Today’s guest post was written by Darryn Renaud and Avish Sood. Darryn and Avish are the co-founders of The Sponsorship Space, an online resource dedicated to providing the most timely and accurate analysis of trends in the sponsorship industry. They are based in Toronto, Canada.
If you watched the World Cup in North America this year, you likely heard someone pose the question “Has soccer/Futbol FINALLY arrived in the USA?” With the recent rise of MLS in North America and the impressive US ratings for the 2014 World Cup final, (roughly the same amount of people watched the final USA game against Belgium as the Championship game) the answer to that question will be debated for years to come. But what about the USA’s neighbour to the north? Canada is a true melting pot of cultures, many of which immigrated from Futbol crazed countries, but could soccer ever take precedence over hockey, and does it need to in order to finally be considered a top tier sport?
Canadian’s in Brazil
According to FIFA organizers, Canada was the 11th best-represented nation in Brazil, and by far the best-represented nation not competing in the tournament, purchasing over 29,000 tickets. This comes as no surprise to many as 1 in 5 Canadians are born in other countries, many of which are soccer crazed nations. When walking down the streets of Little Italy in downtown Toronto, this mix of fans was very prevalent. No matter what teams were playing on a given day, you could be sure of two things – both nation’s flags would be proudly displayed, and the victor’s fans would be cruising the streets honking car horns and celebrating into the wee hours of the night. It was truly an electric atmosphere, the excitement brought smiles to the faces of everyone, ESPECIALLY the local business owners who received a steady stream of daytime customers throughout the month.
Canada in the World Cup
With 3 teams competing in the MLS, (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal) hosting the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and preparations being made to bid for the 2026 World Cup, there is no doubt Canada is looking to grow and expand its soccer presence. The real question is, if Canada’s national team does make it to a World Cup, who will Canadians root for? Will their cultural background still be their priority, or will their Canadian pride take precedence? Even though the 110th world ranked Canadian National Team may be a long way from making the big stage, Canadians would likely be, well… Canadian – enjoy a frosty beverage, take it all in stride and be happy for whoever wins the match.
When looking at the Canadian National team’s World Cup record, it would be hard to argue with anyone that roots for their home nation and suggests that Canada “stick to hockey”.
- 1 World Cup appearance (1986)
- 0 World Cup Goals
- 0-3 World Cup Record
With 1 in 4 Canadian children aged 5-14 still engaging in soccer on a regular basis in an ever-declining youth sport participation era, it is safe to say the future of the sport is bright in the North. If Canada ever does make another World Cup, choosing which team to root for would be a great problem to have for the nation, although I am sure most of us would be happy if they manage to score a goal that year.