Soccer made in Canada | CBC schedules grassroots broadcast spanning B.C. and the Maritimes

CBC’s feature on the Laurentians illustrates the hidden history of soccer within Canada. The first recorded game in St. Lawrence took place in 1904, when seamen would contest matches while their ships were at anchorage. Workers in the fluorspar mine would play after their shifts, while a town of emigrants from Scotland, England and the Republic of Ireland organized themselves in church leagues. The town’s main pitch, Centennial Soccer Field, is listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places in recognition of an area “that thrives on its soccer, past and present.”

UPDATE

As of mid-July, much of the Soccer Day in Canada content remains embargoed online, but three features can be viewed on the CBC Sports video player: “Soccer in Nigadoo, New Brunswick,” about a new indoor-soccer facility; “Saputo Soccer Family,” about the popularity and legacy of Montreal Impact; and “Island Soccer,” about the Prince Edward Island women’s team. The island won the silver medal on Jul 5 at the NatWest Island Games in Rhodes, Greece. They lost 0–3 in the final to the Finnish archipelago of Aland.

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3 comments on this post.
  1. Brian:

    I’m intrigued by what’s happening in Canada. There seems to be a genuine buzz about soccer that started with the U19 WWC. The women’s senior national side is now one of the top handful of teams in the world. Their men’s team did well at the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup, being unjustly denied a late equalizer in the semifinal vs the eventual winners USA. It’s unfortunate their U20 men’s team isn’t doing so well as the US really needs more serious competition in CONCACAF besides Mexico. But soccer appeals to certain segments of society that isn’t really touched by hockey.

  2. Gail:

    The performance the Canadian U-20 squad has exhibited was abysmal. They showed very little skill, heart, composure or flair. The crowds in Edmonton were a paltry handful of folks. The commentators made subtly racist remarks about admiring the Congolese players’ “natural talent.” They knew how to play the game. Nothing more. The Canadians looked like buffoons, unable to string together three or four consecutive passes mostly because they simply gave the ball away in 90 percent of their limited possession. It reminds me of another weak team—Scotland. And that, fair Canadians, is what’s wrong with soccer development in Canada—Scottish men leading the charge.

    The Scottish and English men who immigrate to Canada and set up their Old Boys’ Club, also known as the Canadian Soccer Association, have run the upper echelons of amateur soccer into the dust. When was the last time a Scottish team made it to the quarterfinals of European Champions League play? I’m sure the English are ready to point to Beckham, Rooney and the boys as proof that they know how to play. Well the English haven’t fared well in World Cup soccer in decades. English players and English clubs do well in European play because they’re finally exposed to and influenced by brilliant players and coaches from other countries who compete alongside them. The Scottish barely register on the global scene … at any level … because they’re intent on playing kickball.

    I’m sure people would also point out that the Canadian women’s side is not in the same state, yet [is] led by the same villains. Truth is, the CSA has paid so little attention to the women’s development that when they finally did, they made the most sensible move—hire the best coach money could buy. At the time, that man was Even Pellerud, who led the Norwegians to the dominant level they still enjoy. Add to that, 90 pecent of our women’s junior team(s) develop in the amazing “farm team” system in the NCAA. They get an education and a chance to compete regularly against some of the world’s best female players—Americans—for four years.

    If the CSA were to pay Jí¼rgen Klinsmann to lead the junior and senior mens’ teams, I’d give Jí¼rgen four years to bring Canada to a level of success that many countries have only dreamed of. But that’ll never happen because Klinsmann isn’t English or Scottish.

  3. James:

    Although CBC has done a lot of work covering the U-20 World Cup, they’ve done one thing that is maddening. They’ve launched a channel called Country Canada that is only available to Digital Cable subscribers, for a fee! For a public broadcaster to do something like this is really inexcusable. My tax dollars support the CBC and, in return, I expect to see as many games as possible on my tax-supported stations. Making me pay again is despicable. As well, other games are only broadcast on GolTV, another paid digital cable channel.

    So, although I’m glad the event has been getting coverage, I’m still not able to see many (most!) of the games live.

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