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A Thought for the Future

I'm sitting here, at 12:42 in the Pacific morning, with a bottle of Wiser's in me, watching New Zealand lead Bahrain 1-0.

You know what? In four years, that'll be us.

Come back with me to 2006. The Gold Cup triumph is two yaers in our past. Holger Osieck has officially failed. The Frankallop Yalop era is a hideous miasma of favouritism and failure. There are no youth academies, no professional sides above USL-1 level and the three we have there are strictly local in outlook and ambition. The national team is a punchline. The Canadian Soccer Association? A land of infighting and provincial politics.

Today, we have Toronto FC, the great professional success story. We have the Vancouver Whitecaps academy system creating genuine prospects from whole cloth and both Toronto and the Impact moving to emulate them. The national team has fewer superstars but more depth than it has ever imagined, and instead of the big names with small price tags we've brought back the era of foreign-born managers with ambitious minds and the respect of the players. The CSA is scheduling friendlies and building the game, and even if there is that provincial infighting Peter Montopouli is perhaps the single best thing ever to happen to Canadian soccer.

Huge strides in three years! We are light years ahead, from top to bottom, of where we were. And the process is acceleration. We were unlucky to do as badly as we did in this qualification cycle, but fofr the 2014 cycle I firmly believe that will reverse itself.

Call me an optimist. But watching New Zealand this morning, it's hard not to be one.