Sunday, April 29, 2012

Voyageurs Cup contest reminder

This is a reminder to all of those who still haven't submitted an entry for this year's Voyageurs Cup contest: do it now! We're at 26 30 37 entries so far, but I'm hoping for a much bigger number.

All the contest details can be found here. 

If you have a blog with a greater reach than this one (in other words, if you have a blog) or any other way of getting the word out about the contest, I'd very much appreciate any traffic sent this way.  Running this contest is one of my favourite things about maintaining this site every year.

I won't be entering my own contest, but for the record here are my own predictions:


Golden boot: Bernardo Corradi

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Voyageurs cup stat of the day #1: All-time scorers

From today until first kick of the 2012 Voyageurs Cup (aka Amway Canadian Championship) I will be presenting to you, with little in the way of additional commentary, a stat of the day.

The first stat, for this Thursday, is the all-time goal scoring chart.  It doesn't say much for the continuity of Canadian teams that among the plural goal scorers, only the once-retired septuagenarian (or so) Eddy Sebrango remains with a participating club.  In total, barring any player movement, only Sebrango, Camilo, Joao Plata, Eric Hassli, Terry Dunfield, and Ty Harden will have a chance to climb the charts in 2011.

active players with participating teams in italics

Dwayne De Rosario4
Ansu Toure3
Chad Barrett3
Maicon Santos3
Alan Gordon2
Amado Guevara2
Eduardo Sebrango2
Marcus Haber2
Roberto Brown2
Rohan Ricketts2
Ali Gerba1
Charles Gbeke1
David Testo1
Eric Hassli1
Ethan Gage1
Joao Plata1
Joey Gjertsen1
Kevin Harmse1
Marco Velez1
Martin Nash1
Maurice Edu1
Mikael Yourassowsky1
Mouloud Akloul1
Peter Byers1
Philippe Billy1
Severino Jefferson1
Terry Dunfield1
Tony Donatelli1
Ty Harden1

While you're here at the ol' blog, don't forget to enter this year's Voyageurs Cup prediction pool.  If I go over 50 entries, I'll pay for a kid to go see Canada-Honduras.  I hopes he starts a fight.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Money, money, money

A recent thread at the Voyageurs forums was started by a member complaining that the CSA had set the prices too low for the 4 national team matches to be played in Toronto this summer and fall. The gist of the discussion was that the association was leaving much needed funds on the table by setting prices below what the market will bear.

Some of the logic was spurious. For one, calculations of missed profits were made based upon the idea of a full house at BMO for all matches. Here are the attendance figures for all Canada matches ever held at BMO Field:

Date Opponent Type Att.
Sep 12, 07 Costa Rica Friendly 9325
Aug 20, 08 Jamaica WCQ 21978
Sep 4, 10 Peru Friendly 10619
Jun 1, 11
Sep 2, 11 St Lucia WCQ 11500
Oct 11, 11 Puerto Rico WCQ 12178
Nov 15, 11 St Kitts WCQ 10235

Admittedly, the World Cup qualifiers to be played in 2012 and the glamour friendly against the USA ought to be bigger draws than Latin American friendly opponents and early-round small fry, but a sellout that does not rely on an enormous away support to pack the stands is no sure thing.

The prices the CSA is charging for the matches range from $25 to $50 ($30 to $55 for the USA friendly). By way of comparison, those same seats cost $27 to $97 on a single-game basis when TFC are playing.

An argument for value can be made. Canada's WCQ matches will be the highest quality of football to be played at BMO Field this season. The outcomes are of far greater importance. The stakes all over the pitch are much higher.

Yet a quick glance around the world shows that price points for international football are lower than the value argument would suggest. Prices are also typically lower than for the club matches played in the same arenas. Here's a sampling:

Country Opponent City Type Min* Max* Source
Netherlands Bulgaria Amsterdam Friendly $31 $81 [source]
USA Scotland Jacksonville Friendly $22 $68 [source]
Costa Rica Mexico San Jose WCQ $30 $50 [source]
France various various Friendly $26 $112 [source]
England Belgium London Friendly $32 $87 [source]
all prices in CAD; some VIP/box seating not included

I was quite intentional with these selections. All the host countries are (arguably, perhaps, in the case of Costa Rica) better teams than Canada. All, save Costa Rica, are as wealthy, or wealthier. With the possible exception of the USA, soccer has a larger profile in those countries.

And yet the prices are almost exactly in line with what Canada is charging. I'd certainly pay an extra 20%, rooting interests aside, to watch the Oranje rather than Dwayne De Rosario dribble the ball into traffic.

The proof in the pudding is in the eating. The only proof the Voyageurs poster could offer that the prices were set too low is if demand outstrips supply. For now, this hardly seems likely. The CSA's priority ought to be to pack the stands with Canadian fans.

Turning a profit is a secondary concern to creating winning conditions; the real windfall would be the 5 extra home dates if Canada could pull off a miracle and qualify for the Hex.

My own feeling is that, especially with TFC getting GTA-based footie fans in a foul mood, tickets will be a tough sell. That's why the soccer community needs to get out and do more of this:

As usual, I'll be watching the games from home. A job that provides 2 months of summer vacation does not allow for the necessary vacation days to get to Toronto and back. But I hope you're there.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Voyageurs Cup pool: 2012 edition

With the new year, we have a new name for the tournament which will decide the winner of the Voyageurs Cup. The competition formerly known as the Nutrilite Canadian Championship was expanded to include FC Edmonton last season, and now features four teams. The new corporate moniker, the Amway Canadian Championship, is not to our tastes, so we'll instead be honouring the supporters who got the ball rolling and stick with using Voyageurs Cup on this blog.

This contest, of course, is a prediction league and 2012 will be its fourth season. The first edition received upwards of 30 entries, and was won in a close finish by some canadian guy squizz, while 2010's title (and prize) was won by a guy going by the name of Lank, who beat out nearly 40 other entries. Last year we had 72 entries and two prizes and these were divided between the two tied winners, Free Kick and Casual Soccer Fan.

We've increased participation in the contest every year, so it would be further gratifying to see the total number of entries tick over 75 and creep up towards 100.

The new format in 2011 necessitated some rule changes, and those tweaks seemed to work last year. Past participants will find the basic principles highly familiar.

Here's the important information:

  • Participants will predict the final score of each of the 6 NCC matches in two stages: a) The initial entry must include predictions for the first 4 matches (both legs of each of the two legged ties, then b) Once the finalists are known, an emailed prediction for both legs of the final
  • Total discrepancy from the final score of each match will be tallied. e.g.: If you predicted Montreal 1 - 0 Vancouver for the opening fixture, and the final was 2-2, your discrepancy factor would be 3 goals (off by 1 for Montreal, off by 2 for Vancouver). Low score wins.
  • For these two-legged ties, the CSA is applying the away goals rule. If matches go to extra time, the scoreline after 120 minutes is the one that will be used for contest purposes.
  • First tie-breaker will be total number of exact scorelines. Second is total number of correct results (win/draw/loss). Third will be correctly predicting the tournament's high goal scorer.

It's a WCQ year and we should all be getting behind Canada. In that vein, the winner(s) of the contest will receive a Canada scarf, or equal or lesser priced swag from the Umbro Canada store. Or, if arrangements can be made, a ticket to one of the Canada qualifiers in Toronto.

If the number of entries goes beyond 75, a second winner will receive a prize. 100 is the threshold for a third prize.

Or, if you have a company that wants to market to diehard Canadian soccer supporters, get in touch to donate or sponsor a prize.


ll entries must be submitted via email in order for me to be able to solicit your final round picks in a timely fashion once the finalists are known. Any entries left in the comments will not be included; I'll try to contact you to get an emailed response.

Please include the following details in your entry
  • The exact score of each of the first 4 fixtures (in the correct order, please)
  • Your prediction for tournament leading goal scorer.
  • A nickname to be displayed on the results page. If none is given, your real name will be used.
To make life easier for me, simply copy/paste the following into your email, and change the XXs into scores.


Golden boot: John Doe

I know some email programs will garble the formatting of that table, but don't worry about it, I'll figure it out.

Once the finalists are known, you will receive an email inviting you to submit your second round of picks.

All entries must be emailed to

CONTEST DEADLINE: All entries must be received by 8 pm eastern (kickoff time) on Wednesday 2 May 2012, the day of the opening encounters.

With FC Edmonton opening their season yesterday, Vancouver finally conceding a goal and loss, and Montreal knocking off Toronto in their first ever MLS showdown, you should have playing of data to consider while prognosticating.

I'm shooting for maximum participation, so if you have a platform for promoting this thing (twitter, blog, semaphore, etc.), I'd appreciate the support that way.

PSV wins Dutch Cup

PSV win the KNVB Beker, don bathrobes. First trophy for a Canadian player in Europe for some time, I'd imagine.

It has come to my attention that the bathrobe thing is a tradition for the KNVB Beker winners (here's FC Twente picking up their winners' medals wearing the robes in 2011). I still have no clue about the origin of this tradition. Can anyone help me out?