FC Tucson will run a series on all 12 soccer teams training and playing in Tucson during FC Tucson SoccerFest (10 MLS clubs and two international squads). We’re calling it the “Get to know…” series. While each post only scratches the surface of everything you need to know about every club, for the casual soccer fan, or non soccer fan, these posts will provide you enough to hold your own during a soccer conversation in the stands. It beats awkward small talk about the weather. Today we get to know Canada.
By H. Jose Bosch
Founded: Officially 1912, Unofficially, 1877
Official team site: http://www.canadasoccer.com/
Home field: Since 2011, Canada has played all of its home matches at BMO Field in Toronto.
Top players: Dwayne De Rosario, Atiba Hutchinson, Simeon Jackson, Julian de Guzman (above)
Top blogs: While blogs dedicated solely to the Canadian men’s national team are few and far between (i.e. non existent) two websites cover all things Canadian soccer, which include posts on team Canada. Check out The 11 (http://the11.ca/) or the Some Canadian Guys blog at CanadianSoccerNews.com (http://www.canadiansoccernews.com/content.php?129-some-canadian-guys).
Supporters group: The Voyageurs (http://www.cansoc.org/content.php?s=d7bfb4ead31f5bbcba3b22f9f7806aef)
Supporters group fun fact: In the past, members of The Voyageurs have sent Christmas cards to all players who played for the national team during that calendar year.
Highlight video you’ll want to share: Canadian national team highlights are hard to come by, but Dwayne De Rosario highlights aren’t. This video was uploaded in 2007 so it doesn’t include DeRo’s recent work. But it features clips from old school MLS and is set to Young MC’s “Bust A Move.” You can’t really go wrong there.
Past: The earliest known Canadian soccer association, at least according to the Internet, was the Dominion Football Association, which was founded in 1877. That association morphed into (or was replaced) by the Western Football Association and in 1885 the WFA sent a team to play a squad from the American Football Association, which was the U.S.’s unofficial governing body for soccer at the time. In Canada’s unofficial first match, it beat the U.S. 1-0 in Newark, New Jersey.
Canada’s success over the U.S. continued in the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis when Galt FC represented the country and defeated two representatives from the U.S. (Christian Brothers College and St. Rose Parish) to win the Olympic gold medal. It’s the only Olympic medal the men’s men’s soccer team has ever won.
On May 24, 1912, the Dominion of Canada Football Association was founded and on January 30, 1914, the association was officially admitted into FIFA. (Canada would later withdraw from FIFA in 1926 only to be officially admitted again in 1948. While not confirmed it’s likely Sepp Blatter was present for the re-admission, shaking his head in disdain.) Canada’s first official match was a 3-2 loss to Australia in Brisbane, Australia on June 7, 1924.
Canada’s international record wouldn’t be noteworthy until 1985 when the national team won the 1985 CONCACAF Championship (a precursor to the CONCACAF Gold Cup) and qualified for the 1986 World Cup. That success was short lived as the team lost all three of its World Cup matches by a combined score of 5-0. It’s the last time the team has qualified for the World Cup.
Despite the World Cup drought, Canada did see success again within CONCACAF. In 2000, Canada won the CONCACAF Gold Cup thanks to a 3-0-2 record and qualified for the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2001. At the Confederations Cup, Canada went 0-2-1 and didn’t get out of the group stage. Since the 2000 championship, Canada has had two third place finishes (2002, 2007) in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Present: Canada was poised to celebrate a lot more than its 100th anniversary in 2012. The good vibes began in 2011 when the Canadians cruised to a first place finish in the second round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. (Canada outscored their opponents 18-1).
The Canadians’ good form continued through the third round of qualifying when it went 3-1-1 going into its final match in the group stage against Honduras. In the two countries’ previous match up they drew 0-0. A win or draw would’ve put Canada into the next qualifying round and one step closer to its second-ever World Cup appearance. Instead, Honduras ran all over Canada in an 8-1 blowout. Less than 48 hours later, Canada’s coach Stephan Hart resigned from his post.
The Canadian Soccer Association hasn’t announced a permanent replacement, but on January 8, 2013, the governing body did announce that FC Edmonton’s coach Colin Miller would serve as the interim manager during Canada’s friendlies against Denmark in Tucson on January 26 and against the United States in Houston, Texas on January 29. Miller is no stranger to the interim tag. He was the Canadian national team’s interim coach for three friendlies in 2003.
Following his appointment, Miller told the media: “I’m not a babysitter. I’ll come in and put demands on players. … It will be hopefully two performances that will get us over that massive hump of not qualifying for the final six [in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying]. It will give us hope that the future is going to be bright for the national team.”