Thursday, May 15, 2008

Erin Mills is really, really mad and thinks it's just not fair.

If you have ever been curious as to why Canada struggles to produce elite soccer players, have a look at this letter.

It's got all the ingredients. A petty minor soccer system over zealously protecting its little fiefdom--player development be dammed, we've got an OSL u-18 title to chase--and an unorganized elite system that is scrambling to play catch-up and, in turn, putting undue pressure on the pyramid below.


Should the Toronto FC academy have had its stuff together earlier and signed these five kids prior to the eve of the season. Of course. However, the TFC academy is in start-up mode and some growing pains should be expected. It should also learn from this and there will be no excuses if the same things happen again moving forward.

The truly alarming thing here is the pathetic protectionism of the Erin Mills Soccer Club. Instead of patting its kids on the back and wishing them luck as they pursue a professional dream, Erin Mills is worried about how their loss will affect its Ontario Cup chances. Could you imagine a minor hockey program being compelled to write a nasty letter after it had lost a top player to the CHL?

There is a reason that this country's three professional soccer teams--TFC, the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps--are wrestling elite development away from the minor clubs. The pro teams need young Canadians to develop for their long-term success and the minor clubs are, well, more or less incompetent.


Andrew Bucholtz said...

Well said, Duane. I spent a lot of time in the minor soccer system, and found that kind of club-first rather than player-first attitude to be pretty common. Clubs' goals should be to develop and train players for future success: winning titles is a bonus.

sager said...


Please keep on topic, but see the latest comments on Ben Knight's
last post? A lot of people would like to rip up the turf at BMO and have real grass.

Dennis Prouse said...

Obviously I am not a soccer guy. In fact, I am about as far from a soccer guy as you can get. I routinely razz my soccer loving friends by asking rhetorically why it is that, 25 years after we were all told that soccer was "the future" in Canada, we are still no further ahead in developing elite players than we were.

Anyway, as for this particular letter, I think this attitude stems from the fact that no one thinks of Canada as an elite soccer nation. (That's because we aren't, and never will be.) Therefore, because the notion of elite player development is not on anyone's radar screen, narrow club interests rule the day.

sager said...

It's amazing what can be achieved when no one cares who rules their little bailiwick, huh?

Here's hoping TFC, Whitecaps, Impact and Ottawa Fury keep doing their thing and bringing up players through their systems. Your hopeless dystopia shall never befall us, Erin Mills ... now get back in that Hyundai Tucson.