Canada

Canada

  • Capital: Ottawa
  • Official Languages: English, French
  • Nicknames: The Canucks; Les Rouges (The Reds)
  • Association: Canadian Soccer Association / Association canadienne de soccer
  • FIFA Code: CAN

Records

  • Best World Cup Result (Men): Group Stage (1986)
  • Best World Cup Result (Women): Fourth Place (2003)
  • Best Gold Cup Result (Men): WINNERS (1985, 2000)
  • Best Gold Cup Result (Women): WINNERS (1998, 2010)
  • Highest FIFA Ranking (Men): 40th (December 1996)
  • Highest FIFA Ranking (Women): 4th (Various)
  • Lowest FIFA Ranking (Men): 122nd (August & October 2014)
  • Lowest FIFA Ranking (Women): 13th (December 2005)
  • Most Capped Player: Christine Sinclair – 296 caps [as of Feb 2021]
  • Top Scorer: Christine Sinclair – 186 goals [as of Feb 2021]

Canada is the most northernly and largest country (in terms of area) within CONCACAF, stretching between the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. The grand country’s history with football is surprisingly lengthy with football being played in the (then) Dominion as early as 1877, and playing an unofficial international against their southern neighbours, the USA, in 1885. Although traditionally one of the ‘big three’ in the CONCACAF region, they are not as successful as their southern neighbours having only qualified for just one World Cup, the 1986 edition held in Mexico, but they have won the regional competition (the CONCACAF Gold Cup) on two occasions, most recently in 2000. Nonetheless the men’s team has underperformed in recent years, but with an exciting generation of young Canadian players coming through and making an impact in European football (like Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David), there is hope that Canada’s performances will improve especially when they jointly-host the 2026 World Cup.

However the Canadian women’s team is considered to be one of the best teams in women’s football, having such talented players as Kadeisha Buchanan, Adriana Leon, and led by the legendary forward Christine Sinclair. They too have won the CONCACAF regional championships, most recently in 2010, whilst appearing in seven World Cups – their best performance was finishing fourth in the 2003 edition, whilst also hosting the 2015 World Cup. In addition, the women’s side have won two bronze medals in the Olympics with the Les Rouges winning bronze in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic football tournaments.

To talk about the two-time Gold Cup winners, and one of the potentially exciting teams in both men’s and women’s football, we interviewed Canadian Soccer History Archives, an account that brings ‘Canada’s soccer history together in one place‘. To find their social media accounts and website, follow the links below:

In addition, we also interviewed the excellent Football Manager creator, scootR (aka Jeremy) about his opinions on Les Rouges. Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, scootR is a Valour FC and Weymouth FC supporter who regularly streams his excellent Football Manager saves on Twitch where he has a big following, as well as producing FM-based blogs for ‘All For The Club‘. To find his Twitch account, blog, and social media accounts, follow the links below:

Q. Who would you say is your country’s best player and coach/manager of all-time, and the reasonings behind the choices?

Tony Waiters

CSHA: Men’sTony Waiters – excellent at both club and country level. He took us to our only World Cup appearance in 1986.

Women’sJohn Herdman – he dragged us from a horrendous losing team to bronze medallists at the 2012 London Olympics and, let’s be honest, we should have been in the final [Canada lost 3-4 to the USA in extra time with the US’ Alex Morgan scoring a 123rd minute winner]!

Christine Sinclair

ScootR: I think the best ever player that Canada has ever had is Christine Sinclair. She is an absolute legend in Canada, but is not as well known as she deserves. Sinclair is the world’s all-time leader for international goals scored for men or women with 186 goals, and is the most-capped active international footballer with 296 caps.

Q. Who could be regarded as a ‘cult hero’ in terms of the national team both in the past and present?

Atiba Hutchinson

ScootR: For me, it would absolutely be Atiba Hutchinson. A key cog in the men’s national team during the past two decades, who continues to be seen as a key leader for his club [Turkey’s Beşiktaş] and country.

CSHA: Not sure about cult heroes but certainly the late Domenic Mobilio is widely remembered. The 1986 Men’s World Cup team also are regarded as heroes alongside the 2012 Women’s Olympic side who turned into heroes overnight. Of course we also have Christine Sinclair who holds the world record for the most international goals scored by any player.

Q. Of the current team, who would you say is the best player from the country currently?

Janine Beckie

CSHA: Phonzie all the way. Bayern’s Munich’s road runner Alphonso Davies. It’s a tough call on the women’s side with so many outstanding players at the minute: Christine Sinclair, Janine Beckie, Ashley Lawrence… I could go on.

ScootR: I think on the mens team, it’s clearly Alphonso Davies. On the women’s team, I’m a huge fan of Janine Beckie, who currently plays for Manchester City. Those would be my two picks!

Q. How would you describe the current state/performance of the national team?

Alphonso Davies

ScootR: Both teams are exciting to watch, with the women’s team always being considered within the top 5 teams in the world and having a chance of winning any tournament they enter. The men’s team is growing in a way we haven’t seen in many years, with a load of quality talent that plays in some of the toughest leagues in the world. Players like Davies and David are incredible for the program and hopefully is just the beginning!

CSHA: The men’s team is in great shape. We have so much talent in the pipeline and some top players. The women are also strong but with a new head coach just being named [former Canadian U17 and U20 manager, Bev Priestman] we have a new chapter starting there. Time will tell I guess.

Q. Are there any Canadian players who you think we should be focusing on for the future – who would you say is the most exciting up & coming talent from the country?

Cyle Larin

CSHA: We have a huge amount of up and coming talent. On the men’s side there is Alphonso Davies, of course, and Cyle Larin [25 year-old forward at Beşiktaş], but there is a lot more players following on and ready to make the step up playing in the Canadian Premier League (CPL). On the women’s side the latest SheBelieves Cup roster is packed with up and coming talent. Watch out for Sarah Stratigakis [21 year-old midfielder playing for Michigan Wolverines] and Victoria Pickett [24 year-old midfielder at Kansas City] to name just two. The future is very bright.

Sarah Stratigakis

ScootR: I think for the Canadian men’s team in particular, we need to see more domestic development opportunities for players to play close to home. With the Canadian Premier League being around and heading into its third season, the hope is that we see more options and more players who maybe wouldn’t have had a place to develop to make their mark.

Q. Looking at Canada’s international history, what would you say has been the best game, result or performance for the national team in your opinion?

ScootR: For me it’s an tough question, but with the lack of success in our men’s program, I look back at the CONCACAF Gold Cup win in 2000 as our best result as it was completely unexpected. A massive win and shocked a few in CONCACAF!

CSHA: The best results in my opinion are recently for the men; our 2-0 win over the USA in 2019 [in the CONCACAF Nations League], the golden goal win against Mexico in the 2000 Gold Cup Final, and the best performance is undoubtedly the 1-0 defeat to France in the group stage of the 1986 World Cup. For a group of players, some of whom had no club, to hold their own against a powerhouse is a pretty great achievement.

For the women, the result that really stands out (for me) was the 1-0 win over France in the 2012 Bronze medal match in the Olympics. Their performance against the USA in the semi-final match prior to that was inspirational, especially with what they had to deal with. Enough said on that though…

Q. Likewise, is there a performance or result which is regarded as the team’s lowest point?

CSHA: The lowest point for the women has to be finishing dead last in the 2011 World Cup just one year before the heroics of the Olympics. Dark days. For the men’s team too many disappointments to single just one out, so I’ll go with their record 8-0 defeat against Mexico in 1993!

ScootR: This is another tough question – I’d say the 2015 Women’s World Cup which was hosted in Canada. The women lost to England 1-2 in the quarter-finals which was disappointing, as we really hoped to get into one of the top 3 positions while we hosted the event.

Q. What are the best and worst things about being a fan of the Canadian national team?

ScootR: The best part of being a fan in this country is the vast support behind the teams themselves. Canada is an immigrant nation and it shows when you see the vibrancy in the supporters. The worst part is the size of the country, it’s expensive to get to games and support the national teams. I dream of seeing Canada in the World Cup in 2026…

CSHA: The best thing is when we pull out a huge victory like the one against the USA in 2019. It shows the forward strides that we are making. The worst is all the defeats against teams that we really should be beating.

Q. Have the fans adopted some kind of unofficial anthem to sing along to before/during/after matches?

CSHA: There are lots of chants but I don’t think there is one particular stand out song.

ScootR: I can’t answer this question YET – I haven’t had the chance to see the national teams in person! One day!

Q. Do you have a favourite or iconic shirt from the whole time of the national team?

ScootR: I’m a massive fan of the kit that Canada wore in 1983/84 (the year I was born). It’s such a nice kit, I’d love to find one or if they can remake them!

CSHA: I kinda like the one worn in 2011-12. The majority of Canada’s shirts are all either red or white so anything with a little extra is good. It’s all about opinions though!

Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of the Canadian national team?

CSHA: The hopes for the future is simply to be better. I think we are heading into a golden era for both teams. I would also like to see better scouting as a lot of players are slipping through the cracks.

ScootR: The men’s team’s dream is alive, and the dream is to QUALIFY for the World Cup in 2022 and 2026 [should FIFA not give the hosts automatic qualification, which surprisingly hasn’t been confirmed yet]. That would be a massive achievement for the men’s team. For the women, I think the hope would be to win the Women’s World Cup!

A massive merci beaucoup to the Canadian Soccer History Archives and scootR for answering our questions on the Les Rouges. Remember you can find their excellent accounts in the links at the top of the blogpage.

If you have any comments, suggestions, reactions, or even your own answers to the above questions, please write them in the comments box below. Likewise, you can either email us at the94thmin@gmail.com or send a message at @The94thMin on Twitter.

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