The Reserve Squad: CSA “head office” turns out to be struggling pet shop

This puppy, coincidentally enough, is a fan of Canadian soccer.

This puppy, coincidentally enough, is a fan of Canadian soccer.

An investigation has revealed that 237 Metcalfe Street in Ottawa, long purported to be the address of the Canadian Soccer Association’s head offices, is actually the location of Cute & Snuggly Arts, an independent pet supply store owned by Robert and Deborah Matheson of Nepean.

The pet store, located in downtown Ottawa near the Parliament buildings, is housed in a nondescript grey brick building with the letters “CSA” visible from the exterior. The Mathesons say that due to arcane local bylaws, they are prevented from showcasing animal-related products in their front window, meaning their pet shop appears to be just another nondescript gray office in the capital. It also means their business is far from booming.

“We sometimes get folks in here asking if we’re the soccer people,” said Robert, 63. “We tell ’em we have puppy chew toys shaped like soccer balls and that’s about it. Sometimes they swear, but they don’t usually buy anythin’.”

The Mathesons say they’ve owned the building for over 25 years. Asked how they’ve kept the business afloat for so long, Deborah would only say they had “relatives in the government”.

The coincidental name of the pet shop also appears to be just that — a coincidence.

“I wasn’t even sure what the Canada Soccer Alliance was until a few years ago,” said Deborah, 61. “But this year, all sorts of people have come in throwing around names I don’t even recognize. Some guy, Dan Mitchell, they keep saying I should fire him. I have a cousin named Dan, but he doesn’t even work here. How do they know him?”

Robert backed up his wife’s claims about unusual run-ins with non-pet-supply-interested people.

“Every now and then we get some media guy calling in here, asking about this or that. Usually I just throw them some Italian-sounding name, tell ’em I’m Dominic this or Vito that. Then I tell ’em whatever they want to hear. We got politicians in the family, so I know how to talk to these guys.”

Indeed, the phone number listed on the Canadian Soccer Association’s website does connect a caller to the Mathesons’ pet store. Despite their voicemail message — “Thanks for calling Cute & Snuggly Arts, your home for pet supplies in downtown Ottawa. Sorry, but we must be closed or busy right now, but please leave a message” — their answering machine was still full of messages clearly aimed at the soccer organization, including:

“You guys are a joke. A joke. That whole Linford mess and everything since then. When are you guys going to get your heads out of your asses?”
“Oooooh! Sack the CSA-a-a-a-a! Sack the CSA! Sack the CSA! Sack the CSA! Fuck you!”
“Hi guys, it’s Ben Knight again. Can you please call me back?”

“A lot of people are angry. I hope they’re not angry at us,” said Deborah. “There was that man who returned that collar a couple of years ago, he seemed pretty angry. I hope these aren’t his friends playing some dirty trick.”

Robert had a different take on the matter.

“It’s pretty clear that these soccer guys don’t want to be found. Or they don’t exist. I don’t know, and I don’t care. But hey, sometimes someone comes in to complain about soccer, and they end up buying a litter box or some Pup-peroni. I’ll take some verbal abuse to make a sale, any day of the week.”

Officials from the Canadian Soccer Association could not be reached for comment.

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One Response to “The Reserve Squad: CSA “head office” turns out to be struggling pet shop”

  1. It all makes sense now…

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