Wednesday June 1st, at Bmo Field, Canada will be playing against Ecuador in a Gold Cup warm up game. Though technically a friendly, it will affect Canada's FIFA ranking which could have a big influence on Canada's seeding for qualification for the 2014 World Cup, so as well as a good tune up for the Gold Cup, it's an important game. You should go, tickets go on general sale through ticketmaster on Monday, but you can get tickets specifically for the Canada Supporters section, through the Voyageurs which are available now. Go to the Voyageurs site to order yours now, for only $17 each.
I originally wrote the following back in September at Cruel Geography before Canada's game against Jamaica, I've reposted it with minor changes to fit the game situation, the basic message still stands.
Sporting geography can’t get much crueller, for so many reasons, than being a football supporter in Canada. There’s the fact that you generally have to call it soccer, that we don’t have a proper league of our own, and few cities have teams at any kind of high level, even within North American standards. For the national teams there’s the added factors of a struggling team (1 world cup appearance, 0 goals), "home" games that can be literally thousands of miles away, having to play in CONCACAF with all the stylistic and refereeing issues that that brings, potential star players deciding they want to play for some other country, and a governing body so inept they make the FA look like a competent, professional well oiled machine.
So with all that and many other problems, it’s no surprise that beyond a very small hardcore demographic, the general population doesn’t really care all that much, which leads to another problem, because you know who does care? Immigrants. Immigration in general is great* and I love living in Toronto with all it’s diversity and I genuinely appreciate that for pretty much every country in the world, within Canada’s big cities there’s an ex-pat community however small. The problem is though that those communities generally come from countries that care more about football than Canada does, it’s really not hard, and especially when you add in fans much more willing to travel from other cities, or from the U.S, that leads to the all too frequent situation of the "away" fans outnumbering Canadian fans in the stands.
Things have started to change, Toronto FC’s entry into MLS in 2007 ignited interest in the city which transferred over into a much more pro-Canada crowd that usual at the first game Canada played here since then, a 2008 world cup qualifier against Jamaica. Hopefully Vancouver and Montreal’s elevation to MLS level will further galvanise support among the currently undecided and lead to Canada having a choice of venues where it can be guaranteed a favourable crowd, leading to more success, leading to a better FIFA ranking, leading to easier qualifying groups and eventually to world cup qualification. Huzzah.
So this is where you come in, Canada’s playing Ecuador in Toronto on Wednesday June 1st. Cheap tickets are now available in the Canadian Supporters section. You don’t care that much about soccer? Fair enough. You don’t give a crap about TFC? Fair enough. But you like Canada right? Remember the Olympics and how much fun it was cheering on Canadians in so many different sports that you know full well you’ll never ever watch outside the Olympics? Why not do that live? Cheer Canada on, just imagine your smugness when Canada qualifies the world cup and you can tell all the newbies “yeah, I’ve been going to games since 2011”. You know it makes sense.
*I’m an immigrant myself, my first real moment of Canadian pride and patriotism was the 2000 Gold cup, that golden goal quarter final winner against Mexico. Awesome. If Canada ever played England, or Great Britain, who would I support? Depends on the sport. Football? 100% Canada, no doubt. Canada beating England in football could only possibly be surpassed in hilarity by Great Britain beating Canada at hockey.