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Northern Exposure: TSN ranks the 10 best Canadian men’s national team players

What else went down in Canada Soccer land? Here’s your weekly wrap up.

Alphonso Davies celebrates a goal against the U.S. in Canada’s historic win over their rival Americans at BMO Field
(Canada Soccer)

Team Canada webinar sold out

In an effort to continue to engage the Canadian soccer community during this time of social distancing Canada Soccer has launched its new Canada Soccer Nation Inside platform. This platform contains online content to unite players, coaches, referees, volunteers, and fans who are doing their part to stay inside and off the pitch.

On April 4, Men’s National Team coach John Herdman hosted a webinar with over 1000 participants in attendance. The webinar was an overview of the Excel Tactical Framework that Team Canada utilizes during their matches. The goal is to educate coaches and players about the tactical philosophies utilized by the national team so more synergy can be developed between Canada Soccer and the youth development leagues across the country.

The webinar was so popular that it sold out which was amazing to see. It shows a real interest in the sport as it continues to grow in Canada. But not to worry, a second webinar has already been scheduled for May 2 (3pm ET). Registration is free and anyone can attend. Sign up soon so you don’t miss your spot.

Ranking the 10 best CanMNT players

TSN Soccer recently released their list of the top 10 players on the Canadian Men’s National Team. It was no surprise that Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David finished first and second respectively. What is a bit of a concern though is that no defenders made the list. Coach John Herdman was asked about his thoughts regarding this situation. According to coach Herdman, “It sort of points towards what a great challenge the country has.” Canada will need to address its defensive line if it hopes to have successful campaigns moving forward.

MLS celebrates 25 years

Apr 6 marked the 25 year anniversary of the first official Major League Soccer (MLS) regular season match between the San Jose Clash and DC United. 10 teams started in the league back in 1996, today that number is 26. As far as when the Canadian teams joined the league, Toronto FC joined in 2007, the Vancouver Whitecaps joined in 2011 and the Montreal Impact joined in 2012.

The MLS website recently posted an amazing article outlining the history of that inaugural season including video clips and audio interviews from past and present players and coaches.

Nations League Finals suspended

Concacaf released a statement saying that they are suspending the Nations League Finals indefinitely. The semi-finals and the final match were originally scheduled to take place in the Houston and Dallas areas between June 4-7. Until new dates are announced the final four teams (Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, USA) will have to wait.

Although Canada was knocked out of the competition in the group phase, they were planning to use the international window in June to play more friendly fixtures as they chase FIFA ranking points. But with all the uncertainty in the world it is still undetermined whether or not the current qualification structure out of the Concacaf region will remain the same, or if it will undergo a change to accommodate the lack of international games being played through the first half of 2020.

Canadian alternative to a cancelled league

USL League 2 (USL-2) recently announced the withdrawal of its Northwest Division from the 2020 season. The USL is an American league with various divisions that is part of the larger American soccer pyramid. There were three Canadian Teams (TSS Rovers, Victoria Highlanders, Calgary Foothills) competing in the Northwest Division over the past few seasons.

The Victoria Highlanders announced that they were not going to take part in the 2020 season. This is because they were instead planning to compete in the Pacific Coast Soccer League in preparation to join the new League 1 BC (L1BC) which will most likely kick off its inaugural season in the spring of 2021. L1BC will be the equivalent in BC to the Première Ligue de Soccer du Québec (PLSQ) in Quebec and League 1 Ontario in Ontario. Basically, a semi-pro league that players can join as they continue to develop towards higher level leagues such as the CPL and MLS.

The two remaining Canadian teams were planning on taking part in the USL-2 this season which unfortunately means there is no longer a league for them to play in. But there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Calgary Foothills released a statement on Apr 3 announcing the formation of what they are calling an “exhibition season”. Apparently this exhibition league will be composed of teams exclusively from Canada. We are still waiting on the details like which teams will play in the league and what the schedule will be.