The Guardian’s Barney Ronay has an interesting take on the apparent rise in the number of players with dual nationalities in international football, faced with a choice over which nation they will represent over their career.
Ronay writes from the perspective of a person belonging to a country whose national team is still the object of many players’ desire, particularly as England caps can help advance a club career. Owen Hargreaves comes to mind. He sees a future judged more on a national footballing ethos than anything having to do with the number of years you’ve lived somewhere:
If there is an argument against this kind of pluralism it is simply a systemic one, a sense that it is a shared footballing, rather than ethnic, identity that gives international football its basic – and in fact only – point. For the purist, international football is interesting because it represents a clash of systems, a testing of one footballing culture against another. It has intellectual rather than jingoistic interest: a macro-clash of coaching regimes, youth systems, of the simple notion of how, exactly, you’re supposed to go about playing football.
This kind of interest will naturally be diluted when the boundaries become blurred, albeit at this point the notion of what is a footballing culture begins to take in the league that nurtures these players, the clubs behind them, just playing in the same geographical space. And really it is simply footballing nationality that counts, the question of where you learnt to play.
This should give many fans of Canadian soccer pause. If this is what nationalism means in a football context, Canada—with no national league, no national development program, and, up until recently, a national association that cared far more about collecting registration fees for its provincial associations than building a national team—isn’t really a country at all.
Sure, for most of our national team players, interest was sparked here, careers began here, first steps were taken here. But the bulk of the work on development, whether with an academy or in a club side, takes place overseas. If Ronay’s vision of an international future guided more on national style than national origins is really the future of the international game, Canada can have no complains when its brightest stars decide to cap for the Netherlands, or Jamaica, or England.
This isn’t bad news. In fact, as Canadian soccer fans, this future should make us ecstatic. Because while you can’t change the nation of your birth, you can certainly provide a reason for our brightest and best players to stay here, and, should they decide to play in leagues overseas, to one day come back.
A national, development program stretching from U6 to U23. Regional, semi-professional leagues in line with a coaching program with standards set from the top. A clear pathway for skilled teenagers to a professional career. The only missing component is the leadership to get us there…
University of British Columbia men’s soccer team wins CIS championship.
Terry knee injury not as serious as initially expected, but won’t return for another few weeks.
Chelsea’s chairman speaks out on Clattenburg affair.
“I’d never look at someone and think he’s better than me, unless it’s Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.” -Wilfried Zaha’s arrogance doesn’t escape him during an interview with the Guardian.
Paul Parker argues that handing out caps as generously as England does undermines the future of the players and the teams.
Pogba said he deserved to be dropped from the Juventus squad for being late last week.
Italian national team experimenting with a new formation ahead of friendly against France.
Navarro insists elbow on Ronaldo was pure accident.
Espanyol’s coach to remain at the club at least for now despite increasing unpopularity.
Ronaldo to miss friendly against Gabon.
Germany vs Netherlands matches rife in history and rivalry.
Germany without Klose and Oezil for tomorrow’s friendly.
Bit and Bobs
Shevchenko may accept Ukraine head coach job.
Thanks to Alima Hotakie for compiling today’s links.