Go back four years ago and the pain was unbearable--weeks went by before we could talk about it. The Internet discussion board we frequented was much quieter than usual. We bid good-bye to our game day pub friends--we knew it would be a couple more years before we would all be together again.
The days the followed Canada's elimination from the 2006 World Cup were dark, dark days indeed. We had nothing--no hope, no purpose, nothing at all to hold onto.
Flash forward to today as we digest Canada's latest failure in international soccer. Speaking personally, in the moments that followed Canada's loss I...
Turned on the TFC game (I PVRed it). I was upset that Canada had lost, but I immediately had something else to turn to. I suspect that others in Canada felt the same way.
In Montreal, fans could focus on the Impact's remarkable run in the CONCACAF Champions League. In Vancouver, fans had tonight's USL title game to look forward to.
Club football has finally made an inroad in Canada and that's the best thing that has ever happened to the national team. The weekly grind of the club game keeps the sport in the news. That, in turn, will keep the questions about the national team asked. And, eventually, the growing popularity of the club game will lead to more Canadians playing the sport at a high level. A World Cup berth will happen in our lifetime.
There have been seemingly hundreds of studies done and millions of hours wasted at trying to figure out what's wrong with Canadian soccer. But, no one has found an answer. Or maybe it's right in front of us. Maybe, Danny Dichio is the man that will be remembered as the saviour of Canadian football.
That's the long-term outlook. In the short term there is little to look forward to. Clearly Dale Mitchell should be fired. Money needs to be found to bring a big name coach into the program for the 2014 cycle. For now, let Stephen Hart handle the 2009 Gold Cup. He should call up a squad made up of young players--winning the Gold Cup means very little. Development is the goal.
And we the fans will have to settle for cheering on our club teams. At least we finally have the option.