– Toronto FC Transfers, Trades, Signings & Rumors

TFC players support MLS expansion in Canada
March 14, 2009, 9:23 AM
Filed under: MLS Expansion, Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Jim Brennan has seen the difference on Toronto soccer fields.

The jerseys of Juventus, AC Milan, Manchester United and other European clubs are still popular with kids playing the game. But these days so too are the colours of Toronto FC, the lone Canadian team among North America’s best, Major League Soccer.

“When you have a team that you support as a kid, and it’s local, you can dream of one day playing for that team and that’s something special,” Brennan, the Toronto native who is TFC’s captain, said as the team prepared for tonight’s championship game in the Carolina Challenge Cup.

“When I was a kid I never had that. That’s why I had to go over to Europe,” said Brennan, 31, who played in England for a decade before returning for TFC’s inaugural season in 2007. “If there was an opportunity, I’d have stayed in Toronto from day one.”

Now, as MLS looks to expand with the announcement of two more franchises for the 2011 season expected by month’s end, Canada is poised to add another team.

Vancouver is seen as the best bet among the four cities remaining in the bidding for a new franchise, which comes with a $40 million (U.S.) price tag – four times the amount Toronto paid. Ottawa, St. Louis and Portland are also looking to join the MLS, which is adding its 15th team in Seattle this season and another in Philadelphia for 2010.

Another Canadian team – or two – in the MLS would be a huge boost for soccer in the country, according to Brennan and other national team players on TFC. It would grow the popularity of the game by creating an instant rivalry with Toronto and give talented youngsters another option to stay at home and play in a top-flight pro league.

“There are plenty of reasons that it’s a positive for Canadian soccer,” said Greg Sutton, TFC’s goalkeeper who has played 11 games for Canada. “So, obviously the more teams the better, as long as it’s the right situation and good, sound, responsible franchises.”

More Canadian teams are also seen as a way to improve Canada’s flagging international soccer standing. Having more of the country’s best players stay in North America to play would make them more familiar with each other and cut down on exhausting overseas travel prior to key matches such as World Cup qualifying rounds.

“The more you can play in the same environment, the same style, the better you are when you come together as a (national) team and have to jell in two days,” said Dwayne De Rosario, who has 52 caps for Canada. “It would help us get into rhythm easier.”

Bob Lenarduzzi, chairman of the Vancouver Whitecaps – the city’s United Soccer League team – and a former national team player and coach, said it’s no coincidence that Canada’s best years internationally in the mid-1980s coincided with the last time there was a strong professional league in the country, the North American Soccer League.

“The more opportunities there are for players to play professionally in this country at the highest level, the better it is for the national team’s programs,” Lenarduzzi said.

Source: Click Here

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: