Isolationism? Nope, just realism out of MLS and more nonsense out of Canadian fans

Tom Dunmore quotes some Canadian blog when he asks whether Quaranta’s pre-CCL quotes indicate some kind of “isolationism” on the part of MLS and its fans.

“It stands to reason that a 24-year-old from Baltimore that has played his entire professional career in the United States would share the viewpoint of most of the people that watch him.”

No, no, no. It’s because MLS’ rules pretty much rig the Champions League against its own clubs. It’s not that they don’t want to compete against CONCACAF’s best, it’s that they can’t, not with the roster/salary rules as they currently stand. Thus, why is it somehow “isolationist” to prioritize those competitions where DC United can compete on an even plane compared to its opposition?

Nope, it’s just more idiotic bloviating from our soccer neighbors to the North, who are increasingly becoming the second-most annoying constituency in North America soccer fan’dom right behind the US Soccer truthers, “she has an expensive bag, HANG HER!”

I really like Canada and Canadians, I really do. My father and his entire family are from Saskatchewan. I bear no beef whatsover with the country. I watch and actively enjoy Don Cherry (at least when he’s not ranting about Ovechkin having the audacity to enjoy playing hockey) on Hockey Night in Canada. I speak passable French. I appreciate that there is this great soccer community both in Toronto, and across the country and that for various cultural reasons, they’re extremely likely to view England, the “old world,” and its soccer traditions with a more favorable view than we do. I get that. It’s okay.

But enough already – enough of the constant drumbeat of criticism of this and that through the prism of “BUT, THIS ISN’T HOW IT’S DONE IN EUROPE!” This isn’t like hockey where Americans are in the minority in many ways compared to Canadians. MLS is a league made up primarily of American players watched primarily by American fans and funded primarily by American dollars. Toronto only has an MLS team because Americans supported this league for a decade and continue to do so.

I hate the be the one who tells Toronto fans to “know your place and shut up,” but I guess I am about to. For all of the Toronto fanbase’s energy and so on, the team has never made the MLS playoffs and for all the fan interest, not one Canadian company* has signed on as a league partner. So for all of the energy around TFC, the fact is they are just another MLS club that has to deal with the same baggage like the others.

If TFC wants a more European-style league to fit it and its fans’ ambitions, there is a very simple solution. Lead the effort for a fully-professional Canadian national soccer league. That won’t happen, of course, because there isn’t enough fan interest across the country as a whole, and it definitely doesn’t look like there would be corporate support for it as evidenced by Canadian multinationals’ disinterest in investing in MLS.

But as long as that happens, it’s time for Toronto and too many of its supporters to stop acting like they’re going to take their ball and stomp off from MLS. That isn’t going happen. Instead of screaming and yelling about what’s wrong with MLS and American soccer, how about you pay attention to your own team which is teetering in its playoff position despite playing in a division that features the entirely hopeless Red Bulls, injury-doomed Revolution and increasingly hopeless DC United.

Anyway, moan completed.

* And before you ask why a Canadian company would support a mostly-American league, many of these Canadian Forbes 2000 companies have large business interests in the US. Some of these companies include TD Bank, RBC Bank, RIM (Blackberry founders), Nortel, and Bombardier all of which sell plenty of products to Americans.


12 thoughts on “Isolationism? Nope, just realism out of MLS and more nonsense out of Canadian fans

  1. Hear, hear.
    As an american who lived in Montreal for three years,I’ve gotta say I understand a little more about why the quebecois have such greivances with Toronto and the “english”. Man they are Fuc*& annoying. Rude and arrogant. You know i get that you sellout your stadium and all but talk to me in five years. I watch your games on direct kick and although you sell the tickets, it’s obvious the ass in every seat deal is beginning to end.
    Develop your national program, which is in tatters.
    Lets welcome some more humble-hopefully sober canadian teams so you can all throw snowballs at each other instead of the league or the USA

  2. Small countries pay more attention to the wider world because they have to. Americans are no more parochial than Chinese people or Russians or Brazilians. But it is more fun for Canadians to think our “failings” are somehow peculiar to us.

  3. I would guess it played out something like this:

    Tom Soehn thinks “Which will have a greater impact on my job, CCL success or missing the playoffs”

    Playoffs it is. This isn’t isolationism. It’s business. And this may be the single dumbest line I have ever read:

    “Canadians always look forward to a chance to measure ourselves against the rest of the world (even though it’s often discouraging). U.S. fans, in general terms, are satisfied to measure themselves against themselves”

    Talk about a gross and ignorant generalization. I have no idea what the word would be, but having that line being your logical conclusion from Quaranta’s comment is just plain thoughtless.

  4. You can’t read, can you? Because you didn’t even remotely put the article in full context.

    Whatever…I’m sure your hero Bill will be proud.

    @Dave Brull – Did you miss the part where I indicated that I was talking in generalities and that I know full well that many individual Americans don’t share that view?

  5. Since I don’t need your traffic here is the full entry so you can have a full context:

    (quote snipped)
    Via Goff, that’s DC United’s Santino Quaranta talking about the CONCACAF Champions League and what it means to the players.

    If you ever wanted evidence demonstrating why MLS struggles so much in this event, there it is. Even though the team is, apparently, “taking it seriously” its players — or at least this player — can’t even be bothered to fake excitement when talking to one of the most well read MLS journalists in the world.

    It’s pretty clear MLS players look at the CCL as a burden rather than an opportunity. And that’s too bad.

    But, it’s easy to understand where they are coming from. With the razor thin rosters and indifferent fan reactions (outside of Toronto) why would they care? They don’t view the competition as being played on an even playing field and they don’t see the value in beating a Honduran team that no one outside of the hardest of the hardcore soccer fan has heard of.

    I think we in Canada have a different view of the competition because we, as a much smaller nation than the U.S., are forced to take a more worldly view on many issues (relax American readers. I’m not saying that you personally don’t have a worldly view. Clearly you do. You read a blog that covers football from a Canadian perspective. About 80 per cent of my traffic comes from outside the U.S. so you’re not the typical MLS fan). Canadians always look forward to a chance to measure ourselves against the rest of the world (even though it’s often discouraging). U.S. fans, in general terms, are satisfied to measure themselves against themselves (as an example, TFC is last in road attendance in MLS this year).

    It stands to reason that a 24-year-old from Baltimore that has played his entire professional career in the United States would share the viewpoint of most of the people that watch him.

    All of which makes TFC’s exit from the competition particularly frustrating. Although Toronto fans understood that the fixture congestion playing in the CCL would have caused would have made the Reds’ playoff drive all the more difficult, I would suspect that significant amount of TFC fans would have preferred a deep run in CONCACAF to a MLS Cup playoff appearance.

    Why focus on being the best in MLS when you can compete to be the best in all of North America?

    The competition resumes tonight. The USL’s Puerto Rico is in Columbus and Marathon (Honduras) is home to DC United. We will be watching closely to see what the rosters look like.

  6. Did you read what I wrote, SOG? I point out that you wrote a really dumb generality, so yes message received.

    Just because you are making a general claim or writing in generalities doesn’t mean that it isn’t a dumb and flawed claim. This doesn’t excuse you from having your weak supposition pointed out. You offered no support for your broad claim other than Santino’s quote. Then you offer a context for the quote out of thin air when even a moment’s thought could have offered a far more logical conclusion.

    So yes, you wrote a dumb generality.

    At least Archer can write coherently.

  7. Good morning,

    As a canadian soccer fan I thought I’d add my two cents to this thread.

    Firstly, I love the MLS. In fact my dad’s from another country (outside of NA) and I could just as well support his country’s league but I don’t. I have Euro-snob friends who support only Barcelona, Man U, etc. and choose to put the blinders on when it comes to the MLS. (One day they won’t be able to. One day when an MLS club takes the Club World Cup or whoops the pants off Barca or Real Madrid in a friendly).

    Second, Canada’s national soccer program is in shambles. I envy US Soccer as an organization. U.S. sports orgs are second to none. In part, it is the media in Canada that continue to hold soccer back. The pro-hockey bias in the Canadian media is ridiculous and unbelievable. There are times when TFC, the Impact or the ‘Caps will have hugely important games (league titles, CCL games, etc.) and the first four pages of the Sports section will be talking about Patrick Kane’s punching incident or some new NHL trade deal with a full page picture of the player in question. Soccer news meanwhile is relegated to a four inch article at the very back of the section. This gets really annoying. The Canadian media is abhorrently ignorant when it comes to soccer in this country.

    Third, I have decided this week that I will be supporting Columbus throughout the CCL. I enjoy their consistency and solid play (unlike my TFC squad).

    Fourth, people from Toronto are arrogant and the rest of us are not afraid to say so. There’s an issue in the news right now re: a beer ad in B.C. that says something like “colder than people from Toronto”. Anyways, due to the Toronto malcontents (the media is pretty much centred in Toronto and they’ve also raised a big stink), the ads will be taken down.

    Fifth, many Canadian soccer supporters do support US Soccer. Whether it be a US MLS team or the MNT, we are for CONCACAF first and foremost.

    Disregard the fanatical purists in Canada who diss the anti-European-ness of the MLS. It’s stupid eh?

  8. A canadian TFC fan writing out a well measured post and saying he is openly pulling for Columbus in the CCL? Never thought I would see the day

    Welcome to the team! Columbus is taking this tournament serious, as you can see with us putting out the first team against PRI

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