2-0 quarterfinal round win over Trinidad & Tobago. Highlights are available on the CONCACAF site, and are worth watching, if only to witness the Kevin Aleman wundergoal (ok, that might be laying it on a little thick) to make it 2-0.

Qualification into this tournament is certainly a significant accomplishment. No less significant, though, will be the efforts required by the Canadian soccer fan over the months of June and July. Consider the following schedules:

CONCACAF Gold Cup: 5 June - 25 June
FIFA U17 World Cup: 18 June - 10 July
FIFA Women's World Cup: 26 June - 17 July

There is significant overlap with these tournaments. Throw in Toronto FC, the Vancouver Whitecaps in their inaugural MLS season, FC Edmonton and the Montreal Impact in NASL, and for those of us abiding in the Chicago of the North, the opening salvos from WSA Winnipeg, and all of a sudden, there are a lot of matches to watch over a short span.

A few words of advice to the diehard Canadian fan, in order for this June and July to go off with as little friction as possible:
  • Beverages of choice should be well stocked;
  • Employees should begin now to ease off at work in order to make summer productivity declines appear more gradual;
  • PVRs should be obtained and assured of being in good working condition;
  • Spouses/significant others should be informed in advance of your emotional absence for June and July;
And most important of all for the Canada supporter.
  • Prepare for disappointment!
It's going to be a great summer!

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