Does Club Football Have a Stronger Future in Canada?

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Jim Brennan from

While the Canadian National Team has been eliminated from securing its first World Cup qualification since 1986, this has been an otherwise banner year in Canadian Soccer. Toronto FC has been a few terrible (and dare I say blatant) officials calls away from making the MLS playoffs as a second year franchise. The Thunder Bay Chill became the first Canadian champions of the PDL by upsetting Laredo in the finals. Vancouver has won yet another USL title, and Montreal currently has the most points of any CONCACAF Champions League participant.

With Canadian fortunes so clearly on the upswing, while club football in the United States is quite honestly stagnant in quality (in other words MLS and USL have gotten a boost from their Canadian sides to claim the leagues are actually improving in standard) should Canada become the focus of any future MLS expansion? Will this be tolerated by FIFA and the USSF? Does football have a stronger future north of the border as a spectator sport than in the peculiar sporting culture of the United States?

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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
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5 Responses to Does Club Football Have a Stronger Future in Canada?

  1. Ric says:

    “should Canada become the focus of any future MLS expansion?”

    Only if we want a few (extra?) posts from you saying that MLS is failing in its job of helping the USMNT develop players…

  2. elopingcamel says:

    What is the likelihood that FIFA would come down on MLS for bringing in more Canadian clubs? Would MLS care?
    So far, Canada has been very impressive in its soccer spheres in both quality (Vancouver/Montreal) and fan support (TFC). While it doesn’t seem likely at all that they could support a league of their own, at what point does FIFA step in and say “No more” to Canadian MLS teams?
    Another thought: I have heard lots of reasons what Canada couldn’t do their own league at this time. Those arguments make sense. However, Scotland has its own league, despite the fact that some of the clubs average around 4,000 fans a game. There are only a few clubs that really bring in the people and obviously only two that can truly pack the house. This hasn’t stopped them from having their own league; it juts changes the dynamics. Is there a feeling that the Scottish league’s setup (regarding fans that come out to the game) is not sufficient to run a league anywhere else?

  3. Phillip says:

    If MLS focuses on Canada, I hope that the USSF tells MLS to go to hell.

  4. Keep it Local says:

    MLS is becoming very greedy. We see that with Superliga and all the SUM events. We see it with over expansion, etc.

    The continued proliferation of Canadian teams in the AMERICAN FIRST DIVISION, has to be stopped by FIFA. They must rule on this and in favor of keeping domestic leagues domestic.

    TFC, the Impact and the Whitecaps can pool their resources and find three more teams to start a Canadian league.

    As for Thunder Bay that really pissed me off. The PDL was supposed to develop American players. I was horrified to learn earlier this year that Canadian teams were in the PDL, and now have won the PDL.

    Nothing against Canada but they are our CONCACAF rivals and MLS, USL, PDL are OUR leagues. If they want a league they can start one themselves.

  5. bandeeto says:

    keep it local,
    Sounds like you want Canadians, both professional and ametur, to be cut off from any benefits that they could gain from US soccer. Frankly, soccer in the US is not to the level where we should be worrying about giving our secret sauce away to other countries. It’s not like we Americans are paying their entry and travel fees.

    I am American, and I appreciate the passion and energy that Canadians have for football… that they inject into MLS and (apparently) the quality opposition they present for the rest of the PDL teams.

    If US based PDL teams want to beat Canadian based teams perhaps they should focus on winning on the soccer pitch. Perhaps rising to the challenge of a worthy opponent is more constructive than complaining because they are better. Just a thought. This is the US. I thought that’s what we did. Maybe that was before we became wusses.

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