So I get to write about WoSo and the CSA again. Woo hoo! And this time it is good news, the Women’s World Cup is coming to North America.
Just like the Men’s 2026 World Cup it will be a co-hosted event. Which is great, because the more we share the wealth, the faster the game grows. (In Concacaf inclusion doesn’t have to include any of the 38 members that aren’t already hosting a Men’s World Cup). Concacaf needs that to keep up with Europe and the World. And this is perfect because the game needs a shot in the arm up here in Canada. This is just the ticket. Plus we will now get more use out of all the stupidly expensive renovations to BMO.
What’s the Plan?
Ok, so let’s have a look at the plan. Let’s see, so the bid was officially announced on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023. And looks like they got it in just under the wire. The deadline was Wednesday, April 19th, 2023. Kind of like my old homework timelines (and current writing pieces).
So, looking through the details here…and, um. Wait what?!
It’s the USA & Mexico bidding only? Weird. Because we are making such a good team on the Men’s World Cup Joint Bid. What the heck? Ok deep breaths.
There must be a logical explanation for this. Let’s see, there must be a rule about how often a nation can host the Cup. I mean it would only be 12 years between this World Cup and the 2015 World Cup that Canada hosted. Remember that one? It was the most successful Women’s World Cup in History. Huge attendance, played all over the nation, actually turned a profit and gave Canada Soccer a bit of a financial windfall when they really needed it. Yeah, me too. But hmmm, all I can find is that the USA hosted the Women’s World Cup in 1999 and 2003. Math ain’t a strong suit of mine, but that’s only four years, right? So it’s got to be something else. Sheesh, investigative journalism is tiring. Cracking a beer.
What Does Canada Soccer Say?
Ok, again deeper breaths. Maybe Canada opted out because they are trying to get their soccer house in order first. Yeah, that makes sense. Take a step back from the big stage, get your head on straight and come out stronger than ever. Let’s see what Canada Soccer’s press release has to say,
“We wish our close neighbours the best of luck in their bid to host the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Given we were recent hosts, Canada Soccer has not been part of these conversations and was never put in a position to decline a co-hosting opportunity.”
Hmm. A little mixed in the messaging there, no? I can see Canada Soccer crying in the shower as they run over the conversation, that might have been, in their head.
“Congratulations, but it would have been nice to at least get a phone call. Is this because we have ‘baggage.’ Who doesn’t? Guess our throuple experiment is over, huh? Well I hope you’re both happy, you got what you wanted. You broke my heart!” (Before you think I am being a little stereotypical because this is about a Women’s World Cup, and I have the protagonist crying in the shower, let me remind you that this is actually a lot stereotypical. Because Canada Soccer is was run by men who are very emotional when they don’t get their way, and men can be big emotional babies, that’s my stereotype. (See Dr. Nick on his knees, or talking about Sincy; or me when there is no more ice cream, or it’s my night on dishes, or Forge loses). And I know you are about to say the President of Canada Soccer is a woman! At least the angry dudes are. And yup, you’re correct. And she has been in the role for a hot (unexpected) minute as a result of some dude’s severe mismanagement of the place. She is basically a high-profile janitor appointed to clean up an impossible mess: Take this mop, I’m out – said Dr. Nick, probably (This is not an actual quote, just a probable response dreamed up by a wannabe comedian and soccer fan who now has access to a sportsblog. But probably very accurate, nonetheless).
S. 2 Ep. 21: Canada Doing What Canada Does – FC13 Podcast
Other Possible Reasons
Maybe it’s a case of we didn’t even want to host anyway. I mean what’s in it for us? The US will probably get all the important games (See World Cup 2026 schedule). Yeah, that must be it. Lesser games in smaller stadiums, not worth it. Of course, we’d probably get Canada’s games, and since we struggle to even get friendlies at home, that would be massive. But what about the costs for having real grass at stadiums? No, I know Toronto and Montreal have MLS stadiums with real grass, and BC Place could look at the value of having real grass installed for two years in a row in a place that can pack in over 55,000 fans. I mean we’d have to prove we could pack in those kind of numbers first, of course. See here. Ok, wait, what was my excuse again. Why doesn’t Canada want this?
Ok, let that go. There has to be some real reason the cool kids didn’t invite us. Maybe we just aren’t a big enough soccer nation yet. But that’s impossible. I mean we head coached the champions of both of those nation’s pro WoSo leagues.(See this other thing I wrote). So we have arrived no? We have a Gold Medal and a couple of Bronzes too (that we had to win, silver medal losers!). And much like the USA and Mexico our pro women’s soccer league would really benefit from the hype around the a local World Cup. (Sorry it is here that the editor would like to point out that Canada does not currently have a Women’s Pro Soccer League). Ok, so that hurts my argument a bit. But hey, Project 8 is out there. And Canada Soccer has shown that they are all the way behind women’s initiatives. (Why does everything I write about Canada Soccer and WoSo read like sarcasm? humph?!). So the soccer nation discussion. Without a league of our own, it is hard to call us real players on the World Stage. Sigh.
But this can’t be it. Because with Project 8 scheduled to kick off before the 2026 World Cup, and the Commissioner of the CPL Mark Noonan reiterating that he sees WoSo as a business not a charity, this has to be the time to get on this stuff. And let’s face it, with Canada Soccer Business having signed that deal that sees them get a healthy cut of CanXNT derived marketing, not building a Women’s Professional League under CSB would be a bad look. I am sure they are in talks with Project 8 now, right? They’ve gotta be.
Who Can Help Us Get an Invite?
Still I can’t believe our buddies in Concacaf went behind our back like that. With all our issues we’re still the Three Musketeers, right? Or at least the Three Amigos (We’re Martin Short, called it!). If only we’d had a mole on the inside, who could have sniffed out something like this in advance, gave Canada Soccer a head’s up, and helped draft a letter as to how we could benefit the process. I don’t know, someone like a former CSA President who got a cushy last-minute gig at Concacaf. Or even a former CSA General Secretary that currently works overseeing a similar bid for the Men’s World Cup. (Nick and Peter, I know you can hear me, I know you aren’t really on the phone with anyone, hang up).
But I’m just kidding, we don’t even need to bother you. Because we’ve got an ace-in-the-hole. Victor Montagliani. He is the boss of the whole place and a FIFA VP. They, ostensibly have to run these moves past him before they go public, right? I mean he is the Big Kahuna.
So Mr. Montagliani, we know your record on WoSo in Canada is excellent. You told us about subsidizing pro player’s salaries in NWSL, and the surplus you guys built from the 2015 World Cup during the Parliamentary Hearings. And I assume in your talks with what would later become Canada Soccer Business about building a new partnership back in 2017-18 or so, that you mentioned how important it would be to get pro WoSo started in full since the CSB/CSA deal would merge monies from the marketing of both national teams and after being so successful in 2015, even turning a surplus to benefit Canada Soccer according to Concacaf it would look bad if you didn’t:
“The economic activity spurred by Canada 2015 resulted in a very healthy financial outlook for Canada Soccer in 2016, with a reported $2.9 million surplus under the guidance of then-Canada Soccer President Victor Montagliani, who now serves as President of Concacaf.”
Sorry to have to back that up with a quote, but it seemed like it needed something with gravitas. Somrthing newspaper-y.
It should be noted that you were also around for the Birarda Abuse Scandal, the loss of generational stars like Charmaine Hooper because of our forced, single-stream approach, and positive yet awkward thing recently at Concacaf. You created a new Concacaf W Champions League for launch in 2023-24, without any plans for Pro WoSo being in place in Canada. In fact that article cites designs on improving the Costa Rican and Jamaican WoSo leagues to avoid embarrassments. Man, at least they have leagues.
At any rate, it seems impossible that the President of the Continental Federation that oversees USA and Mexico in Continental Footy wouldn’t even hear whisperings of this, doesn’t it?
Oh no, are we being cut out of the cool table in the cafeteria? Are we gonna have to start a burn book? I am ready to Mean Girls our way back into relevancy, who’s with me? (Shout out to Rachel McAdams, a real Canadian treasure!).
Probably a Bunch of Reasons
Look, in the end there are a host of reasons we may not have been invited to the 2027 World Cup North America bid. Maybe three teams is too big for a smaller tournament (Editor: No go, Germany, Belgium Netherlands have a joint bid). We already shot down the “too soon” argument. Maybe there is a rule about having to have a WoSo pro league in place (but I still haven’t found that rule officially in the Men’s Bid). Maybe we just don’t have the soccer infrastructure (Oh dang, I already laid out the 2015 World Cup information didn’t I? Editor: See above – What’s the Plan? and Who Can Help Us Get an Invite?). Hmm, I’m stumped.
Unless it has something to do with a soccer federation and its players locked in labour disputes, potential job actions and poorly run job actions; little investment in WoSo compared to its level of success on the World Stage; the recent firing/resigning of a Canada Soccer President in ignominy; and/or the general malaise in the state of soccer in Canada during our Golden Generations.
It’s a real headscratcher. But hopefully a whole lot of poor press releases, complaining in the press and general rioting on social media will help get this sorted out.
Glad I could help.
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