While the official bidding process for the next available FIFA World Cup in 2026 is still a few years away, the Canadian Soccer Association on Thursday announced their interest to bring the tournament to Canada.
— CBCSports (@cbcsports) January 23, 2014
It is a very ambitious idea for the country who has no official top-flight league of their own as the top five Canadian clubs play in the American-based Major League Soccer and second-division North American Soccer League. The country’s Men’s National Team did not win a game in the entire 2013 year while only scoring once during that entire stretch.
Bringing the biggest sporting event in the world to your country will not only have a big economic impact on the country but it will force the Canadians to invest more in the development of soccer in their country. Soccer is not the most popular sport by a long shot in Canada, but if they were able to build up the youth programs across the country it would have a massive impact on the National Team and drastically improve the popularity of the sport.
One of the first issues that will need to be addressed is improving the current stadiums or building new ones. FIFA mandates that their be between eight and 12 stadiums to host matches with a capacity of 40,000 or more. Currently in Canada they have four stadiums that fit the criteria, those being Olympic Stadium in Montreal (65,255), Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton (60,217), Rogers Centre in Toronto (53,000) and BC Place in Vancouver (52,000).
There are three more that have 30,000-plus capacities with McMahon Stadium in Calgary (37,317), Investors Group Field in Winnipeg (33,422) and Mosaic Stadium in Regina (30,945). Investors Group was built very recently, but the other two are pretty old stadiums that could use a facelift. There are also rumors that Toronto FC ownership are planning to expand BMO Field in Toronto to house over 40,000. These rumors have been increased with the upcoming lease expiration for the Toronto Argonauts from Rogers Centre in 2017.
The second issue will be an improvement of the National Team itself as stated earlier the club went winless in 2013 with one goal scored. History is not something that the Canadians have either with just one World Cup appearance at Mexico 1986 where they lost all three games allowing five goals.
They have taken the first step in this process by identifying the 2016 Olympics as their first target for upcoming success. The National Team held a January camp in the United States where 12 of the 23 players called in were 20-years-old and younger. It was a very smart idea to get all of these players into camp and noticed by manager Benito Floro. These players will now know what the expectations are at the national level as well as how they can improve themselves to help improve Canada as a whole.
Canada is very early along in the process, but it is a smart choice for them to make this decision early to give ample time for improvements to be made in the stadiums and National Team.