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New kits. New fixtures. Same venue. 
 

 

   
Posted by 
Ian Clarke
,  
February 3, 2012

Email Ian Clarke

Twitter @ClarkeRNO

 
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The first thing to get out of the way is – should you ever get an opportunity to attend a kit unveiling, do not pass it up. I highly recommend it. It is so choice. Six bison burger sliders, four flatbread pizza slices, two mini beaver tails and two extra pints because “I dropped my drink vouchers” later, all I can say is the new kits are AWESOME.

There might require a finer review tomorrow with clear eyes, but overall the CSA put together a night that confirmed many items that were of discussion amongst supporters over the last few days, weeks, and even months.

The overall event was set up to unveil Canada’s new kits for their 100th anniversary, however, the Canadian Soccer Association took advantage of the night to address a handful of upcoming issues with the night starting off with a townhall meeting.

In attendance were the usual moderators of Sportsnet’s Jerry Dobson and Craig Forrest and on the panel were Peter Montopoli from the CSA, men’s head coach Stephen Hart and fresh off an Olympic qualification, women’s head coach John Herdman.

Olympic Qualifying
The first order of business was speaking with John Herdman and giving congratulations for the women making it to the 2012 Olympics in London, England. As many have come to know over the last few weeks, Herdman could very well be the most likeable head coach the CSA has ever brought on board.

He made no excuses about the result against the United States but praised his players for being able to express themselves on the pitch and achieving their main goal of qualifying in front of their home crowd. His back story of traveling to New Zealand to attempt to be cast as a hobbit in Lord of the Rings precipitated the quote of the night from Jerry Dobson, “Finally, a women’s head coach with a sense of humour!”

CSA

Men’s National Team Fixtures 2012
Some received a bizarre email this past week from the Ontario Soccer Association to it’s members asking clubs to not schedule matches for three games through the summer and fall because of World Cup Qualifying. It might have been a strategic leak, but regardless the “secret” was confirmed as all three Canadian Men’s World Cup Qualifying fixtures will be held in Toronto.

There is no question across the country there will be some backlash to this choice and Peter Montopoli and Stephen Hart tried their best to diffuse this from the start stating how momentum has been built in the early stages of qualifying and home support has been in Canada’s favour. 

BMO Field has proven to be a solid home base over 2011 but the CSA is certainly putting all their eggs in one basket as the home field advantage through the opening rounds no doubt has been because they were up against small Caribbean nations. This year will be an interesting comparison to see how they can follow up the fixture against Honduras in 2008.

Friendly v USA
The news broke this week that in the centennial year Canada will go up against the United States, June 3, at BMO Field in a match that celebrates one in 1925 which was the first registered friendly in Canada. 

“It’s a big opportunity for us – we were looking for a game before the Cuba match but it had to fall in a certain time frame,” Stephen Hart explained. “It’s an excellent opportunity to play a top CONCACAF team and it’s almost ideal to play that game and then go into Cuba – I know the players are really excited to play the US on home soil”

Hart noted the environment in Cuba and will be preparing for that match in Florida prior to the first qualifying game, will then come up to Canada and play the US an then go to Cuba.

WPS suspension
Dobsen also brought up the suspension of Women’s Professional Soccer due to legal matters and what that means for a handful of players competing in the league leading up to the Olympics.

With it just happening this week, it was clear Herdman and the CSA have not come up with a definitive plan on how to address players not being able to compete but that concern was confirmed and how the CSA and the Women’s program will need to come up wth something to have their players ready for the summer of 2012.

“We may have to look at some new models for bringing the payers back into Canada – certainly the players are struggling to get pro contracts overseas because the window has closed and it’s a shame because they want to ply their trade in tough games against the top players they will play against in the Olympics. It’s a big step back for us.”

Jonathan De Guzman
Jerry did not waste a second getting into this obvious topic as many knew Stephen Hart had been in contact with the De Guzmans recently. The Men's National Team head coach replied:

“It’s no secret I’ve had a couple of good meetings with Jonathan and his family. It’s a complicated situation and it’s not simple as ‘Yes I want to play’, and he plays against Armenia. Yes, he is enthusiastic about coming to play for Canada but he also understands it’s not a simple issue. We’re working diligently to make this a reality – it’s not a simple as throwing on a shirt and off you go.”

Hart noted another target of the Men's National Team, Junior Hoilett, not moving from Blackburn in the January window effected his decision to play for Canada in the short-term.

“The discussions with Hoilett were clear he wants to establish himself, make sure he’s secure at a club before he makes any decision for a national team. We really hoped he’d move clubs in January, so nothing has changed.”

Canada’s New Kits
While the Townhall wrapped up all things regarding the National Teams it was the unveiling of the centenary kits that everyone came out to see. 

Umbro

Gerald Woodman, President of Umbro Canada set the stage with a short video building up the reveal and upon it’s completion a handful of Canada’s National Team members from different teams across the board came out in the red and white.

The look is certainly more streamlined with nothing loud off the top (aka chevron) as the most notable features is the materials the kit is made from – with the jersey looking like a lightweight cotton and the shorts a more synthetic blend. Aside from piping, the only other fine detail was in the collar is the recording/audio spikes from O’Canada.

CMNT

While the Canadian kit is a vast improvement from the short-notice, rushed, templated version from a year ago, the new track jackets were by far the best addition.

Come the summer of 2012, the CSA and Umbro should have no problems pulling together a sea of red and white for their friendlies, World Cup Qualifying and London Olympics.

 
 
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