Why won’t Canadians cheer for their national soccer team?

26 Apr

That’s a good question and something that Ben Rycroft wrote about last week here.  As a proud supporter of Canadian soccer (in particular that men’s national team) I am sincerely interested in finding out an answer.  The argument that Canadians just don’t care about soccer is fallacious.  It is clearly evident that Canadians do care about soccer, in Toronto at least, when the World Cup is on.  The city is alive with people cheering for England, Portugal, Italy, Cameroon, South Korea, whomever, and their passion for the sport is clearly strong.  It’s almost like all of the people at Yonge and Dundas after Sidney Crosby scored his gold medal winning goal in the 2010 Olympics just traded in their Canadian hockey jerseys for the soccer strips of their parents, grand-parents or whomever.  All the passion spread across the entire United Nations.

You might say that if only the Canadian soccer team actually qualified for the world cup, people here would be cheering for them.  That hasn’t happened since the year I was born so we won’t know for sure what amount of support the team would get.  Unfortunately, them qualifying isn’t likely (although not impossible) to happen for the next while.  The talent just isn’t there yet, for many reasons.  2018 in Russia is a possibility, but I’m not holding my breath.  I guess that’s just the cynical Canadian soccer supporter in me.

So if the team isn’t going to be playing on the grandest soccer stage of them all, should we just forget about them?  We can, but that doesn’t mean that Canadians won’t support other teams instead.  Of the two Canadian men’s national team (CMNT) games that I’ve been to (vs. Honduras in Montreal in 2008 and vs. Peru in Toronto in 2010), Canadian fans were outnumbered at least 5:1 both times by fans of the opposing team.  It’s likely that many of the Honduran and Peruvian fans are actually Canadians that cheer for the country of their forefathers, and that’s okay.

Seriously.  That’s not what upsets me.  That’s just one of the interesting quirks of the people that make up the cultural mosaic that we call home.  What upsets me is that although the Honduran-Canadians are out cheering against Canada when they play Honduras, they are absent when the CMNT plays someone else.  These people are clearly fans of the game (and some likely are fans of Canadian hockey), but choose not to cheer for the team of the country that they live in.  That just doesn’t make sense to me.  But I’m an xth generation Canadian, so maybe it’s something that only immigrants or 2nd or 3rd generation immigrants can understand.

Having said that, I want to let all of you know that the CMNT is playing a home friendly versus Ecuador at BMO field in Toronto on June 1st at 7pm and I’d like to round up as many proud Canadians to cheer for their country’s team.  I’m not delusional enough to think that we won’t be outnumbered at least 5:1 by Ecuadorian fans, but that’s okay.  The first two games I was caught off guard by it, but now I’ve come to expect it.  I wish that the Canadian men’s soccer team could always play actual home games their home country, but those games are outliers and this won’t be one of them.

Still, if you want to go to the game and cheer for Canada, you can buy Canadian supporter’s section tickets for $17 from the voyageurs* website.  If you want to go and cheer for Ecuador (or perhaps cheer for Canada, but not in the supporter’s section) you can certainly go and buy tickets from Ticketmaster, but don’t buy them for the Canadian supporter’s section, nothing good will come from that.  Feel free to buy supporter’s section tickets for the next game in Canada that isn’t against Ecuador though!

*The Voyageurs are the biggest group of Canadian soccer supporters.  Basically we are a bunch of Canadian soccer nerds who love reading and talking about the CMNT.

If you’d like to be part of His and Hers ever expanding group of friends who are going to be cheering together at this game, send me an email, facebook message, txt, tweet, whatever and I’ll be sure to buy a ticket for you.  You will have to pay me back though, this blogging gig isn’t that lucrative.

I’ll try to write a few more articles in the future to get more of the word out about the team and the upcoming game. If you’re interested in more information, check out canadiansoccernews.com and rednationonline.ca for everything Canadian soccer related.  If you’re interested in taking part in the conversation, check out the Voyageurs message board.

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One Response to “Why won’t Canadians cheer for their national soccer team?”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Why you should come to the Canada vs. Ecuador match on June 1 at BMO Field « hishersandtheirs - May 4, 2011

    […] in the background.  Plus, you can show some good ole national pride for the Maple Leaf.  See my post last week pertaining to this […]

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