Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Ottawa soccer question: Part 2

Part two of four of the Ottawa soccer question below the jump

What's in it for MLS?

There was girl like her in every high school. She dressed a little frumpy, wasn’t all that popular and had mousy brown hair (to be fair to the fairer gender there was a boy in every high school too – wearing flood pants a size too small, awful in gym class and a member of the AV Club). When people looked at her – actually people didn’t really look at her, they barely knew she existed. But if they did, they wouldn't give her much thought.

Unless you looked really closely. If you did that you might see that under those frumpy clothes was actually a pretty fit body. Add a few highlights in the hair and, well, she’d be pretty damn hot. Once you figured that out you might realize that she would become quite popular in her freshman year of college. By then she would have blown off your one stop town and forgotten those awkward high school years. If only you’d have paid her more attention when no one else was...

When it comes to MLS expansion, Ottawa is mousy brown hair girl.

No one is taking this bid seriously. The city is too small, there isn’t an established soccer culture, the only people that would go are soccer moms, it’s in Canada, where the hell is Ottawa again? It doesn’t take long to find someone willing to dismiss Ottawa outright, with next to no thought.

Except for one guy. Don. And he’s the guy that all the girls are trying to impress, which makes you wonder what he sees in her.

Maybe it’s because her daddy is pretty rich and a big fan of Don. He’s likely do whatever Don asked him to do and he’s always sucking up. Did I mention he was loaded?

Then there is the neighbourhood she lives in. It’s in a perfect location, really close to a lot of other kids. If Don starts hanging out there he knows that a lot of people would come from out of town for her parties.

Another thing that Don might find important is that he doesn’t have to share her with anyone else. A lot of his other lady friends are involved with richer guys. He knows that if he gives her some attention that he could be her one true love.

Having taken the analogy about as far as I can, let me put it this way. Ottawa is big enough. It isn’t the largest centre, but it is in fact big enough. So scratch that off your can’t list.

It’s size might actually be an advantage. If Capital City FC is born, it will be the only game in town all summer (with apologies to whatever minor league baseball team is in town at the time). It would be another chance for Ottawa to compete with other major cities in North America

But, the biggest thing the Ottawa bid has going for it is Eugene Melnyk. The MLS loves the guy and they think he is exactly the owner they want. If Ottawa gets the stadium plan approved, there aren’t any other major problems with the bid because, really, when you break a MLS bid down it comes to two things – stadium and ownership. Don’t underestimate the importance of Ottawa‘s leadership.

A lot of people laughed when they heard that Don Garber said that a team in Ottawa was all but a sure thing if the stadium plan is approved. Surely, they thought, he was just talking out of his rear-end again. But what, really, does he gain from that? Maybe he’s actually telling the truth because if you look past first impressions Ottawa’s actually kinda hot.

I bet ya didn’t see that coming.

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