One end of the pitch to the other

This image is unapologetically hotlinked from the CSAs website.

This image is hotlinked. I make no apologies.

As reported by the good fellows over at Out of Touch on Wednesday, Julian de Guzman is not only in the running for this year’s Lou Marsh award as Canada’s top athlete, but is doing alarmingly well in a Toronto Star online poll asking readers who they think should take the honours. As of this writing, de Guzman actually leads polling, garnering over 1,900 votes (42% of total votes cast). As J at OOT rightly suggests, though, this is likely more a function of bored Voyageurs stuffing the ballot box than of any widespread appreciation of soccer in the Great White North. Want proof? As of this writing, Christine Sinclair, who’s also nominated, has received exactly 14 votes. Maybe all the female Voyageurs have been too busy this week to vote? *cough*

For what it’s worth, I should mention that this online poll means absolutely nothing in the actual voting (which I’m guessing is done by crusty old sports-media-vanguard types like Bob McCown), and the award will almost certainly go to the cokehead on the horse or the really fast wheelchair lady. Oh well. I’m sure if JDG gets that million bucks back from Depor, he won’t worry too much about Lou Marsh.

And now, from one end of the pitch to the other… guess what Greg Sutton is talking about these days! If you guessed “Gee, these new TFC kits are kinda stupid-looking, but boy, won’t they sell like hotcakes!” you’re half-right; right level of insubordination, but wrong subject matter. Nope, the man who provided 90 minutes of bench-warming service in the just-completed World Cup qualifying campaign told the Globe & Mail such things as:

We didn’t play up to our potential, because if we did play to our potential we would have probably qualified for the next round. Why is that, that’s the question you’ve got to ask yourself… That’s the question that the CSA has to ask themselves. Why did we not qualify for (the Hex) with the potential that we had, because by far we had the best group of players that we’ve had in a long time.

Well, Greg, you answered your own “question” in the first sentence there: the team with so much alleged potential didn’t play up to it. Duh. But as for the rest of the article, Sutton went on to say that the provinces-first structure of the CSA is completely idiotic, counter-productive to the development of the men’s national team and, ultimately, is helping to drive away current and potential future players from representing this country at a national level. Stop me if you’ve heard this all before. Sure, none of it is new, but you can now add Sutton to the list of players who’ve expressed public and unambiguous dissatisfaction with the state of the sport in the country (Brennan, DeRosario, de Guzman, Friend, Radzinski…)

I realize this is about the millionth time that a Canadian soccer fan has bemoaned the incompetence at the CSA and the perpetual underfunding of the program, but at any point, does it sink in? Does anyone in this country actually have the financial and organizational clout to finally put things in motion? Can someone stick a TV showing the Champions League in front of Jim Balsillie and see if he bites? Let’s face the harsh truth, folks: until some person, or some group, steps up with a definitive plan to move the sport of soccer in this country forward, none of the “sack the CSA!” chants or desperate click-votes for JDG will change a damned thing.

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