On November 13th, the Canadian Men's National Team made its long awaited return to the West Coast, to begin the group stage of the CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Playing in front of 20,108 fans, the Team was able to squeak out a victory against long-time rival Honduras, thanks to a 38th minute goal from
Cyle Larin Will Johnson. After the match, players were vocal about their desire to play their next home match, against Mexico, also at BC Place. Flash ahead to last week, and Canada Soccer announced that BC Place would be the home of the March 25th match against powerhouse Mexico. Get your tickets here. After a long hiatus and a sudden two-game 'streak', this begs the question as to whether Vancouver, and BC Place, will become the permanent home for National Team games?
It is important to remember that the Final of the Women's World Cup was chosen to be played at BC Place rather than the potentially more obvious choices of Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton or BMO Field in Toronto. Now, to be fair, there were other reasons why BMO Field did not bid to host. The decision to have BC Place host the Final may have been seen as a bit of a test run for Vancouver's ability to host national soccer events. Often overlooked for the natural grass and windy BMO Field in populous Toronto or the cold and spacious Commonwealth Stadium, steeped in tradition, BC Place offers an interesting choice. The climate controlled environment could be seen as a positive or a negative. There were calls for Edmonton to host the Mexico game to force an ice hockey game rather than a soccer match, while Toronto has the unpredictable wind that can rush through that stadium. However, do not discount the wonderful (sarcasm) FieldTurf as a possible advantage for the Team. Vancouver is certainly populous enough to attract support for games. I am sure the Vancouver Whitecaps have been a major selling point for this argument. Vancouver also has the corporate opportunities needed these days for sporting events. It would appear that Vancouver makes a nice alternative to the other host options in Canada. So what now?
Canada has shown that it has multiple options for hosting national soccer matches with Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto. While yet to host a recent match, we could easily add Montreal to the list as they showed their hosting abilities during the CONCACAF Champions League final and the World Cup Semi-Final between United States and Germany. So, what should the plan be going forward? Should one city be the primary home for the National Team? If so, which should host and why? Should games be rotated? If rotated how should allocation of games be determined? Let us know in the poll and the comments your thoughts.