Oh. Canada.

Unlike some of the other Reno dads associated with this site, I enjoy soccer.  It’s not my favorite sport, it’s not my second favorite, but it’s in the running. This means that while they have their boys at Little League, my son enjoys running around and kicking at or around a ball. It’s already apparent that he’ll never be Messi, but almost equally clear that he would literally growl and charge him.

Monday it was announced that the United States, Canada, and Mexico are submitting a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup, and my mind immediately started to dance at the possibilities. There are 100 reasons to be thrilled about this, namely that my son will be 15, and taking him to as many games as possible already sounds like a top 10 highlight for my life. Virtually nothing could change that fact. (Not even that we would be hosting the 2022 Cup were it not for FIFA just COMPLETELY scrapping any question about the depths of their corrupt depravity.)

Yet one factor has managed to temper my joy: the inclusion of a tag-a-long.

Given the political strife of the last six months, the unity play seems like a very smart hedge for the U.S., which could otherwise have a great chance at a solo bid. Take away my immediate (and well founded) suspicion of all things related to international soccer, it even seems like sharing a World Cup would be a sincerely good opportunity for bonding… between the United States and Mexico.

Qualifier: I bear no ill will towards our northern brethren. They are a friendly people populating a strong trading partner and committed ally. I work for the U.S. subsidiary of a great Canadian company.

Question: why the hell is Canada included in this World Cup bid?

The U.S. and Mexico would be the perfect World Cup pair. Given recent rancor between the two, and FIFA’s omnipresent circle jerk PR campaign about the unifying nature of soccer, wouldn’t a joint Cup be exactly what the doctor ordered?

“The passion of Mexico; the promise of America.”

No one needs “The ‘Me, too!’ of Canada.”

It turned the whole process into an unsatisfactory mess. The current proposal to FIFA includes a split of 60 games for the U.S, with 10 each for Mexico and Canada. This has not been a popular breakdown in all corners. Nor should it be.

Mexico has an incredible love for soccer–with a tradition that dwarfs our own–and millions of the most psychotic committed fans on the planet. With a capacity of 87,000, world [in]famous Estadio Azteca could proudly host a quarter of the World Cup games. With favorable scheduling, 30% would be manageable. That’s a real partner, and a hand extended to a neighboring nation that lacks the infrastructure to host on its own. Twenty four World Cup games hosted by the largest city in the hemisphere.

The U.S. could manage the rest tomorrow. Without argument, there is no country in the world as qualified to host the tournament as the United States. We could host several at once. Our mega-stadium count is ridiculous; the aforementioned Azteca would be 8th largest in just the Southeastern Football Conference. Our last World Cup set an attendance record that still stands; the new one will shatter it. Sharing 20-24 games with our southern neighbor would be a testament of openness and American magnanimity.

In its place we have the tundra.

Canada brings absolutely nothing to the table. They have no tradition of men’s soccer.  They have a whopping 35 million people, a population that collectively remembers soccer exactly once every 4 years. It does not have a single stadium that would land in the top 80 in the U.S.  California would objectively be a better partner on its own. So would either Texas or Florida. The greater Mexico City area has a population equal to 60% of Canada.

Where should the blame fall? 100% upon the United States.

We’re running the show, and have been since day one. If Canada got an ice-skate in the door, it’s because some idiot at U.S. Soccer took a bribe pity on the North Pole. Now we’re stuck with a deal that shortchanges Mexico, makes us look greedy, and has CONCAFAF already bullying FIFA not to accept any counter-bids. Quite the effort just to include a country’s soccer federation that was too cheap to install real grass for the Women’s World Cup.

Rant over.  I think I’m funny, but the real joke here is my credibility.  For all the snark, FIFA still wins. I’ve already put in dibs for a place to crash in L.A.–under the assumption they even get games–nearly a decade from now. I’ll crack jokes about my countrymen wearing Follower USA Scarves. Given my son will then be virtually brainless 15 years old, he’ll probably be wearing one. I’ll spend thousands on tickets.

At least I’ll [maturely] do so with a Cheshire Cat grin, following Canada’s ugly first round exit.

One Comment Add yours

  1. David Bradfield says:

    I was not aware Canada had a national soccer team. Either way, I’d go as far as us not needing Canada for anything other than affordable prescription drugs. Hell, they don’t even get the ice skate in the door to even the NHL playoffs anymore!

Leave a Reply