Canadian soccer triumvirate
Gerry Dobson Blog
I found it interesting that Toronto FC, the Vancouver Whitecaps, and the Montreal Impact were meeting to discuss all things soccer.
On the surface it might seem quiet, but behind the scenes there is a flurry of activity. They didn't want to make a big deal of it, but senior management from the three clubs including Impact President Joey Saputo, Whitecaps President Bob Lenarduzzi and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment COO Tom Anselmi met at BMO Field before Toronto's 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls.
Here's what I can tell you: The three teams want to work together on player development and other things including friendly matches. Collectively they carry a ton of clout. Without purposely doing so, they are working themselves into position to shape the game in this country for years to come. Perhaps it's just nature running its course. In Montreal, Saputo has already talked casually with Montreal Canadiens and Liverpool owner George Gillette about finding common ground. This could mean having the legendary England club train in Montreal and play the Impact at their soon to be completed soccer specific stadium (Natural grass by the way. In fact, it's already been installed).
Vancouver Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot is willing to spend whatever money and resources are required to make his franchise as powerful as it can be. Even though we haven't heard much from them lately, I get the gut feeling there are some things about to break on the west coast.
And in Toronto season ticket renewals are running at over 95 percent. They will increase the number from the current 14,000 to around 15,000 for next year. There is by the way, a waiting list of 5,000. They are also on the verge of formulating and announcing their player development program.
Here's more: Toronto FC will again hold open tryouts this December. Watch for it to be bigger than last year, and with a higher profile. They are determined to find that hidden gem out there, if there is one.
And finally, congratulations to the Red Patch Girls. As part of the Red Patch Boys supporters club, and led by Connie Zimmer, they have produced and are selling a calendar with proceeds going to Toronto FC's official charities: Kidsport Ontario and Right to Play. Good for them. As they've been doing for the last several games, they'll be outside Gate 3 selling the calendars before the final home game October 20. You can also buy the calendar online at redpatchboys.ca.