A Canadian soccer writer, writing about Canadian soccer

Our copy of Globe and Mail writer John Doyle’s new book – the world is a ball – finally arrived* in the mail this week. And while we plan a full review once we actually read the whole book, I thought I’d comment on the chapter that immediately caught my attention: August 28, 2008, Toronto Canada 1, Jamaica 1.

Yes indeed, Doyle includes a chapter devoted to one game in Canada’s miserable World Cup qualifying campaign two summers ago, and I’m so glad he did. I dreaded that a book about the World Cup, even one written by a Canadian, would contain absolutely no mention of Canada even having a national soccer team. It’s just that we’ve been conditioned for so long to view not only the World Cup, but soccer itself, as distinctly un-Canadian. The faster this perception changes, the faster more Canadians will take the national team seriously.

I have no major quibbles with the chapter. Just two small ones… I wish Doyle would have  provided slightly more context related to the significance of an objectively pro-Canadian crowd at a World Cup qualifying match in Toronto. That’s the first time that’s ever happened. Quibble about the proportions all you want – 80/20, 70/30 – there was a clear majority of Canada fans in BMO Field that day, and that support was organized almost entirely online at the grassroots level. One long-time, well-known supporter spent thousands of dollars out of pocket to buy tickets and ensure they ended up in the hands of Canada fans.

Doyle also mentions that our campaign included a “fine victory against Mexico.” I assume he means the draw Canada managed against Mexico in Edmonton once we were already eliminated. Well, whatever. It was a fine effort.

Please check back closer to World Cup time for a proper review of what – based on Doyle’s writing for the Globe – should be a fine book.

* Full disclosure: His PR person mailed us three complimentary copies. To be honest, I plan on keeping at least one for my library. We may donate the others.

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2 Responses to “A Canadian soccer writer, writing about Canadian soccer”

  1. I’m pretty sure everybody in Canada got a review copy of The World is a Ball. Not sure how that will help sales, really.

  2. Oh c’mon Lord Bob. Wouldn’t you buy a book that has pre-shipped 33 million copies in Canada alone?

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