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VOL. 1 NO. 2 JULY 2013

CANADIAN SOCCER DIGITAL MAGAZINE

3 1 0 2

GROUP A PREVIEW TURNING A PAGE TOWARDS YOUTH FROM THE ARCHIVES

YES WE BELIEVE

CANADA MLS MID-YEAR REVIEW IMPACT • WHITECAPS • TFC MEDIA SPOTLIGHT

JAMES SHARMAN RNO’S BEST

FROM MAY–JUNE 2013


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From the publisher Welcome to the second issue of ABoot, one that we are happy to see get published on schedule for early July, and at the start of the Gold Cup to meet what is a significant milestone for RedNation Online. The Gold Cup is an important tournament for Canada supporters as it represents one of only a few celebrations in the National Team’s history. For RedNation Online, the Gold Cup also is when we first went live. A few components had been active prior, but July 2009, the start of the tournament and covering the Men’s National Team, was when RedNation began. Now into our fifth year covering soccer in Canada we are proud of the steps we’ve made, and friendships built, to establish ourselves as a truly independent source of Canadian-focused soccer content. The Gold Cup issue signals change for the Men’s National Team, as by the time you read this, a new head coach may have been named. Already we are seeing a changing of the guard, and on page 19 Kamal Hylton looks at the landscape across the country that is breeding a generation of players we’ve never seen before. As noted in issue one, a function of ABoot is to also re-expose some features that are lost to the archives. One of the best articles ever published was in 2010 when we ran our 10-year Gold Cup Anniversary series, with interviews, features, columns but most importantly a recount of the tournament from the only reporter to have been at the tournament the entire time, Norm Da Costa. A new feature that will appear in ABoot as well will be a media spotlight, looking at some of the integral people who cover the sport in Canada. Armen Bedakian sat down with James Sharman, known from his time at The Score’s Footy Show, and now with Sportsnet. James shares his background getting into the soccer media in Canada and changing landscape of the industry over the last few years. With that we hope you enjoy the second issue of ABoot and as always we greatly appreciate your support.

Vol. 1 No. 2 PUBLISHER

Ian Clarke ianc@rednationonline.ca

CO-PUBLISHERS

Rick Evangelista ricke@rednationonline.ca Steve Bottjer steveb@rednationonline.ca

EDITORIAL

Armen Bedakian armenb@rednationonline.ca Kevin Duarte kevind@rednationonline.ca Matthew Low mattl@rednationonline.ca Kamal Hylton kamalhylton@gmail.com

COVER

Paul Marhue marhue@gmail.com

DESIGN

Ian Clarke

HAVOC 88 HAVOC 88

Opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors.  A Boot and Havoc 88 Inc. accept no liability for information contained herein.  All rights reserved.  Contents may not be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

18 Stafford Street, Suite 916 Toronto, ON, M5V 3W4 www.rednationonline.ca All contents copyright © Havoc 88 Inc.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Heritage Canadian Periodical Fund - Business Innovation.

Ian Clarke - Publisher

Nous reconnaissons l’appui financier du gouvernement du Canada par l’entremise du ministère du Patrimoine canadian ‘Canadian Periodical Fund - Business Innovation’.

ianc@rednationonline.ca Twitter @ClarkeRNO

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CONTENTS

14 16

CAN C OLI N MILLER MOTIVATE CANADA TO SURPRISE?

GROUP A PREVIEW A look at Martinique, Mexico and Panama, how Canada will match up, as well as their key players.

19

TURNING A PAGE TOWARDS YOUTH Kamal Hylton looks at the landscape in Canada and the future of the National Team.

THE ARCHIVES - YES WE BELIEVE 21 FROM Norm Da Costa’s look back on Canada’s historic 2000 Gold Cup win.

6 MLS MI D-Y EAR RE VIE W

11

7

9

MO NTRE A L

VAN C OUV ER

TORO NTO

Kevin Duarte gives much credit to head coach Marco Schällibaum for the Impact’s impressive start to the 2013 season.

Matthew Low’s review is buoyed by the Whitecaps recent surge and impressive play from Miller, Camilo, Teibert and Reo-Coker.

Armen Bedakian tries to keep it positive as TFC continue to struggle, but there is hope for the second half of the season they might improve.

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ME D IA SPOTLI G HT

JA MES SHA RMA N Sitting in the familiar four-chair-and-a-table set up of Sportsnet’s Soccer Central studio, James Sharman took time out of his day to talk with RedNation Online’s ABoot Magazine. In this exclusive interview, we chat about Sharman’s early career, the evolution of The Score, and the role of media in Toronto’s soccer scene.

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MONTREAL

VANCOUVER

MID-YEAR

TORONTO

REVIEW

With the 2013 Gold Cup underway in early July, thus marks the midpoint of the MLS season. For the three Canadian clubs, there have been a few surprises along the way to get us to where we are now. The Montreal Impact have emerged as a top side in the league in only their second season. Vancouver has done well of late to maintain their position as Western Conference playoff contenders. Lastly, Toronto FC are firmly rooted where many expected at the beginning of the year, which is near the bottom of the table. We are looking back on the first half of the season, the highs and lows for each team, the best player from each side, and look ahead to the final half of the year and what is needed to either maintain, or improve, positions in the table. A BOOT

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Extremely confident by July, the Impact are en route to surpassing their goals for 2013 By Kevin Duarte Email: kevind@rednationonline.ca Twitter: @DuarteK27

MONTREAL The Montreal Impact are full of confidence as they near the midway point of the 2013 Major League Soccer season. Everything seems to be going right for the league’s youngest side. The Impact are currently leaders of the Eastern Conference and have a player with the most goals in the league. Montreal also recaptured the Voyageurs Cup as winners of the Canadian Championship back in May. Not many would have predicted this halfway through the season. New manager, Marco Schällibaum, has adapted quickly to the league and his new club. Montreal’s new signings have also all been performing and the product on the field is leading to results.

roster seems to know their roles and things are moving like clockwork during games. There are plenty of individual high points to choose from. The team’s win over rivals Toronto FC 6-0 in their second leg of the Canadian Championship semi-finals has to be one. The championship victory itself can also be another and so can Marco Di Vaio’s play which has been phenomenal. He’s scored in almost every match he’s appeared in.

High Point of the first half The Impact’s high point definitely has to be the team’s positive results. Each match, three points are usually expected, regardless if they’re playing at home or on the road.

Low Point of the first half Result wise, the Impact’s lowest point was between March 30 and April 24. In this span, the club was winless in three matches. Montreal first lost to Sporting Kansas City on the road, drew the Columbus Crew at home and then lost to Toronto FC in the first leg of the Canadian Championship semi-final. The loss to Kansas City snapped the Impact’s 4-0-0 start to the season.

Montreal has been stringing wins together and as a result is among the league’s top teams at the moment. Coach Schällibaum has the team playing to dominate possession, attack quickly with numbers and defend by dropping almost every man behind the ball. Each player on the

Another low point has to be injuries. Every week, players seem to be picking up knocks and are forced to miss some action. There’s been nothing major yet; captain Davy Arnaud has missed significant time with a concussion and Nelson Rivas has yet to see the pitch.

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MONTREAL IMPACT

Potential Player Signings Based on results and player performances, there’s really not much Montreal needs add to its squad. The Impact have depth and are covered in nearly all parts of the pitch. In goal, Troy Perkins and Evan Bush are both reliable and each capable of stepping up when needed. At the back, everything is fine. Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Hassoun Camara and Jeb Brovsky have all been playing great. The midfield has a nice balance of inside and outside players. Felipe and Patrice Bernier have been phenomenal at center midfield. There’s depth in regards to outside midfielders. Up front, Di Vaio and Daniele Paponi have been leading the charge. Andrew Wenger comes off the bench regularly and makes a decent contribution. If the Impact had to buy someone, another good striker could be what the team needs.

Goals for Second Half Judging by how the team has performed, winning the Eastern Conference and making a good run in the playoffs should be the Impact’s league goals for the second half of the season. Their next goal will be to progress from the Champions League group which includes the San Jose Earthquakes and Guatemalan side Desportivo Heredia. In order for Montreal to accomplish these goals, the team must keep similar tactics for the remaining games. Whatever Schällibaum seems to be doing, it is working. He has the team playing fairly attractive football that is able to generate positive results for the club. The Impact are in good position to continue thriving this season. They currently control their own destiny.

Player of the First Half It’s hard to select just one player, but there’s no denying Marco Di Vaio has been influential so far this season. The first Impact designated player is leading the MLS in goals. Montreal’s attack has been mainly successful due to Di Vaio. He is constantly finding the back of the net each and every match. Di Vaio does this by creating space for himself or running onto through balls. Last season, the Italian struggled to adapt to his new surroundings. This season, Di Vaio wasted no time getting going. He is linking up well with his strike partner, outside midfielders and central midfielders. More importantly, he is always creating chances and is finishing most of them. Honourable mentions: Patrice Bernier, Matteo Ferrari, Troy Perkins, Justin Mapp, Jeb Brovsky Photo: The Associated Press

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After rocky start to the season, the Whitecaps have surged to a solid position in the table By Matthew Low Email: mlow1991@gmail.com Twitter: @LowMatthewJ

VANCOUVER It wouldn’t be a Whitecaps season without some questionable transfers, disappointing defeats, and a few thrilling comebacks. Just weeks ago, rumblings of a coaching change cast a dark light against what was expected to be a successful season. Now those hopes have been rekindled, as Vancouver reestablishes themselves as Western Conference contenders. Though for every shortcoming that’s been had this season, there are signs for optimism. Nigel Reo-Coker has been a revelation in midfield. Camilo has regained the prolific form that made him one of Vancouver’s best player’s in their inaugural season. There may be a few kinks to iron out and a few more stumbles along the way, but the Vancouver Whitecaps are well upon the route to more success. High point of the first half Enter match day 14 for Vancouver: a date at home with the New England Revolution. Hopes for the match were already pretty low with a makeshift defense in place due to injuries and the Rochat deal. Fears concerning the backline became a reality early on as the Revs would score two goals within 20 minutes. And then, possibly the turning point of Vancouver’s season, all thanks to Andrew A BOOT

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Farrell. His foul on Kenny Miller leading to a red-card sparked a four-goal outburst from Vancouver, including two brilliant individual efforts from Miller to complete a 4-3 comeback over New England. It was thrilling to watch, but more importantly it righted what was surely a sinking ship and put the team back on course. Low point from first half With much of the season still to play, it’s likely that nothing will come close to May 29th’s draw against the Montreal Impact; a result that left the Whitecaps runners-up in the Canadian Championship for the fifth straight time. The twin-headed beast of Vancouver’s weaknesses – inability to extend a lead and poor set-piece defense – reared its ugly head yet again. Giving up one-goal leads on two separate occasions is poor; conceding the game winner off a corner with just minutes remaining is appalling; to have both happen against a Canadian rival in a championship game is downright heartbreaking. And somehow Vancouver managed to accomplish all that, in what will historically be one of the franchise’s darkest moments.

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VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

Potential Player Signings It’s astonishing how easily a team’s needs change. Just six months ago, Vancouver arguably had one of the league’s deepest defenses. Experienced center backs Jay DeMerit and Andy O’Brien backed by young, but well-studied defenders Johnny Leveron and Brad Rusin formed a formidable core. Flanked by Alain Rochat and Y.P. Lee, with Jordan Harvey and Greg Klazura on the wings for support and you not only had a deep defense, but a strong one to boot. Though it would be nice, maybe even prudent to acquire another centre back to support what they already have, it’s likely that Vancouver is content to simply wait out their injuries at the position in which case a fullback should be the main priority. Nigel Reo-Coker did play at right back against D.C. United, but that change should be limited to emergencies.

Goals for the Second Half It’s quite simple for the Whitecaps. Make the playoffs again. In that, there are really only two ‘sub-goals’ both of which were alluded to earlier: Extend and hold leads. Vancouver is already on the right track with this, having scored more than one goal in six of their last seven league matches. Yet in three of those games, they allowed a goal in the last ten minutes of the match resulting in a draw and loss; a total of five points dropped. The Whitecaps cannot be a top team if they continue to let mistakes like these happen to them. Defend the cross/set-piece. One of the most baffling aspects of Vancouver’s game. It’s a problem that’s persisted ever since they’ve entered the league, and one they’ve been unable to solve. Doing so would fix a major hole in the team’s overall play.

Player of the First Half Canvas any number of Whitecaps fans, and it’s likely you’d receiving a variety of opinions of who’s been Vancouver’s best player of the first half. Captain Kenny Miller has had a good number of man of the match performances. Camilo continues to impress, in what has been a comeback season of sorts. And of course, there is Canadian Soccer Jesus, a.k.a. Russell Teibert who has finally announced his presence to big leagues. And yet you’re likely to hear Nigel Reo-Coker’s name mentioned quite a bit, maybe more often than any other. He’s been the outspoken veteran we’d hoped Barry Robson would be; but in a way that Robson could never match. The 28-year-old has been influential all over the pitch. He’s been a mentor to the younger players, and held the team accountable when they met expectations. He’s done everything from chasing down possession, to pushing play forward and creating chances. He’s been Vancouver’s midfield marshal, and if he continues like this, he’ll march them onto success.

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Constant change in the roster has kept TFC from gaining any momentum By Armen Bedakian Email: armenb@rednationonline.ca Twitter: @ArmenBedakian

TORONTO FC The first half of Toronto FC’s 2013 season can be summed up in one word: change. From top to bottom, Toronto FC has undergone changes that have given the club a new image, a new roster of players and yet another coaching structure. Robert Earnshaw earned a spot up top, Jonathan Osorio emerged, and Ryan Nelsen turned Toronto FC into a competitive roster lacking naught but results. Late game collapses plagued the first half of the season, and many points were robbed from the club after the 90-minute mark, but Ryan Nelsen and Kevin Payne’s plan is in full motion, and the changes made in the first half of the season are a testament to that plan. High Point of the First Half In terms of results, Toronto FC suffered much the same as last season, giving away needless goals and conceding late on to lose or draw winnable games. However, the high point of the first half of the season has to be the 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City in the Rogers Centre. It was a game that Toronto FC had no business winning, and with a new cast of characters in red, many fans simply didn’t know what to expect from their team. However, Earnshaw stepped up, scored twice, and TFC

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defended well, enough to take all three points from a tough Kansas City side. A close second is the emergence of Jonathan Osorio, the young Torontonian who made his way to the club after spending time in Uruguay. His goals and presence on the field have been a real treat to watch for Toronto FC! Low Point of the First Half There’s only one real low point, and it happened in Montreal. With the Amway Canadian Championship title on the line, and the Montreal Impact flying high in league standings, Toronto FC took a 2-0 advantage from BMO Field to Quebec and ended up blowing it completely. A 6-0 loss to the Impact not only saw Toronto FC lose to their bitter rivals, but it also knocked Toronto FC out of the Canadian Championships and prevented the club from winning the fifth Voyageurs Cup in a row. Montreal went on to win the tournament and will represent Canada in the CONCACAF Champions League, another blow for Toronto FC supporters. Other notable moments include the slew of last-minute goals Toronto conceded, such as the goal(s) against the Philadelphia Union, as well as the departure of Eric Hassli.

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TORONTO FC Potential Player Signings Toronto FC’s primary needs are in the offensive end, and that’s an area Payne and co. are looking to address. The return of Danny Koevermans is almost like a new signing for the club, but Toronto FC still need a really strong winger and an attacking midfielder to supply Koevermans and Earnshaw consistently. Retaining Caldwell has been key in the defensive end, and the centre of midfield looks okay, so Toronto can now switch focus and search for a young attacking Designated Player who can contribute straight away. The Danny Califf story will be an important one for Toronto FC, as well as the potential departures of players like Stefan Frei. Rumours of Maximiliano Urruti from Argentina – as well as a “best in MLS” quality player – have been circulating, and the summer transfer window promises to be a busy one for Toronto FC.

Goals for the Second Half Nelsen’s goal will be filling out the roster and building his team, but the expectations for this season need to be simple and doable. That being said, Toronto FC’s main goal for the second half of the season needs to be in the numbers. Simply put, the results need to start matching the quality on the field. That means limiting the late collapses, scoring consistently, keeping more clean sheets and, most importantly, picking up points and wins. It’s still a process, and it looks like this year is yet another rebuilding year for the club, but with no CONCACAF Champions League to play for, Toronto FC needs to perform in the league and finish the season out of the basement – any place besides last will be a marked improvement and that’s what Toronto need to aim for.

Player of the First Half Even though Toronto FC have many new faces, such as Matias Laba, Steven Caldwell, Osorio and Earnshaw, it is Jeremy Hall who earns the nod for Toronto FC’s Player of the First Half. Appearances: 15 league games, 15 starts. Goals: One goal, against the Houston Dynamo. Position: Converted from right fullback to defensive midfielder. Best trait: Defensive distributor – Hall can recover the ball and link up with other players. Jeremy Hall became a surprise inclusion on the team sheet at the start of the season but his role in midfield has gone undisputed. His performances alongside Laba have been competent, and while Hall isn’t the flashiest player on the field, he is one of the most effective. He’s exactly the type of player Toronto sports fans love, too – hard working, good head on his shoulders, and not afraid of a tackle! Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images North America

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CAN MILLER MOTIVATE CANADA TO SURPRISE? Despite this year’s Gold Cup falling at the time when traditionally national teams send their weaker sides due to World Cup Qualifying, Canada are still going to have a serious challenge ahead of them to get out of Group A. Even though CONCACAF has amended the rule for qualifying for the Confederations Cup, that being the winners of the 2013 and 2015 Gold Cups will face off to determine the entrant, most national teams have still held back their best players. Canada is in a position where World Cup Qualifying is not an issue, however, several names of note are not part of this year’s Gold Cup Roster. A handful of players are in the midst of finding new contracts and the likes of Atiba Hutchinson and Andre Hainault decided to pass on playing in the tournament for fear of risking injury with their domestic club status still in limbo. Lucas Cavallini is another name many were excited to see but has returned from loan back to Nacional in Uruguay and looks keen to focus on gaining a spot at his club side. A few other names Canada supporters were used to seeing also will not be suiting up, such as Dwayne De Rosario and Patrice Bernier. Both have done well in MLS and are key to the success of both DC United and the Montreal Impact, however, interim head coach Colin Miller has decided to feature and call up a younger group of players. Miller is now on his third stint with the national team as interim head coach this year. He first came in January to see the side through a difficult 4-0 loss to Denmark, but followed that up with a redeeming display against the United States in a 0-0 draw. A second return to the sidelines at the end of May in a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica made him the logical choice to continue in his role as the CSA has been unable to find a permanent head coach to take over the senior team. A BOOT

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KEY PLAYERS FOR CANADA

Milan Borjan - GK

Will Johnson - M

Simeon Jackson - ST

Canada’s only keeper starting week in, week out in a top league, Borjan will be essential between the posts if Canada are to hang in with Mexico and Panama. With one year left on his contract, a strong showing in the tournament will go a long way in securing his future upwards at a European club.

The Portland Timber’s captain has always been a reliable midfielder in MLS but this season he has taken it to another level, having already scored 6 goals. A true professional, Johnson’s attitude is required for the national team to move forward and his leadership in the midfield will be critical in the tournament.

Jackson is a player who has always been able to score in the biggest games, but has yet to do that at the international level. Currently without a club, this could be a big opportunity to regain momentum lost this past year at Norwich City. Canada has been poor at scoring in recent years and Jackson will need to remedy that.

Mexico is clearly the class of the group, even though they are missing the majority of their big names and are solely comprised of LIGA MX players. Panama has also held back a few of their key starters who have been involved in World Cup Qualifying, but given the history of these two teams going back to the last Gold Cup, it will also be extremely tough. Colin Miller’s biggest challenge might actually come from the opening match. Martinique will likely be seen as just another Caribbean minnow, however, Canada has struggled against what should be inferior nations, as seen in the 2011 tournament with their uninspiring 1-0 win over Guadeloupe. Getting off on the right foot is imperative to a successful tournament and Martinique are a country who are not a part of FIFA and as a result have been able to call up France-born players who have not played for the national team in five years. A BOOT

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The schedule will prove difficult as anything other than a win in the first game could unravel the entire tournament, make it extremely hard to recover, and hinder any potential at the knockout stage. Getting a win against Martinique is essential, will likely follow up with a tough game against Mexico, potentially leaving the final game, once again, requiring a result against Panama. Canada’s most glaring deficiency right now, and in truth has been a weakness for some time, is scoring. The 2011 tournament failure came down to goals, and this year’s Gold Cup will likely be the same story if Miller cannot find a way to get his attack finding the back of the net. Simeon Jackson leads this side in scoring, with 6 goals in red and white, and he will be someone who needs to rediscover his touch after a disappointing season with Norwich City where he saw limited time on the pitch. It may come down to his support rising up as the likes of Will Johnson, Russell Teibert, Jonathan Osorio, Randy Edwini-Bonsu and Kevin Aleman are all good finishers and if given the chance and could be Canada’s best chance at getting out of Group A.  NEXT: Canada’s Group A opposition

Canada has been drawn into Group A with the likes of Martinique, Mexico and Panama. At first glance the ranking of who Canada’s toughest opposition is seems obvious, but in reality this group is going to be extremely difficult and there are no guarantees they will get into the knockout stage, even via the two third place spots available.

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MARTINIQUE

Sunday, July 7 - 5:30 pm ET, 2:30 pm PT Rose Bowl, Pasadena

As has been seen in past tournaments, Martinique offers unique opposition in the fact they are not a member of FIFA. What this means is that as members of CONCACAF, Martinique can call up any Frenchman to play as long as they have not played for France in the last five years. Having made the Gold Cup for the first time since 2003, Martinique now have good reason to exercise that clause and a handful of Franceborn players have been named to their roster. Two players of note are Spain’s Sporting Gijon centre back Gregory Arnolin and Notts County striker Yoann Arquin. Arquin recently was part of PSG’s B team and has drawn comparisons to Nicholas Anelka. Canada has struggled against sides that should be considered as Caribbean minnows, as seen through World Cup Qualifying, but specifically in the 2011 Gold Cup against Guadeloupe. This is another side who despite having little tradition of success in the region cannot be taken lightly if Canada are to start the group stage off on the right foot.

Player to watch: Frédéric Piquienne - Striker Despite his birthplace of New Caledonia being recognized by FIFA, Piquienne played for Martinique in 2003, and after having a solid club career in France with Stade Rennais, Saint-Etienne and Monaco, played one game for the France National Team in 2007. Five years later, after his only appearance, Martinique came calling and after spells with Lyon, Portsmouth and West Ham United, Piquienne is now in MLS with the Portland Timbers. He was key in Martinique reaching the Gold Cup, scoring two goals in the Carribbean Championship and with a fourth place finish, helped secure them a place in the tournament. A BOOT

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MEXICO

Thursday, July 11 - 11:00 pm ET, 8:00 pm PT Century Link Field, Seattle

Despite the 23-man roster having little senior team experience at the international level, this is a group of Mexicans who have plenty of games under their belt at the domestic level, regardless of age. Across the roster it is not uncommon to see the younger players with well over 100 Liga MX matches to their credit. There are not many big names, or experienced international players, as everyone is coming from the Primera Division, but some talented ones who recently were part of the U23 and U20 set up. The last two-tothree years of the U23 program was highly impressive for Mexico as they won everything they were involved in and now have a generation of players who will be ones to watch for the future. This side has six players from the Olympic gold medal winning team, and some solid players such as Javier Orozco, and Rafael Lugo who netted 14 goals for Guadalajara this past season. Without question this is Canada’s toughest opponent, and likely still favourites to reach the finals of tournament. The only advantage might be size as this is Mexican team with few players standing near or above 6’. Technique can make up for that though and Colin Miller will need to be shrewd in his approach to the game in order to keep it competitive and ensure whatever the result, Canada is in a confident state heading into their final group game.

Player to watch: Marco Fabian - Attacker The 23-year old had an impressive two years playing for Mexico’s U23 side who ended up winning the 2012 Toulon Tournament and Olympic Gold medal. Canadians will remember him scoring the opening goal in the Olympic Qualifying semi-finals, which was one of his fifteen in twenty appearances for the team over this period. A product of Guadalajara, the only team he’s ever played for, Fabian is trying to become a fixture with the national side and will be key to their success in this year’s Gold Cup. A BOOT

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PANAMA

Sunday, July 14 - 6:30pm ET, 3:30 pm PT Sports Authority Field, Denver

They say familiarity breed contempt, and over the last two years, Panama likely has slotted in right behind Honduras amongst Canada supporters as most hated opposition. It is a bit of a cruel coincidence that two tournaments in a row Canada’s fate in the group stage might come down to the final match against Panama. While some countries look to be taking their foot off the pedal in this tournament, Panama has kept many of familiar faces Canada stood on the field against in World Cup Qualifying. They will be without defensive anchor Felipe Baloy, tricky midfielder Armando Cooper and attacker Luis Tejada. However, both goalscorers from their last encounter in September 2012 are part of the roster in Blas Perez and Rolando Blackburn, as are six other starters from that game. Where Canada stands by this point of the group stage could be fighting for that third place position to move into the knockout round. This will likely come off the heels of a tough match against Mexico and Canada’s character will be tested in this fixture.

Player to watch: Blas Perez - Striker Aside from keeper Jaime Penedo, Perez falls in as Panama’s most experienced player on the roster. A huge part of getting them through the third round of World Cup Qualifying, Perez has been a solid member of the national team for years. Despite being called up since 2001, his 29 goals have all come in the last six years, and seven of them in the Gold Cup. Having bounced around South America and Mexico for the better part of a decade, he’s settled in with FC Dallas in MLS where he’s lead them in scoring this season with 5 goals so far and contributed to their resurgence in the Western Conference. A BOOT

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Canadian Men’s National Team

Turning a Page towards Youth By Kamal Hylton

When looking at the state of Canadian Soccer, and more specifically the Canadian Men’s National Team program, it now finds itself at a crossroad. It is a critical point in time where important decisions must be made both in the rebuilding of the program and rethinking of youth development both domestically and internationally. Taking a look at Canadian Soccer one can see a trend where it will be less of a fishing expedition of finding relative unknowns playing abroad, and begin moving more towards leagues like the North American Soccer League, professional academy set ups, youth national teams and the Canadian Championship (a.k.a Voyageurs Cup) being chief resource for breading and cultivating talent. When looking how the NASL has already had a positive impact on Canada at youth levels, look no further than FC Edmonton who have set the gold standard. A good portion of players have A BOOT

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Photos courtesy of CanadaSoccer

either made a name for themselves or are just beginning to rise onto the scene. The most notable name has been midfielder Shaun Saiko who has cemented himself as a star within the league. The growth of some of his teammates this season under head coach Colin Miller, such as forwards Michael Cox and Sadi Jalali, as well as Canada’s standout star in U-17 World Cup qualifying in midfielder Hanson Boakai, makes for a clear sign of progress and will only help build a solid talent pool to draw on for years to come. It will be interesting to see the route that the newest Canadian side to join the NASL in Ottawa Fury FC will take. Club president John Pugh has recently made the first hire in head coach Marc Dos Santos, someone with a large knowledge base when it comes to youth development, both within Canada and internationally having previously coach in the Montreal Impact system and most recently is JULY 2013

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Turning a page towards youth

coming off a post as U15 coach of Brazilian club Palmeiras where he led them to the 2012 Brazilian Youth Championships. With concrete efforts being made to possibly bring a third NASL side to join to Canada, and the city of Calgary, it will only see more opportunities for the growth of the sport in the country and a high level league for more Canadian players to aspire toward. The Canadian U-17 National Team making it to its second consecutive FIFA World Cup under head coach Sean Fleming, to be played in October in the United Arab Emirates, is a major building block. It allows players to get significant international experience at a young age with the additional benefit of helping get more eyes on Canadian players from international scouts and top-level clubs/leagues. Taking a look back at the 2011 edition of the tournament in Mexico City, this is the springboard that helped eventually lead players like Keven Aleman and Michael Petrasso to secure professional contracts to Spanish side Real Valladolid and English club Queens Park Rangers respectively. It also putting goalkeepers Maxime Crepeau (even though he suffered a knee injury in the opening match against Uruguay) and Quillan Roberts (scoring the infamous long range goal against England) as well as the aforementioned forward Sadi Jalali on the map domestically with Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and FC Edmonton.

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This time around the players like midfielders Hanson Boakai and Marco Bustos, forward Jordan Hamilton and goalkeeper/captain Marco Carducci will be the key players going forward, continuing to progress as Canadian Soccer moves into a new direction. All of them had notable performances and to potentially get the chance to play against the likes of Brazil, Italy, Argentina and Japan will be a positive learning experience.   Leading into the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the roster announcement by interim head coach Colin Miller and technical director Tony Fonseca has further signaled the intent of the Canadian Men’s program from this point forward, closing the book on the on the old guard and transitioning into a youth movement. Familiar names in Atiba Hutchinson, Kevin McKenna, Dwayne De Rosario and Patrice Bernier have not been called up for a variety of reasons, allowing for the Gold Cup to be the first true opportunity for this young crop of players to stake its claim and use the platform as a spring board for their domestic and international careers. 

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

YES WE BELIEVE

“The United States has already laid claim to the Miracle on Ice after its hockey team’s Olympic victory in 1980. Now it is Canada’s turn to talk about the Miracle on Grass.” By Norm Da Costa

That was the opening paragraph of my piece under the heading “Holger’s Heroes” in the Toronto Star’s Monday, February 28 edition 10 years ago. The package also carried a half-page photograph of Mark Watson, Jason de Vos and Jeff Clarke celebrating what I, and many experts, believe stands out as the greatest moment in the history of soccer in this country. The Star, realizing the importance of this unexpected triumph, trumpeted “Canada strikes gold” with a deck that said “Stunning Interior photos courtesy of CanadaSoccer

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victory in Gold Cup puts team on soccer map’’ on its front page. This wrapup included another account of the game and a photograph of Jimmy Brennan, de Vos and David Xausa whooping it up. Local soccer accomplishment capturing the black line on the front page of Canada’s largest daily? Sure that came as a surprise for soccer fans who are normally forced to thumb through the back pages of the sports section to get their fill of the world’s most popular sport.

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Yes, it did happen 10 years ago. Other newspapers across the country also splashed the conquest on their front pages. Both television and radio stations as well gave the team the credit it richly deserved. It was refreshing to see the usual suspects at the time – Pat Quinn and his Leafs and Vince Carter and his Raptors – relegated to the back pages. Bank on February shocks For Canadians and the soccer world this feat was as stunning as James Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson to win the heavyweight title 20 years ago this month in Tokyo . . . or as astonishing as the Americans striking gold at Lake Placid in 1980. That came 30 years ago and also in February. Upsets and February obviously go hand in hand. Few Canadian fans made the long trek to sunny California for obvious reasons, but I managed to twist the arm of my boss Steve Tustin that I should be sent to assess coach Holger Osieck’s first big assignment after replacing Bobby Lenarduzzi in 1999.

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Osieck had come to Canada armed with a glowing resume – assistant coach to Franz Beckenbauer when Germany won the World Cup in 1990. Great credentials, but how would he fare with a team that lacked worldclass stars? Tustin agreed on the condition I take the first flight home after the first round as Canada was widely expected to be a punching bag for Costa Rica, one of the CONCACAF heavyweights, and South Korea, a two-time Asian champion and a country that has made it to seven World Cup finals. The Koreans, Peru and Colombia were invited guests. On my arrival in San Diego, a week before the kickoff, the first thing that struck me was that Osieck ruled with an iron fist. Play it by my rules or you are out was his mantra. How tough was he? He told superstar-to-be Brad Parker a day after the team’s arrival that he would not be required. The 20-year-old had just signed a lucrative deal with Dutch club Feyenoord and then waffled about joining the Canadian squad.

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“He does not have the right attitude for a young player and the chapter on him is now closed,’’ Osieck told me and he stayed true to his word through his tenure as Canada’s coach. He couldn’t announce this decision to any other media types as I was the only reporter “embedded” with the team as they call those covering the “war” in Afghanistan. I was later joined by CP and a reporter from CTV Sportsnet. A year before, Osieck had put the boot to Tomas Radzinski after the star striker refused to leave his Belgian club Anderlecht for Gold Cup qualifying matches. Canada tossed in, Korea flips out The Canucks opened their campaign at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium against highflying Costa Rica and pulled off a superb 2-2 tie. The 6-foot-5 Craig Forrest was at his brilliant best, thwarting the South Americans time and time again. Some of his saves came off his West Ham teammate Paulo Wanchope, who couldn’t believe the incredible stops Forrest made. “The only difference in this game was that we could not beat this magnificent goalkeeper,’’ offered Costa Rica’s coach Marvin Rodriguez. At the other end, Northampton Town’s Carlo Corazzin showed his class by netting both of Canada’s goals, the second on a beautiful bicycle kick. Then it was off to Los Angeles and the cavernous Los Angeles Coliseum where Canada played to a goalless tie with South Korea. Two points from two games and still in with a chance. A BOOT

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Costa Rica and South Korea also played to a 2-2 tie and the only way to break this logjam was a coin toss in the early hours of Feb. 17. It was around 12.30 a.m. when CONCACAF secretary general Chuck Blazer produced a shiny American quarter and called on Osieck and South Korea’s Huh Jung-Moo to witness this toss in a crowded press tent. Huh was given first choice presumably because he was coach of an invited team. Heads, called Huh as the coin dropped into Blazer’s big sweaty hand. Tails it was and I joined the boys to the nearest pub for some fun. But I had to first file a blurb Canada had made it to the quarters. It wasn’t that easy though. The lights went out at the Coliseum and that meant no elevator service to the very top floor. Managed to grab somebody’s cell phone and relayed the good news. The blurb made just a few thousand copies as it was way past our deadline. Osieck, meanwhile, in the hotel pub recalled that he had previously won one and lost another toss in his coaching career. The loss, he says, happened during the 1987 under-16 World Cup tournament in Toronto when his German team was tossed out by Italy.

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“Till this day I remember that,’’ said Osieck, “because I called correctly, but the organizers wanted Italy to go through because of their popularity in Toronto. Somehow that coin played some trick and for that I was not going to take my eye off that coin this time.’’ Korea headed home while Canada and Costa Rica moved ahead. Bring on Mexico The betting was that perennial CONCACAF powerhouse Mexico, unbeaten in this tournament since 1993, would finally end Canada’s Cinderella run on Feb. 20 in San Diego.

did an excellent job. This all helped to bond this team into one happy family. There was a certain swagger in the walk of these Canadians after that Mexico triumph. They had jelled as a team and oozing with confidence, thanks to Osieck making sure that they could mix pleasure with work. “There is a certain arrogance on this team,’’ said Corazzin. “Previously we went on the field thinking we were also-rans. Now Holger has instilled in us that we can beat anyone.’’

But the underdog Canadians had other thoughts. Before a relatively small crowd of 18,062 young Richard Hastings struck a thunderbolt of a shot in the third minute of extra time for a 2-1 upset. One couldn’t even call this a fluke as Canada took it to the Mexicans after being outplayed in the first half. Carlo Corazzin headed in the equalizer, his third goal in three games, to send the game into OT. I coined the term Holger’s Heroes after the television show Hogan’s Heroes following this win. Now it was time to party and the entire squad did so for two full days late into the night. There was beer galore and card games. I think Mark Watson and Craig Forrest had their pockets picked, while, if my memory is correct, the up-and-coming star in the making Dwayne de Rosario fleeced us all. Forrest, Watson, Peschisolido and Brennan were the men in charge of the festivities and

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While thrilled by this run, their professional clubs wondered what happened to them as they were expected to be home in a week. Captain Jason de Vos was wanted back by his Scottish club Dundee for an FA Cup encounter and West Ham made arrangements to have Craig Forrest board a flight immediately after

“The only person I talk to in Toronto is my wife,’’ said Osieck. The request for credentials from Canadian media suddenly soared and there was a huge smirk on the faces of Canadian Soccer Association officials as they were now assured of some incredible publicity across the country.

While thrilled by this run, their professional clubs wondered what happened to them as they were expected to be home in a week... But little did the clubs know that the Canadians were in no mood to swap California sunshine for British and European winter.

the Mexico game. He would arrive at Heathrow after a 10-hour journey at 10 a.m. and be expected to suit up at 3 p.m. against Everton. Forrest was urgently required as first-team goalkeeper Shaka Hislop had broken his leg. Paul Stalteri, Corazzin, Brennan, Mark Watson, Hastings, Paul Peschisolido and Garret Kusch were among the others wanted by their clubs. But little did the clubs know that the Canadians were in no mood to swap California sunshine for British and European winter. The win over Mexico also saw Osieck deluged by telephone calls from Canadian media and the BBC. The red light on Osieck’s phone kept blinking but he wasn’t going to return any media queries.

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On to the semis The question on everyone’s mind: Will Dwight Yorke be back to spearhead Trinidad and Tobago’s attack against Canada in the semis? The $30 million (U.S.) striker had been summoned back by Manchester United to suit up for a Premiership game against Leeds United. His price tag was double that of Canada’s entire 18-man squad. But Canada was on a roll and whether Yorke was in the lineup or not wouldn’t matter. A confident Osieck told a press conference that he had no plans to shadow the striker. Yorke did not return and Canada won 1-0 on Mark Watson’s header in the 68th minute. Once again, Craig Forrest was the saviour with superlative stops. Stacks, as he is called by his teammates, made some mindboggling saves JULY 2013

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and once again that red defensive wall of Jason de Vos, Mark Watson and Tony Menezes came up big. Canada’s next opponent and for all the marbles would be Colombia, 2-1 winners over Peru in the other semi. Yes we believe With Craig Forrest enjoying a charmed life under that crossbar, could anybody burst Canada’s bubble? Colombia was ranked 24th in the world and Canada a lowly 85th. Rankings meant nothing to these Canadians since their arrival. It wasn’t going to bother them now. Colombia played fast, exciting soccer in the past three weeks with Faustino Asprilla, Hector Hurtado and Edwin Congo orchestrating the offence. But Canada completed their fairy-tale run with a 2-0 win on goals from Jason de Vos on the stroke of half time and a penalty conversion from Corazzin, his fourth, in the second half. Once again it was the towering Forrest who was exceptional. He also saved a penalty taken by Asprilla. Also take your hats off to Tony Menezes, de Vos and Mark Watson. It was also a joy to watch youngsters Jeff Clarke, Paul Stalteri, Richard Hastings, Jim Brennan and Martin Nash take control of the midfield. “Oh, Canada,” sighed FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

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Few may have noticed that the 6-foot-5 mountain of a man Craig Forrest overcome by happiness at the final whistle as tears flowed. Osieck made a beeline for his goalkeeper and gave him a huge hug. Even fewer may have known that Osieck was ejected from the bench for hurling some abuse at the officials in the second half. He stood by the tunnel and he then sprinted by officials and security to join his players in celebration. Golden Hurrahs This is a tournament Forrest will never forget ... and the players from South Korea, Costa Rica, Trinidad, Mexico and Colombia will never forget him either. “They won on merit,’’ said the head honcho. “I am so happy that this region has a new champion.’’ Cup honours flow Craig Forrest stood tall and imposing at one end. At the other end Carlo Corazzin slotted home the goals. Corazzin scored four to win the Golden Boot award and Forrest, as expected, was named MVP. Midfielder Richard Hastings collected the rookie of the tournament and skipper de Vos was handed the Fair Play Trophy. Forrest, de Vos and Corazzin were also picked for the all-star team. Every Canadian player, official and fan was overcome by emotion. I felt proud to be a Canadian because at every other Canadian international match, and I have covered a bunch, I usually had the grim task of reporting another loss or a tie.

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Tip of the hat to Holger Osieck, a classy coach who, in about 12 months at the helm, transformed Canada from a laughingstock to the best in this region. The ancient style of long ball and mindless pursuits by previous coaches was dumped and Osieck injected ball control and a short passing game. And he was not afraid of improvising as he went along. Osieck revamped the entire Canadian system, but for some reason things between him, the players and the CSA did not work out. At the Confederation Cup in Japan in 2001 some of the players complained to me that Osieck was being too harsh with them. But that was his style. It’s a crying shame that Osieck then resigned because Canada could have done with the services of this soccer genius. 

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R E D N AT I O N O N L I N E P O D C A S T S

A S T SOutside I D E of news, reports and columns, RedNation Online offers a series of podcasts STAND TorontoFC

UP

Podcast

delivering analysis and interviews on Canadian Soccer. Look for the PODCASTS section on the homepage on the right hand column, listing all the newest episodes available on www.rednationonline.ca

EPTEMBER 17, 2011 – TFC v COLORADO

LOOK FOR ANOTHER ADDITION TO THE RNO PODCASTS IN JULY 2013

E ASTS I DE S TA N D U P TorontoFC

Podcast

rednationonline.ca

E A S T S I D E S TA N D U P The only Toronto FC-specific podcast, East Side Stand Up is now heading into it’s fifth season of covering Canada’s first MLS team. The podcast provides post game analysis and discussion after every match the team plays, as well as episodes following the club through the off-season.

I NTE RVI EW S E R I E S/ I N S I D E TH E M LS RedNation’s longest running podcast, Interview Series & Inside the MLS provides questions and discussions for those who follow the sport closely. Each podcast appears bi-weekly, combined for each week, interviewing players and personalities in Canada and Major League Soccer.

E ASTS I DE S TA N D U P

REDNATION INTERVIEW SERIES

inside the i n t e r v i e w s

514 FC

514FC

RedNation’s first addition in 2013 covers the Montreal Impact. George Chudobey and Roberto Garcia go beyond the onfield displays from Montreal and discuss at length the going-ons with the Impact, both in the front office and the news.

FROM THE BLACK HOLE RedNation’s newest podcast covers the game of soccer in Canada, from a prairie perspective. Rob Notenboom, Jeff Salisbury and Lars Lowther discuss and debate all the news of soccer in Canada from coast to coast.

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MEDIA SPOTLIGHT

JAMES SHARMAN BY ARMEN BEDAKIAN

For soccer fans in Canada, James Sharman is a familiar face. Born in England and a life-long fan of Liverpool, Sharman established himself as a key voice in Canada’s soccer scene during a time before Major League Soccer gripped the nation. Sitting in the familiar four-chair-and-a-table set up of Sportsnet’s Soccer Central studio, James Sharman took time out of his day to talk with RedNation Online’s ABoot Magazine. In this exclusive interview, we chat about Sharman’s early career, the evolution of The Score, and the role of media in Toronto’s soccer scene.

RedNation (RNO): Let’s start things off with this: who is James Sharman? James Sharman (JS): “Who is James Sharman? James Sharman is someone that really wanted to play professional sports but wasn’t gifted with any talent whatsoever. Had the heart and the desire but never had the ability or the talent. So, the second choice was to get into sports broadcasting. It’s something I kind of stumbled upon really; I was at Ryerson, took media arts there and in my fourth year I knew I wanted to get into TV somehow. At

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the exact same time, Headline Sports, now The Score – soon to be Sportsnet 360 – was launching, so I kind of stumbled there, got an internship and found my way, once I got my feet wet, so to speak. Had no intention of being on air but this is the way it ended up. RNO: How old were you when you first moved to Toronto? JS: “I was 16, I moved here when I just turned 16, actually. I figured I’d do two years, then move back home again, and here I am now, 23 years later, and I’m still here.” JULY 2013

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RNO: Did you always want to do something in soccer or in media? JS: “Well, yeah, media in general. Soccer was my passion, rugby was huge for me as well, cricket, international sports, I love North American sports too. Certainly, you know, soccer was my natural inclination. At that point, TSN was around, Sportsnet was soon to launch, so the whole media landscape was very much in its infancy. There weren’t that many opportunities. It kind of exploded in the late 90s, and I guess I finished school at the right time and fell into it at just the right time.” RNO: Many of your followers know you because of The Footy Show podcast. How did that start? JS: “In 2007, The Score got the rights to the Premier League and it was a huge deal for us, so we had to rebrand and revamp the way we covered international sports. Up until that world, it was called Sports World, the show I basically created. We decided that we needed to go in a

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MED IA SPOTLI GHT

new direction, soccer only. Then, I pitched The Footy Show. That was all about being a crossplatform, 360 approach. So we had the show, we had the blog and at that time, podcasts were beginning to become quite popular. We thought we’ve got to jump on this while we can, while it’s hot, because no one’s doing it in this country yet, no one was, it’s just us, so we jumped on it.” “We soon found that this was our natural environment! We could bring in guys like Thomas Dobby, guys that weren’t necessarily on air, John Molinaro from Sportsnet as well, these guys that weren’t well known to the TV public but certainly knew their stuff. We realized that personality was the most important thing, and putting four or five guys in a room with some microphones was just like going to the pub with them and shooting the shit, quite frankly and conversing and having a lot of fun. We realized it’s a damn lot of fun and I think that came across.”

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RNO: What was your favourite part of producing those podcasts? JS: “The banter, simple as that! Going back and forth at each other, hammering [Brandon] Dunlop, you know, me and [Kristen Jack] got into some pretty good debates over the years, and really, not being structured. TV is so structured, and it’s great, but you very much have to conform to the line up, and you can’t really go outside the lines too much, whereas in a podcast it’s a free-for-all, ‘alright boys, here’s the line up today, if we get to all those topics today, great, if not, I don’t care, let’s see where it takes us.’ We might start talking about Manchester United and then five minutes we’ve been talking our favourite flavour of ice cream, but who cares, right? It was that, just going back and forth, like guys do, the locker room mentality, and I loved it.”

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RedNation Online-type people. They didn’t know what it was, but the timing was perfect because David Beckham at the same time, and this hype, this big wave, this tsunami of football fever really came to North America, just this perfect storm, so to speak – it’s a lot of metaphors in there, I’m sorry! – People realized, ‘wait, this is actually a really fun thing to do. Let’s go down there, sing, drink some beers.” “There were young Canadian guys and girls, not just the old ex-pats. I thought it would be full of the ex-pats, and they are there, but the soul of that club is young Canadian people and I thought that was a bigger surprise to me, and I thought it was outstanding.”

RNO: It also helped that you each had your favourite teams! JS: “Exactly! We didn’t support the same teams, and very real cross sections. You had myself, Liverpool; KJ, Aston Villa, Dobby, Sheffield United and Dobby, about eight teams!” RNO: You were around before and during the birth of Toronto FC – what were your feelings when you saw a Major League Soccer team being built in Toronto? JS: “Excited! I don’t think anyone expected quite the success that we saw in the first few years from a fan standpoint. Obviously I knew the fanbase was here as far as international soccer, European soccer. We see that every World Cup and European Championship, we saw numbers on various networks showing Premier League with pretty strong numbers. But, from a domestic standpoint, could it support MLS? What the hell is MLS?” “People in Canada didn’t know what MLS was, unless you were a hard-line, hardcore A BOOT

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RNO: The interest in soccer has grown with the three Canadian MLS teams, so has that translated into an increase in numbers watching behind the media side of it too? JS: “You’re seeing these young kids wearing TFC shirts, and these kids are growing up with this team now, it’s their club. You’ve seen these kids growing up with it, and I think the whole football fandom is growing at such a level now, and at such a rate of speed because of it, and we’re seeing the benefits of that in all these media outlets opening up: Soccer Central, Fox Soccer News, The Footy Show, TSN’s coverage, and all the blogs and websites, Canadian Soccer News, RedNation Online, there’s so many now! When I first started out, there was nothing, there was Gerry Dobson… and me, really covering soccer on a regular basis on TV. When you compare that, to now, it’s tenfold, and it’s only going to increase.” RNO: Let’s talk about some of these changes in the media. The big story now is The Score being purchased by Sportsnet and being rebranded as Sportsnet 360. How did you hear about this deal and are you excited with the changes? JS: “Yeah, well, there were rumblings for years about The Score being sold. John Levy, who launched it, is a visionary and a really smart man and also a very gutsy, gusty entrepreneur. He built this thing from little into this $170 million business. Over recent years, there was really a movement away from TV and more into the digital side within the company, so we thought, you know what, if he gets the right offer here, the right deal, he’s going to sell.” “There was lots of rumours about TSN, and Global for a while, but Rogers was very much in the background, I didn’t really hear much about it. Through the grapevine, you hear some rumours, people you know from different places

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said ‘yeah, this might go down with Rogers,’ and then the Friday hit and the Globe and Mail leaked it first. Holy, wow, Rogers is going to buy us, that’s enormous.” “Something had to happen, because The Score was going in a direction that wasn’t going to be able to sustain itself and survive in competition with Sportsnet and TSN. It was exciting, nervewracking, nervous for sure, but exciting, excited for the change and I knew how Sportsnet committed so much to so much soccer and thought this might pan out pretty well for me.” RNO: This process of acquisition is really just the latest in a series of moves Rogers Sportsnet has made, isn’t it? The company rebranded, re-launched their website, and added new channels like Sportsnet World, as well as picking up The Score and making it into Sportsnet 360. They also created Sportsnet Magazine – how important is it that both digital, TV and print media coexist? JS: “I think that surprised a lot of people, when Sportsnet began Sportsnet Magazine. Really? We thought print’s dead, but it’s not really, because people still want to hold a nice glossy magazine, and if the content’s good, then people will buy it. That’s why I think Sportsnet went out and got Stephen Brunt, Michael Grange, these renowned, award-winning journalists and you want to read what they write so you’re gonna buy a magazine. I thought that was smart.” “They’re hitting all the areas, and you’re talking multiplatform? Man, that’s multiplatform! Print, radio, web, TV, smartphones, tablets, it’s the only way to go. You have to expect the audience want to get their information everywhere, all the time, and now we have these. The average viewer out there, young guy, has got his TV here, his laptop there and his tablet there. You’ve got to saturate them with

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JA MES S H ARM A N

information, and with rights, live rights. I think they’ve done it the right way. It costs money and that’s why, The Score, sadly couldn’t continue the way it was. You need money, and they had money and they’re spending it on the right things, the right properties.” RNO: Another major story this year was that of a new company named beIN Sports coming in and purchased the rights to some of the biggest leagues and biggest games in the world, without launching a channel in Canada. How frustrating is it to lose content like that? JS: “It’s very frustrating. I mean, I’m a fan as well, right? I want to see El Clasico, and I can’t see it right now either. It’s very annoying. We had the Italian Serie A rights at The Score for quite a few years, and we were proud of our coverage. I thought it was very, very in depth, nothing like we’ve seen in this country before, and then beIN come in, the rights are up for grabs, they secure those rights, and they don’t launch a station!” “Obviously, there’s politics involved here, eventually they’ll launch here, as they’ve launched in the States, but there’s some great football out there and I think it’s done a real disservice to the industry as well, that we have these people wanting to watch these soccer

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games and they’re not getting the chance to watch them. Is that hurting the game in the grand scheme of things? Probably.” RNO: What do these media platforms need to do to grow as the game grows? Is it a case of simply spending more than your competition or are there other strategies? JS: “You can always expand. I thought what The Footy Show was really good for and which I was proud of was our multiplatform approach. We had our podcast which became more popular than our TV show, and we had our Footy Blog as well, and those were good writers giving information everywhere. The golden goose is still TV, right now, and you still have to acquire rights, and they ain’t coming down. There’s so much more demand for them, you’ve seen the Premier League, what’s that worth, it’s astronomical, but they know that people are going to watch it.” RNO: Finally, who do you think is going to win the FIFA World Cup in 2014? JS: “It’s hard to go away from a South American team, and you can’t go against Spain, can you, or Germany? But…Argentina really, really interests me. I think they’re a team that should have won the World Cup since ’86, there’s no doubt about it. I think it may be there time again, if Messi can find his scoring boots for his country. Brazil…Neymar is such an unproven commodity right now. We know he can do it in Brazil, and if he can translate to European football and the world stage, he can carry a team. If Spain win it, or if Germany win it, I wouldn’t be that surprised!” 

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BEST FROM

MAY–JUNE 2 013 As has been noted in the Letter from the Publisher, both this issue and last, the nature of online publishing and content-based websites in general is that often articles, interviews, columns and features can go up on the homepage and be relegated to the archives within a day or two. With the MLS season in full swing, many articles of excellent quality go up on RedNation Online for only a matter of days that deserve more exposure. A new regular part of ABoot will be highlighting some of the best published in between issues so that those who come to the site, perhaps only once or twice a week, can have a chance to see again any of the content missed through that period.

Maturing Teibert excelling with Whitecaps Jake Vendramin | May 6, 2013 At the beginning of the Whitecaps 2013 MLS season, many questioned Russell Teibert’s future with the MLS club. At that time, rumours began to circulate around whether he would stay with the Caps, go out on loan or simply be transferred away. However, when the debate was playing out at the beginning of the 2013 campaign, I firmly believed that a talented young player like Russell Teibert should be kept with the organization or, at the most, sent out on loan for developmental purposes.

The Best Value-for-Price Players in Canada Armen Bedakian | May 8, 2013 The MLS Players Union released their semi-annual report on player wages, and with plenty of new faces at Toronto FC, the Montreal Impact and the Vancouver Whitecaps, there is plenty to discuss and dissect amongst supporters across Canada! The debate often centres around a player’s value in comparison to his pay, a touchy subject when players are overpaid but a real talking point when hidden treasures are discovered for low cost.

The Case for Toronto: NWSL Expansion Emily Dulhanty | May 15, 2013 Grant Wahl’s tweet gives outstanding evidence that if Toronto were to get involved in the NWSL, it would be through a partnership with MLS ownership, which in Toronto’s case, is Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment Ltd. MLSE is one of the most successful sports ownership companies in the world, boasting the Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL’s most valuable team, Toronto FC, valued in 2008 as MLS’ second most valuable team, NBA’s Toronto Raptors, and the AHL Toronto Marlies.

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Was it really the referee’s fault? A new perspective to the debate Kevin Duarte | May 21, 2013 Being a referee has to be one of the toughest jobs in all of sport. In football, this individual has the power to change a match in a matter of seconds, something a referee should never hope for by the way. A referee’s decision should always be determined by a player’s actions. Now this is not an article to further criticize officials in football. Instead, this article will try to defend the referees of our game.

Matias Laba settling into life at TFC Armen Bedakian | May 21, 2013 When Toronto FC first signed Matias Laba, club president Kevin Payne described the Argentine midfielder as a player whom the club could build around long-term. Picked up from Argentinos Juniors, Laba has already filled in at central midfield alongside Jeremy Hall. His playing style is that of the standard holding midfielder: ball recovery, distribution and defensive duties define his role for the team. In his three games for the club, Laba has already shown flashes of this skill.

Across the Pond - The best from 2012/13 Ian Clarke | May 26, 2013 As another season Across the Pond winds down, it is worthwhile to look back on the year that was and what Canadians stood out as key performers for their domestic clubs. While it’s a bit tricky to effectively do a year-end review, especially considering there are a handful of players competing in the Scandinavian summer season, it is still worth looking back on the last twelve months of who performed well and what it means for the Canadian National Team.

Sharing the Journey: Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence Kamal Hylton | June 2, 2013 For defender Kadeisha Buchanan and midfielder Ashley Lawrence, this recent call-up to the CWNT brings about a story that is quite rare in the world of sports. What is all the more unique in the global game of soccer is the fact that these two players have managed to come up through the ranks together, from youth club to youth national team to senior national team all within a short few years, the bond seem to get stronger and stronger with every step of the way.

Impact’s long June break completely different this time around Kevin Duarte | June 15, 2013 Comparing and contrasting Montreal’s 2012 and 2013 seasons after their two week June break. For two straight seasons, the Montreal Impact were given a two week break to start the month of June. That’s about the only similarities at this point between this season and the last. It’s been quite the year for Major League Soccer’s youngest franchise. Looking at how the team has started the 2013 season, today’s results would be seen as a pipe dream to somebody exactly one year ago.

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ABOOT | July 2013