Daniel Squizzato makes the case over at Canadian Soccer News:

Right off the hop, some would take umbrage with my reference to the Whitecaps as a “representative” of Canada in this tournament; indeed, while the winner of the Voyageurs Cup is officially Canada’s representative in the Champions League, each MLS club ultimately represents nothing but itself in league competition.

Still, in a largely asymmetrical bi-national league such as MLS, it’s tough not to feel that the fates of the three Canadian clubs are — if nothing else, at least perceptually — intertwined to some extent. More to the point, the fates of the three Canadian MLS clubs are intertwined with the country’s development system and the men’s national team.

Ben Massey pushes back, and also counters the claim of Vancouver’s critics over their use of Canadians in the first team:

I’m here to give carte blanche to everyone in Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Thunder Bay, Victoria, and whereever else the Whitecaps do not hold sway over your heart. Don’t cheer for us if you don’t want to. In fact, cheer against us if you like. We are of Canada, but that doesn’t mean we are Canada; a fact which has nothing to do with our lineup and everything to do with our history, our location, and the very nature of our existence.

My own take is that while these are compelling intellectual arguments in their own right, you can’t argue someone into supporting a team. I will probably faintly support a prolonged Vancouver run in the MLS Cup, but may also smile if they crash out in the first stage. Honestly at this stage I have no idea. I once vowed to support the US in their 2010 group stage match against England, and then found myself completely incapable following the opening whistle. It could go either way against the Galaxy.

Moreover, despite the importance of club football to the national game, that isn’t a compelling reason to hate Van City for not playing more Canadians. I’ve railed for a while against outsourcing responsibility for player development onto three Major League Soccer franchises with no national program in place. Blaming Vancouver for shafting youngsters with player pool as weak as Canada’s is a bit much; perhaps instead we should praise the success of some TFC academy grads all the more? Or maybe put their utility in perspective.

Comments (12)

  1. Nope… Whitecaps are Vancouver’s team.. I don’t live in Vancouver and actually I hate Whitecaps fans from my interactions with them over the years.

    I hope they lose 5-0 to Los Angeles actually.

  2. They are not Canada’s team. There are so few Canadians on the team they have no claim to it. To use Ben Massey as a source of reference for anything other than vancouver centric xenophobia is a waste of space. They guy is a totally “self admitted” biased whackjob who seems to only try to infuriate others with his drivel. Ignore him and his reach won’t be beyond the rockies.

    that said, they are a team that has been put together well under the rules of the league they work under. But I don’t support them any more than I support RSL and feel no afinity based on a shared country of origin as their philosophy does nothing to advance the Canadian game. Hopefully their academy will churn out some quality and this will no longer be the case.

    • When Ben isn’t referencing Toronto or Montreal, he actually has some pretty good insights. For a muckraker, you have pretty thin skin.

  3. Lived in Vancouver the past 15 months, before living in Toronto.

    I’ve kind of adopted WFC as my team, mostly because I live here and I’m a huge soccer fan. That being said… apart from playing in Canada, there’s really nothing Canadian about this team. Toronto FC may be an absolute disaster, but they’ve done more for Canadian soccer than WFC from a developmental standpoint. There’s no Canadians in WFC’s roster so while I’ll cheer for them because this is now my home… I wouldn’t expect the rest of Canada to give a damn

    • “but they’ve done more for Canadian soccer than WFC from a developmental standpoint”…. so a handful of meaningless games for the CMNT from Terry Dunfield and Ashtone Morgan surpass the cumulative efforts of WFC over time? Start by looking into who underwrote the CWNT’s operations for a year (hint, it wasn’t TFC).

  4. I really hate this discussion about “Canada’s Team” especially when it comes to club football.

    If there is any team in this country that truly deserves the moniker of “Canada’s Team” its our Women’s National Team who bloody well earned that title hands down.

    I hate the Impact and TFC and I want nothing whatsover to do with any TFC Plastic fan who is out looking for a bandwagon to jump on. You should support your own club and perhaps concentrate on filling up your own stadiums. I don’t want you to think we owe you one because you glanced at your TV once when the Van LA game was on!

  5. I don’t really care if Canada supports them or not. Their fans do and the fans are what matter the most.

    To take a page from the CSA.

    To grow the sport of Football/Soccer in our country we have to do that by being successful.

    If the Whitecaps can go on a short Cinderella run and inspire the small kids which watch the Whitecaps in BC Place is that not benefiting our game?

    Everyone seems to forget that Vancouver and the rest of western Canada has done a great job with the national team in the past. Of the World Cup team several of them began their careers there and many others passed through Vancouver before moving onto greener pastures. 14 of the 22 players which represented us at the World Cup also represented the Whitecaps at one point in their careers.

    So instead of blaming the Whitecaps for Canada’s inability to take advantage of the growth of football for Canada how about we blame the CSA for killing it?

    Also, not all of us feel this about the national team, but many of us feel that they have really done a crappy job representing Canada. The rest of Canada should at least get the privilege to see “our” team live.

  6. Can we all just remember that Vancouver have been in this league for a whopping TWO years? Jebus. Perspective, people.

  7. In Toronto, don’t like or dislike the Caps, but want to see them do well as that only benefits the game in this country. Successful teams are more popular, drive more interest in the game, and hopefully lead to more kids deciding to follow the team and play the game.

    In Toronto, in the first few years when TFC were the toast of the town, there was a big shift in what was popular in sport. Kids were showing up to school in Dichio TFC jerseys instead of Sundin Leafs ones. That’s what helps grow the game. That’s what makes kids want to play the game.

    With TFC’s collapse in popularity, so to go the kids away from the hot ticket soccer team.

    Best thing for the men’s game in this country is strong Caps, Impact and TFC sides.

  8. With the NBA season just starting I have to say there has only ever been one Canadian player play for the Raptors (Jamaal Magloire) and he just got waived. Does this mean that the Raptors are not a Canadian team? What about the Blue Jays? Not many Canadians there. I think the Whitecaps are a Canadian team, as even our CFL teams struggle to keep Canadians in the side. It’s just that Canada is so hockey centric we don’t have loads of others playing these sports. So to say that Vancouver is not representing us in Canada, then pretty much no top league teams in any sport are even though they play and live in our cities within a nation of immigrants and with the Maple Leafs on their arms. That notion is ridiculous, and you all are overreacting including R. Whittall. That’s just the state of sports in this country.

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