Imagine, for a moment, June 2018. The World Cup is set to kick off in Russia and the globe is preparing for yet another spectacle of football. Fans embark on long journeys, playing squads start arriving at their destinations, and Russia is buzzing with the sense of excitement that only football can bring.
In Toronto, it is a beautiful, sunny day. The local team, Toronto FC, has just gone on a mid-season break, as is customary during the World Cup. Bars and Restaurant are awash with colour, as they await the football to begin. However, there is just one key difference, this time around. The colours that you see all around the town are not those of Italy, Portugal, or Germany, they are the colours of our beloved national team.
Decorated are cars with flags of the great red Maple Leaf and there is the feeling of national pride that goes with being at the World Cup. Excitement can be heard in all corners of the city, where the daily topic of conversation is seemingly Canada's chances at the World Cup. No one believes that we can win it, but everyone is excited at the prospect of having our nation play in the largest sporting event in human history.
As the days count down to Canada's opening game, preparations are being made in the city to accommodate large viewing parties. Bars will be packed, communal gatherings will take place, and Maple Leaf square will be filled with thousands of fans. Organizers have arranged for entertainment before and after the match and prior to kick-off, Toronto-born superstar, Drake, will be leading the celebrations in Maple Leaf square.
There will be tension, euphoria, and bedlam if Canada scores a goal. It will be a proper celebration of Canadian football. So long have the soccer people in this country been starved of any kind of success, that World Cup 2018 is a joy ride from reality. Not only is the participation of the Canadian Men's National Team a huge deal for the soccer fans in Canada, but also for the average person who calls Canada home. Many will travel to Russia to take in the World Cup in person, but those that stay back will add to the atmosphere in Canada's cities. Our whole country will be behind the national team until the end.
In Russia, the national team will feature many players that have graduated from the Toronto FC academy. These are local lads from the likes of Oakville, Mississauga, and other areas of the GTA that will get to strut their stuff on a world stage. There is a sense of pride in seeing your own succeed. It cannot be matched by cheering for a European powerhouse.
When World Cup 2018 gets underway, Canada is the only team that matters and we will be supporting OUR players and OUR countrymen. For one month in the summer of 2018, our support will be a testament to how much we love this country, no matter where our backgrounds bring us from.
Let's make WC2018 a reality!
Onward and upward Canada!