Thursday, November 12, 2009
TFC Academy CanCon Requirement Plays to the Sticks
Just when I'm trolling around in search of something to care about, along comes Toronto FC COO and all around fan favourite Paul Beirne tweeting about how he intends to require TFC Academy entrants to commit to playing for Canada.
Even Duane Rollins points out the Academy couldn't force a player to play for the national outfit if it came down to that, so ultimately this is just more fan populism, and it seems they're loving it. The U-Sector blog writes: "now it seems TFC is at least considering taking the steps of ensuring that its burgeoning Academy program will benefit Canada instead of some European power ready to cherry pick the most promising children of ex-pats for its own gain."
Let's remember a couple of things here. The Canadian national team's qualification record in the 2010 World Cup was 0-2-4. Jim Brennan quit the national team after he was unceremoniously dropped for a couple of October qualifying fixtures, saying "I give out respect and for [Canada] to not even pick up a phone and say you won't be involved — which is fair enough and I can handle that — but to not even get a call that I wasn't selected and there were a few other players in the same boat as me, I think it's disgraceful." No communication.
Asmir Begovic, born in the former Yugoslavia before emigrating to Canada, was one of the brightest stars in an inept U20 Canadian host team that crashed out of a home tournament after losing three games. Jason de Vos relays word from Begovic that "he has had very little contact with anyone from Canadian soccer. He also said that in the past, he has gone over a year without hearing anything from anyone involved with Canadian soccer." No communication.
If Bosnia-Herznogovina, a team that finished second behind Spain and ahead of Turkey in their qualification group, picks up the phone to a Canadian ex-pat who hasn't heard from their national outfit in over a year, that kid is going to listen. This isn't "cherry-picking," this is common sense. This is not about kids saying no to Canada, or even about individual incompetents; this is about an inept national soccer infrastructure unable to keep tabs not only on their young prospects but on their wizened veterans. You can talk about pride all you want, but unless Canada changes their immigration policy, kids are still going to play for the national organization that gives a toss, no matter what front door policy you get them to sign.