The morning after, and you can feel yesterday’s bronze-winning performance from the Canadian national women’s team already fading into the background. Despite the calls to build on yesterday’s accomplishment, there are some major positives that come with this. The divisive narrative surrounding the US team will drop by the way-side for a while. Not that Canadians will ever warm to the sight of Alex Morgan or Hope Solo any time soon, but it would be good if we could all remember this originally involved a very poor decision from a Norwegian referee, not a means to commemorate the War of 1812 on foreign soil.
But the reality is that despite our adulation of Christine Sinclair, Diana Matheson, Lauren Sesselmann and Melissa Tancredi—hell, let’s just say the entire team—these women return to a very uncertain future in the absence of WPS. As Duane Rollins wrote in a CSN column, chances are an elite women’s professional league will return to the fore sooner than later.
Even that likely won’t be enough to accommodate the potential talent emerging from across Canada, if registration rates in soccer are anything to go by. Yes, there’s the NCAA route, or the less-attractive CIS route. Far better would be to give a second tier option, in the form of a few semi or fully-professional teams. All the current funding options however don’t appear viable. The Canadian Soccer Association, as Rollins points out, does not have the budget for such an enormous undertaking. While he points to corporate partnerships as a possible means to establish one or two teams, professional sport—even at its most modest incarnation—is a tremendously risky investment for even the most wealthy and philanthropic of companies.
There is an alternate plan. In the same way hosting the 1994 World Cup provided the US the FIFA-encouraged impetus to establish a professional, elite league, the 2015 Womens World Cup could provide the initial launch pad for a similar, if far more modest, venture. As in perhaps a handful of teams, established in communities where womens soccer is already popular at the youth level. A middle tier between university level soccer and the elite professional US-based league, or European women’s leagues. These could be established as community trusts, with local share schemes intimately linked to youth soccer teams and leagues (NEWS FLASH: this can be done at the men’s level too).
Additionally, the CSA should encourage national standards in coaching, education, and fitness, across all the provinces. The next three years could be used to explore these possibilities. Because as talented as the national team is, these women didn’t come from nowhere. Expecting the media to shine a light on this is naive, as is expecting corporations to throw money at womens pro soccer. The leadership, if not the funding, must come from the CSA.
Toronto FC agrees to postpone match with Columbus Crew after midfielder’s death.
Montreal Impact defender Nelson Rivas receives a two game suspension for pulling a Zinedine Zidane (Headbutt).
Canadian women’s soccer team gets its redemption.
Marco Di Vaio acquitted of match-fixing charges.
Roy Hodgson releases squad for Italy friendly. Michael Carrick is on it.
Aston Villa dealt an injury blow ahead of the new Premier League season.
Portsmouth avoids liquidation with Liam Lawrence’s exit.
Rooney admits admiration for Robin Van Persie.
Stoke City’s Michael Kightly admits to battle with depression.
Man United forward Javier Hernandez added to Mexico’s roster for friendly against U.S.
Show me the money! Roberto Mancini takes a shot at City director Brian Marwood over lack of transfers.
John Terry left out of England squad for friendly against Italy.
Taking over the reigns. David Gill takes control of Van Persie deal.
Man United set to debut on the New York Stock Exchange.
Craig Bellamy is almost home.
Andre Villas-Boas to Luka Modric: Unpack your bags
Joe Allen on the verge of completing Liverpool move.
Mancini confirms City has rejected bids for Mario Balotelli this summer.
Juventus manager Antonio Conte given a ten-month ban.
Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani expresses his displeasure after humiliating Real Madrid loss.
Leonardo Bonucci overjoyed with the match-fixing verdict.
Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini admits his club is nervous.
M’Baye Niang admits he’s impressed by AC Milan.
Juventus offers its full support for Conte.
Bits and bobs
UEFA Champions League play-off draw results.
Balotelli makes it pretty obvious when he doesn’t like something.
Let me introduce you to Julian Draxler, for one reason or another you’ve probably never heard of him.
Gerard Pique reveals the highlight of Barcelona’s friendly against Manchester United.
Glen Johnson’s insane volley against Gomel.
Tony Hibbert’s first goal causes a pitch invasion.
Today’s rumor roundup.
Thanks to Michael Tomasone for the links.