Well, after all that Canada excitement dies down for another month or so, it's time to turn our attention back to good old Toronto FC. Just a couple of MLS games remain until the league campaign is put to a merciful end with a 5th straight playoff free season. But of course those games sandwich what pretty much everyone is now on board with calling the most important game of the season, if not TFC's entire existence, the final CCL group game against FC Dallas, a genuine must win game. TFC's website is rather amusingly abandoning the old footballing cliche of taking things one game at a time and is pretty much ignoring this saturday's game against Philadelphia to hype up the Dallas game and their Real Sports viewing party.
The other thing they do manage to promote on the main page is the big news of the last week and a half while no-one was paying attention, and it is genuinely very good news, and that is that work is starting on the new academy training Centre up at Downsview Park. This is where TFC will teach the children of TFC's future well, and let them lead the way, where they'll be shown all the beauty they possess inside, and given a sense of pride to make things easier, where their laughter will remind us how we used to be, all that good stuff Whitney Houston talked about.
Bad cultural references aside (and if I'd found a good clip of that Simpson's 'Children! Future!' song online, you're damn right that would be here as well) it is a very good thing, and the timing of it coming after Ashtone Morgan became the first academy grad to make it to the Canada team is perfect. MLSE put a good chunk of change in to this, and though they do seem alarmingly keen on the potential financial windfall of transfer fees coming their way, they should certainly be commended for that., as this will be a major part of future success for TFC and Canada as well.
I firmly believe that TFC as well as Vancouver and Montreal getting into MLS and starting up or improving their academy systems will be huge for the national team. There's now a much more organised and visible path towards a professional football career for talented young Canadian kids, they won't have to suffer from substandard coaching, or give up the game to focus on hockey of baseball or something else instead, or move overseas at a young age. All those things will mean more talented players in Canada and available and willing to play for Canada.
Look at the success that non traditional footballing nations like the US, Australia and Japan have had at the national level since making improvements to their infrastructure domestically, they've gone from struggling, very similar to where Canada is at now, to regularly qualifying for the World Cup, and often getting past the group stage. Ideally Canada would be able to have it's own domestic league with plenty of teams and academies across the country, but logistically, that's a long way off if it ever happens, so piggybacking along with MLS is the best alternative. These developments won't have an effect for 2014, and probably not even 2018, but I think from 2022 onwards Canada will regularly qualify for the World Cup, and be firmly entrenched in Concacaf's top 3, and it's projects like this that will make it happen.