It's a weird weekend, this one. No Whitecaps (regular season) match to reflect on, no youth match to have been drenched at, jeez... not even a practice to drive the kid to. It MUST be March - we're pretty much in the only four-week stretch of the year where we're not immersed in the beautiful game - or a rough approximation thereof.
What the heck am I going to write about? Well, in order to bring you all the news that's print to fit, it's going to be a bit of a hodgepodge: buckshot...all over the place, 12-gauge style. So buckle up, grab a fistful of your favorite warm beverage, and let's get started:
What's with the Whining?
In the days leading up to and again after the Columbus match, I came across a couple instances of complaints about the turf quality at BC Place. Naturally, these came from the Columbus media, who are probably just cranky since they have to work games at Crew Stadium, which cost only 28.5 million, and looks every bit the part.
True, it's got a lovely grass pitch, and was the first soccer-specific stadium built in Major League Soccer. But at 13 years old, it's already starting to show it's age, and considering that it doesn't look any better than Empire 2.0 (built for only half the price), who could blame the Columbusites, or is it Columbusonians? If any of them bother reading here, I hope they stop by and read this piece in the Province newspaper, or perhaps the more technical brief available here.
Kobayashi (Koby-Wan) Wins It
In case you missed it, Vancouver's Daigo Kobayashi was awarded with the MLS Goal of the Week in fan voting this past week. He took it by the narrowest of margins, garnering 40% of the fan votes, while Montreal's Hassoun Camara got 39% for his bicycle kick effort. If you've really been living under a rock for the past little while, here's a look at Kobayashi's GOTW.
Nice Little Resource
Sometimes, stumbling around the internet aimlessly pays off. I have no idea how I came across it, but The Stadium Guide is quite a handy resource - whether you want to find out the seating capacity at St. James' Park, or how to get to Rio Tinto by public transit, this site is packed with details. Covering stadia in more than 45 countries around the world, including great venues of the past, the best of the modern era, and even those sites still on the drawing board, The Stadium Guide pretty much has it all. The only quibble I might have is that it doesn't indicate whether the pitch is grass, turf, or -if you're from Columbus - acid-dipped razor blades cast in reinforced concrete.
Youth Soccer in Canada: Quo Vadis?
If you know what LTPD stands for, you're probably already in on the debate, and the name Jason deVos is a familiar one. For those who don't, the Canadian Soccer Association's Long-Term Player Development is a development and training model and program which aims to "...optimize Canadian excellence and lifelong wellness through soccer."
DeVos is a very highly-respected voice in the Canadian soccer mosaic, a man who played professional soccer here and abroad at the highest levels for almost two decades. He's an analyst for TSN, and has done broadcast work with the CBC and GOLTV. When he talks, not everyone might agree, but pretty much everyone listens.
A staunch proponent of LTPD, DeVos has generated a lot of discussion lately - particularly with regard to one hot-button element within the much larger scope the entire LTPD opus: the proposed elimination of standings in youth soccer below U12. For those of us in B.C., this is already the case, so there's nothing inflammatory about it, but in Ontario the issue has ignited into a raging debate about just what constitutes development, competition, success, and accomplishment. DeVos's It's Time to Change..., Dispelling the Myth..., and An Analogy for Parents make for compelling reading. If you'd like to find out more about the CSA and LTPD, click here.
A little of everything in this incarnation of Sunday Morning Scribe. I look forward to your comments, which I'll read as soon as I finish scrubbing off the back deck!