Sunday, December 08, 2013

Canadian content on Canadian teams in 2013

As you might have notice if you've been watching this space, blogging activity has slowed to a standstill. I've made nary a comment on the Benito Floro hiring, Canada's winless year, Montreal's meltdown in Houston, or anything else really, since summer.

I could introduce a litany of excuses including a busy start to the work year, moving into a new house, a tortured week spent with no internet, but the truth is it was a hard time to be excited about Canadian soccer.

I'm not sure anything has changed, but you can nevertheless expect some end-of-year housekeeping posts in the coming weeks. This is one of them.

I've tracked the percentage of minutes played by Canadian players for Canada's pro teams since 2009. The purpose of this exercise, at the beginning, was to test the notion that bringing professional soccer to this country will bring along with it more professional opportunities for Canadian players.

I can't say I've come up with a conclusive answer to the question. At first glance, the 2013 numbers are not encouraging. None of the MLS sides played Canadians for even 20% of the available minutes. Edmonton, playing in the NASL where next year they will be joined by Ottawa, managed a final number of 37.3%, a proportion that declined over the course of the season under Canadian manager Colin Miller.

And yet there are encouraging signs. In MLS, after Patrice Bernier, the next busiest Canadian players were the Toronto FC trio of Ashtone Morgan, Doneil Henry, and breakout man Jonathan Osorio. Rusell Teibert, 20 years old, also played a big part in Vancouver's season, especially in the early going, and led the team in assists (tied for 5th in MLS).

Regular watchers of FC Edmonton will be discouraged by the defenestration of Shaun Saiko, and the dwindling Canadian presence in their team over the course of the season, but some young players emerged including 17-year old Hanson Boakai.

As always, determining which players qualify as Canadian is not always easy. For example, I have counted Mallan Roberts (Edmonton) as Canadian all season, after hearing he was on course to earn his citizenship, but did not do so for Montreal's Wandrille Lefevre, who finds himself in a similar situation. Neither were year-long starters which won't greatly affect the numbers, but with further news regarding their allegiances I may have to go back and tweak a little.

Without further ado, here is the data. The full game-by-game breakdown can be found here.

NASL Regular Season88732461736.04%
Canadian Championship1027194152.91%

MLS Regular Season58043356017.3%
Canadian Championship731198036.9%

MLS Regular Season3324336449.9%
Canadian Championship630396015.9%
Champions League36939149.4%
MLS Playoffs0978.0%

MLS Regular Season1867335785.6%
Canadian Championship36039609.1%

The numbers for the MLS sides are the lowest, cumulatively, they have ever been. This may speak to the improved quality of the league but, if so, also signals that Canadian players are falling behind. Or it might not. Small sample sizes, and all that.

For comparison's sake, here are the end-of-year reports going back to 2009.
  • 2012 (Edmonton 59.8%, Toronto 25.5%, Montreal 6.5%, Vancouver 0.3%)
  • 2011 (Edmonton 77.3%, Montreal (NASL) 21.4%, Toronto 19.1%, Vancouver 5.8%)
  • 2010 (Montreal 35.4%, Vancouver (NASL) 34.0%, Toronto 32.8%)
  • 2009 (Vancouver 42.1%, Montreal 39.2%, Toronto 37.6%)
  • 2008 (Vancouver 56.4%, Montreal 44.8%, Toronto 22.1%)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing this, very interesting for fans of the national team.

jonathan said...

Much appreciated, Anon.

Charles said...

I noticed that the last match of the Canadian Championship does not seem tabulated for Monrtreal and Vancouver. Probably doesn't change the numbers significantly.

Thanks for the great work, it's really data to have. Looking forward to see the evolution over a 10years period with the academies.

jonathan said...

Well, that's embarrassing. Fixing now.

Anonymous said...

jonathan said...

It's 2014, but I still managed to delete a comment that I can't recover. The gist of it was something like this:

"You might want to replace Vancouver with DC United. Way more Canadian minutes".

To which I would have directed the commenter to the following post:

The most Canadian team in MLS is... the conclusion of which was: DC United.

In the end, DCU finished with 4772 MLS minutes played by Canadians (Porter, Jakovic, De Rosario), which would have placed them ahead of Montreal (3324) and Vancouver (1867). With only Porter remaining, I expect 2014 will be much lighter on Canadian content for DC.

jonathan said...

The exact comment that was deleted, from an anonymous commenter:

You may want to consider replacing Vancouver with DC United. Much higher Canadian content last season