Concrete ways to accomplish vague goals? Sorry, not interested.

While sniffing around on the Vs board a few weeks ago, I found a page on a no-frills site called Football Rankings that has devised a few things the CSA could try in 2009 to help the men’s national team boost its FIFA ranking (which, as I’m sure you could guess, took quite a precipitous tumble in 2008, from #58 in January to #90 in December). The page’s author, a fellow named Edgar, devised the mini-plan in response to a somewhat ludicrous suggestion, buried in the CSA’s Strategic Activities 2009-2013 document, that the men’s national team would be shooting to hit the top 40 by this year. Well, let’s be fair and say maybe the goal is to hit the top 40 by next year.

How does the CSA, according to the document, propose to accomplish this?

develop and implement a comprehensive two and six year plan including training, competition, recovery, professional team relations, integrated support services. The Plan will provide stability and continuity in the development of international players.

What the consulting firm that was paid to produce this document probably doesn’t care to realize, however, is that a stable player development system is not a way to shoot up the FIFA rankings by 50 points — it’s the basic, fundamental way in which any soccer nation operates. Saying that having a stable player development system is the way to reach the final 16 at the World Cup (which the CSA thinks we can do by 2018) is like saying that buying a pair of shoes is the way to win a marathon: sure, it’s a necessity, but it’s number one on a list of a hundred other things you also need.

Our friend Edgar, on the other hand, has come up with three straightforward ways that may help us climb up the FIFA ladder in the short-term: get invited to the UNCAF Nations Cup 2009, reach the semi-finals of the 2009 Gold Cup, and schedule friendlies against “unrealistically high ranked teams” such as Burkina Faso, Macedonia, Guinea and Bolivia. Now, success in any of these realms is dependent upon fielding a competitive team, something that likely won’t happen until Dale Mitchell steps aside and our disgruntled players slowly trickle back to the national squad. But at the very least, these are quantifiable steps that can be taken to help achieve a desired goal. And while building a stable player development system is surely priority number one in the background, inflating our FIFA ranking as soon as possible is our best hope to procure a better draw when qualifying for 2014 rolls around.

What response did Edgar receive when making these suggestions to CSA chairman Dominic Maestracci?

Dear Sir,
Thanks for your comments.I was aware of the methodology.
D Maestracci.

PS:I hope we will work together for the benefits of Soccer in Canada.

What methodology? The FIFA ranking system? Really? I always thought you’d be more likely to teach quantum physics to a monkey than to find anyone who understands the ranking system (except for the folks in Sepp Blatter’s back pocket, of course). But hey, apparently the CSA has it all figured out, so, no need to worry. Move along, everyone. Nothing to see here.

Okay, to be fair, I realize that Maestracci can’t be expected to provide a long, detailed response to every unsolicited, semi-anonymous email he receives. But that post-script troubles me: “I hope we will work together for the benefits of Soccer in Canada”. Unnecessary pluralization and capitalization aside, it troubles me because of the tone it evokes in my head — a sort of “okay, you’ve got good ideas, and we don’t, but please don’t tell anyone, okay? Let’s work together. Let’s be friends. Come on, let’s have peace! For the children?”

Edgar ends his post with “I offered my help, they were not interesed. [sic] Anyway, good luck!”

Thanks. We desperately need it.

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2 Responses to “Concrete ways to accomplish vague goals? Sorry, not interested.”

  1. Well, I was in a hurry. It should have been “interested”, not “interesed” of course. Fixed now 🙂

  2. […] In (successfully) trolling the archives of this blog in an attempt to pilfer content, I came across a post from last December wherein the Canadian Soccer Association laid out its goals for the men’s national team in […]

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