Friday’s soccer news starts with the Canadian Premier League revealing its logo and the timeline for announcing teams in advance of the 2019 season. Canada’s new league still has plenty of questions to answer. The number of teams for their debut season among them, alongside the scope of the league or its status in Canada’s soccer pyramid.
What we know is the purpose, Canadian player development. That was an issue for the Canadian MLS teams under league rules that didn’t specifically include Canadian players under roster exemptions for domestic players. That changed for the 2017 MLS season.
Under the 2018 rules, MLS specifies, “For Canadian clubs, a domestic player is either a Canadian citizen or the holder of certain other special status (i.e., has been granted refugee or asylum status), a player who qualifies under the Homegrown International Rule, or a U.S. Domestic Player. There is no limit as to the number of Canadian Domestic Players on a Canadian club’s roster. There is no limit as to the number of U.S. Domestic Players or Canadian Domestic Players on a Canadian club’s roster; provided, however, that a Canadian club is required to have a minimum of three Canadian Domestic Players on its roster at all times.”
Development has been an issue for Canada going back to the original NASL era. As a response to Team America, the Canadian Soccer Association wanted their own Team Canada as the replacement for the Montreal Manic. Team America took the field to dismal results and support in 1983. The Team Canada project stalled before the start of the 1984 season. Yet it was Canada qualifying for the 1986 World Cup. Since then, finding their footing in Concacaf has been an issue for Canadian soccer. There have been glimpses, including a Gold Cup win in 2000, but the problem is momentum.
The MLS era has three teams in Canada covering the two largest markets and the west coast. That hasn’t necessarily led to greater opportunities for Canadian players, especially in the first teams. The Vancouver Whitecaps started the season with nine Canadians on their roster to eight Americans. In Toronto, it’s nine Canadians to 12 Americans. In Montreal, it’s nine Canadians to four Americans. At the start of the season, there were three Canadian goalkeepers on the rosters of the Canadian teams and two of those were on the Impact. None of them are starters.
The Toronto Sun’s Kurtis Larson reports on the Canadian Premier League’s scope. Canadian Press on the logo reveal and the league’s plans. In MLS, The Washington Post’s Ryan Bacic looks at what coach Bob Bradley already means to LAFC. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jonathan Tannenwald on the Union’s offensive issues.
Goal’s Charles Jones explains the issues at Sunderland. BBC Sport has PSG officially looking for a new coach for next season with Unai Emery confirming his exit.
— Don Garber (@thesoccerdon) April 27, 2018
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Graphic by the Canadian Premier League