Okay westerners, listen up.
It's time to stop holding your breath for the Canadian men's team to play somewhere out west, and there is no further good reason to continue being resentful of Toronto and Montreal.
First, most of our men's squad plays in Europe. That's usually an eight to nine hour plane ride one-way from there to Western Canada. While most of our women's team play all across North America, the same can't be said for our men. Sure, Will Johnson, Andre Hainault and Terry Dunfield are in MLS...but what about Simeon Jackson, David Edgar or Tosaint Ricketts? Do they not count?
The time zones that those players have to cross is already staggering...and if the science saying that it takes one day to recover for each time zone crossed is correct -- well, that's a lot of days that Europe-based players DON'T have, especially if they were traveling for, say, a World Cup qualifying match. So why do we want to subject our players to that sort of stress? Any disadvantage we have, why add to it?
Would you prefer that someone like Tosaint Ricketts have to travel from his team in Timisoara, Romania to Toronto (seven time zones), or to Vancouver (ten time zones away)? Those three extra time zones to overcome could be the difference between a well-refreshed and prepared Tosaint, or a still travel-weary striker? I know what I'd want.
And I think I've made the point about the turf before, haven't I? No matter how much fuss you make about the turf being a 2-star FIFA certified whatever...the team sees that argument as worthless as a hill of beans. And frankly, all of the western stadiums are turf (you can thank the CFL for that), which doesn't exactly make those guys feel any better about playing there, does it? Think about it -- if you live three hours away from your office, and you have a terrible workspace, does it make you any more thrilled to work there? I didn't think so.
You want them to come back? For one, let's work on the local authorities -- start bombarding Pavco, and the offices of City Councillors and mayors of Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg. Tell them that as voters, that the stadiums need to start be more welcoming to soccer/football, and that they start considering installing grass, or start preparing a soccer-specific stadium. One voice, united in a large group, can get something done.
So Stephen Hart said that Toronto feels like home for the men's team. The above two reasons are probably the motivation why. Just stop hating already, okay? Either get the real grass back at Commonwealth, or installed at BC Place and McMahon, or the West will be out in the cold forever -- don't hate on BMO or Saputo, hate your local authorities instead.
I know it's a pain -- but we're all still Voyageurs, right? And we want the best for our lads...and if it means them having to play out East, then despite my proud Western roots, I'm ready to sacrifice it for the better of our nation. It's what our founding fathers would've wanted...right?
Either way, stop bitching, and let's start doing something about it...we can't help the geography, but we can certainly start with the venues!