Canada to Play Friendly at BMO Again (or: Well, I Never!)

By Benjamin Massey

February 19th, 2013 · 3 comments

What a shock: the Canadian Soccer Association has a completely new set of reasons why BMO Field is the only possible venue for the latest national team home game. Nothing ever changes.

The Canadian Soccer Association has announced that the much-anticipated home return of the Canadian women’s national team will be held at BMO Field[1]. Huh. Who would have guessed?

There was a time when I ranted angrily about the Canadian Soccer Association sticking it to 90% of Canada at every opportunity. But this has become too much business-as-usual for me to feel the old rage. It’s just exasperation, now; a few hundred words of “Jesus Christ, this is stupid”. A national facepalm.

Eleven of the eighteen home games by any senior Canadian national team since 2010 men’s World Cup qualifying have been at BMO Field[2]; five of the seven exceptions were CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifiers held in January 2012 when playing at BMO was impossible (remember that Toronto was unable to play a CONCACAF Champions League match at BMO as late as March[3]). The only two occasions since 2008 when the Canadian Soccer Association played outside of BMO Field by choice were the men on September 7, 2010 in Montreal against Honduras and the women on May 30, 2012 in Moncton against China.

Small wonder. In January, Duane Rollins of The 24th Minute reported that the Canadian Soccer Association signed contracts in 2005 and 2011 which encouraged the CSA to playing as many games as possible at BMO Field[4]. This at least provided an explanation beyond sheer bloody-mindedness for the CSA’s “heads Toronto wins, tails Canada loses” mentality: the way there was always some excuse, differing every game, for why BMO Field was really the only place Canada could possibly play.

Not that this stopped Peter Montopoli from telling Daniel Squizzato how the Americans “preferred an east-coast environment this time around” and how “when it came down to that decision, you’re looking at the opportunity and the availability” and that “we like to play in Toronto” (you don’t say)[5]. Toronto isn’t actually on the east coast, it’s hard to imagine why BMO Field is perfect whereas Stade Saputo, a 2015 Women’s World Cup host venue, is unsuitable (the Impact play on the road the day before), and why are we working our national soccer strategy around making the Americans as comfortable as possible anyway? They’re a poor choice of opponent, as John Herdman will be unable to keep up his semi-rebuild-for-2015 strategy against them, and the last time we played a women’s friendly against the Americans our ladies traveled to Sandy, Utah, which is a damned sight more “out there” than Edmonton.

At least the past 24 hours have again shown why Vancouver Whitecaps fans shouldn’t worry about how many Canadians the ‘Caps run out. We may all like cheering for locals, but I’m referring to those who think the Whitecaps’ failure to use affirmative action to prop up the rotten Canadian structure is some sort of moral failing. Those mad dogs first got to see our U-20 national team humiliated by Cuba (Cuba!!!) 2-1, a deserved Cuban win in spite of a national hype engine saying this was our strongest team in ages because MLS ACADEMEEZ. Now the CSA is once again reminding us that those of us outside Toronto barely exist when it comes time to make decisions. Making an argument that the Whitecaps should sign provably-inferior players for the satisfaction of fans at BMO Field looks even stupider than usual today.

So yeah, nothing has changed and there’s no reason to believe anything ever will. Do you see why I can’t keep up the proper, incandescent rage that’s so much fun to read? After four years of this it gets sort of hard to do more than mock and sigh. Mammas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Canadian soccer supporters.

[1] — Canadian Soccer Association. “Canada WNT set for June showdown against USA at BMO Field.”, February 19, 2013. Accessed February 19, 2013.

[2] — All Canadian international fixture information from: Canadian Soccer Association. “Fixtures.” Accessed February 19, 2013.

[3] — “Toronto FC to use Rogers Centre for Champions League opener.”, December 21, 2011. Accessed February 19, 2013.

[4] — Rollins, Duane. “MLSE withholds nearly $500,000 from CSA for failure to play games at BMO Field.” The 24th Minute, January 9, 2013. Accessed February 19, 2013.

[5] — Squizzato, Daniel. “Get ready for The Rematch: CanWNT v. USWNT on June 2.” Some Canadian Guys Writing About Soccer, February 19, 2013. Accessed February 19, 2013.

Comments are closed.

3 responses to “Canada to Play Friendly at BMO Again (or: Well, I Never!)”

  1. jono says:

    I’ll quibble with one number: realistically the proportion of Canada screwed by having BMO Field as a de facto home base is closer to 80% than to 90%; nearly 6 million people live in the GTA alone.

    Other than that, bang on. There is an argument to be made for Toronto in some instances, but certainly not in this one.

  2. Russell Berrisford says:

    So the men play in Toronto because they prefer it and the women play in Toronto because their opponents prefer it?

    Makes sense.

  3. Ken Jamieson says:

    Using Toronto’s population as a reason for hosting games is irrelevant so long as the fans fail to show up for the games. Maybe if the National Teams wore Toronto Maple Leaf uniforms the lemmings of the GTA would flock to BMO.
    I can only hope that Edmonton builds a suitable soccer stadium in the next few years, the ladies have always done well and gotten good support out here.