Canada is famous for its hockey and its citizens’ affinity for winter sports. However, you will probably be surprised if someone told you that football is actually the most played sport in the North American country with almost 3 million people playing it at the moment.
But if so many people are playing the sport how come the Canadian national team has only appeared at one World Cup (in Mexico 1986, when they lost all their matches and didn’t manage to score a single goal) and its highest FIFA ranking position has only been as high as the 40th place.
Canadian football fans know by now that getting angry at their nations’ poor results won’t do them any good, and that’s why after every disappointing performance, they visit some of the best Canadian online casinos featured on this site, and try not to think of the reasons for the constant underperformance and instead try to relax and win some money. But why are Canadians so bad at football?
Lack of football culture
When the Brazilian national team underperformed in the last World Cup, which was played in their homeland, the whole nation was up in arms and basically kicked their manager out of the team and put all of their players to shame.
Interestingly though, their anger was aimed at a Brazil team which reached no less than the semi-final stage of the tournament, and lost to the eventual champions of the world – Germany (rather embarrassingly to be honest).
However, Brazil is a nation which has football in its blood and anything less than winning the World Cup every four years is considered a major disappointment, so their reaction to the disappointing loss was expected and completely justified.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with Canada. In the North American country, the most heavily followed sport is hockey. In fact, whenever their hockey team fails to perform to its expected levels, coaches’ heads usually roll and players are called out to explain their poor performances.
When the Canadian football team loses however, no one seems to be bothered. Everyone goes on with their daily lives, and the news rarely gets any attention. This has ensured that complacency has set in, and the Canadian Soccer Association, the Canadian national team, the coaches and everyone else involved in the sport don’t think that they will ever be held responsible for their failure to produce satisfactory results.
No domestic league
Canadian football teams participate in five divisions, none of which is purely Canadian. The top two divisions on North American soil are the MLS (Division 1) and the NASL (Division 2). In the MLS there are three Canadian teams (Montreal Impact, Toronto FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC) and in the NASL there are two teams competing (FC Edmonton and Ottawa Fury FC).
Many people think that these five teams, which are mainly consisted of American and foreign players, aren’t enough for a country as large as Canada. They argue that if there was a domestic championship consisting of players who are home-grown, Canada’s quality of football would greatly improve and their country would have better chances of more regular appearances at World Cups.
Lack of minutes for Canadian players
Canadian players rarely get a chance to impress at their clubs. They are part of high profile MLS clubs, but as we have already mentioned, clubs like Montreal and Toronto are mostly made up of foreign players, and out of the five or six Canadian players in their rosters, only one or two play regularly.
Poor youth development programs
The Canadian Soccer Federation hasn’t managed to create a unified youth development program for years now, and has left the different Canadian provinces and regions to create their own development systems.
This has led to a series of disjointed youth development decisions being made by different parties, with no clear direction for going forward. Expectedly, the biggest losers from this situation are the talented youngsters who are expected to carry the national team on their shoulders in the future, but aren’t provided with a stable and continued football education during the most crucial stage of their development.
Canadian players lack the skills to succeed
Young players in Canada always have been (and still are) picked on the basis of their size and athleticism and not on their technical and tactical skills. Canadian coaches, who are rarely as qualified as they should be, usually put the emphasis on the physical side of the game, because that brings them results while players are still competing in their youth leagues.
In fact, it’s only natural to expect that a 12 year old with the body of a 15 year old will always outperform his opponents from the same age category. However, when this player gets older and faces more skillful players, he will most probably find himself out of his depth and will struggle for minutes at his club.
This has been the case with most Canadian players who were recruited as the biggest, fastest and fittest of their age groups, and as a result won their youth teams’ games and tournaments. But when the going got though, and when they needed to face opponents who have worked on their technique or when they needed to fight for a place in the first eleven with a teammate who had much better ball control and shooting abilities, Canadian players simply faded away.