Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Good Day All Round...

Great news for Canadian soccer today when Canada booked its ticket to the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 on Wednesday with a 2:0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in the quarter-final stage of the 2011 CONCACAF Men’s U-17 Championship. Canada will be participating in the World Cup at this level for the first time since 1995.

Chris Nanco opened the scoring in the 15th minute and Keven Aleman scored a wonderful strike four minutes later to provide Canada with the decisive goals in the match.

Just as important as qualification itself might be the list of clubs that the players representing the Maple Leaf today are currently affiliated with. Of the twenty players on the roster fourteen players are currently affiliated with four different professional clubs - most importantly three of those clubs are Canadian. Even better eight of today's eleven starters are currently with pro academies - again the bulk affiliated with either Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver.

It is probably unique in Canadian soccer history that a team at this end of the national development programs has this many players already affiliated with professional clubs, especially professional Canadian clubs and this can only be good for the development of the game in Canada.

Another important part of this shift the professionalism of development is the inclusion of former professional players getting the opportunity to work with this young talent under the watchful eye of experienced professionals with backgrounds that span the globe.

The latest sign that things are finally coming together for development in this country are the announcements today out of Toronto that Danny Dichio and Jim Brennan will be passing on there vast professional experience as players to Toronto's Academy players while previous Academy coach Jason Bent has been moved up to assist the first team staff to provide a link to the youngsters moving up through the ranks.

All in all a good day for Canadian soccer.


Bill Ault

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