April 24th Edition

Cochrane out, CanChamp Cupsets in

Cochrane out, CanChamp Cupsets in

Earl Cochrane standing at podium at 2022 Canada Soccer annual meeting

Hey Siri, play ‘Another one bites the dust’.

This past Thursday, the latest departure of a member of Canada Soccer’s senior leadership was announced as General Secretary Earl Cochrane will be leaving the federation.

As it stands, Cochrane will stay on until May 12 to ease in the transition. He joins president Nick Bontis, chief of marketing Sandra Gage as recent departures, while long-time communications director Richard Scott has also left.

Cochrane first joined Canada Soccer in January of 2022 as an interim General Secretary – a post that became official in June. He played a significant role in the highly publicized Canadian soccer labour negotiations, appearing before the Canadian Heritage Commitee in late March.

How this ultimately effects the ongoing labour negotiations, or the upcoming CSA presidential elections which are expected to be held next month, remains to be seen. But the Canada Soccer proverbial house continues to get cleaned.

TSS Rovers Do A Cupset


Okay, enough politics. Let’s talk about something beautiful that happened on the actual field in Canadian soccer this past week. They call it the magic of the cup for a reason, as Wednesday night saw history in the Canadian Championship, with semi-professional side TSS Rovers, from League1 BC upsetting Canadian Premier League side Valour 3-1 in the preliminary round.

It was absolute SCENES at one of the temples of Canadian footy, Swangard Stadium. The more you learn about Rovers, the cooler they get. Their supporters group is called the Swanguardians, which sounds like some kind cool squad of avian superheroes,their team nickname is the Pirates, they have a cool beer sponsor, what is not to love. Oh and they are supporter owned, showing what grassroots footy in this country is all about.

Just take their coach, Will Cromack, who after the match delivered some absolutely epic interviews that make you want to order at TSS Rovers kit and then run through a freaking wall while wearing it.

Rovers certainly aren’t new on the scene, as they have been a top development program in Canada for decades, with alumni including national team talents like Jordyn Huitema, Julia Grosso and Joel Waterman. It is nice to see them getting their flowers this week.

It gets even better for Rovers from here, as now they will take the BC Ferry across to Starlight Stadium to take on Pacific FC in the quarter-finals on May 10. To add to the script? Rover’s star-boy and captain from the match against Valour was none other than former Pacific FC midfielder Matteo Polisi. It’s a revenge type beat. Circle your calendars, more history might just be on offer.

Other news this week


🇨🇦 The Canadian Championship wrapped up its first round with a bang. From a big cupset in Burnaby to Montréal regaining confidence with a win at Stade Saputo. The CanChamps Quarter-Finals are set with Pacific FC hosting TSS Rovers and York United hosting the Whitecaps on May 10. Atletico Ottawa will face Forge in a rematch of the 2022 CPL final on May 9. The big matchup will be the eternal rivalry of the 401 Darby, Toronto FC VS CF Montreal going down on May 9.

2️⃣ The CPL kicked off matchday two this past weekend. Vancouver FC finally made history with their first league win away vs York United, with Shaan Hundal scoring the club’s first-ever CPL goal. Meanwhile, Forge vs Halifax Wanderers ended in a 1-1 draw. It wasn’t the only 1-1 draw of the weekend as Valour vs Atletico Ottawa and Pacific FC vs Cavalry both ended with 1 goal a side. 

1️⃣ Première Ligue de Soccer du Québec has been rebranded to Ligue1 Québec. The renaming is a significant move in a unified image of League1 Canada. Moreover, the rebrand demonstrates a solidified third division footbal at the pro-am level in Canada. In the end, Québec is staying in Canada.

🔥 Some of you have definitely noticed that the Canada Women’s u20 team have been thrashing in their qualifiers for the Concacaf u20 Women championship. Canada defeated Martinique, St Vincent and Cuba with a scoreline of 15-0, 12-0 and 4-0 respectively. To cap off the qualifiers, Canada defeated joint group A leaders El Salvador 9-1. Effectively qualifying for the u20 Championship. They ain't playing.

⚽️ In MLS news, CF Montréal finally got a league dub versus New York Red Bulls. FINALLY. It only took an own goal, a red card and a dramatic last goal by Mathieu Choinière to seal the game for CF MTL. While Montréal celebrates, things were depressing in Philly for Toronto FC. The game ended 4-2 for TFC — the only bright spot being Insigne’s curler.

🌊 In honour of Earth Day, teams were rocking their Adidas Parley ‘One Planet’ kits this past week made entirely of recycled plastic waste. Rate it, love it and definitely get it in black.

🏆 UEFA Women’s Champions League is entering the second leg of their semi-finals, and we’re particularly keen on Barcelona vs Chelsea. Barcelona lead the fixture with one goal in hand. Meanwhile, Chelsea will most likely be without injured Kadeisha Buchanan. The second leg match can be streamed on YouTube this Thursday.

👍 Big news for the development of the men’s game, the Canadian Premier League announced downward player pilot project. With the purpose of offering younger players additional playing time in competitive matches, CPL clubs can send players to their affiliate clubs at the various League 1 divisions, USL two and any other equivalent division. Read more here.

⬆️ The CPL also announced a 67 per cent attendance increase on matchday one. A total of 20,366 fans attended the opening of the 2023 season across Canada. You love to see it.

😡 In more serious news, Robert Cribb of The Toronto Star released an article on Saturday with stories of six women who say they were silenced with threats of reprisals for calling out abuse and financial impropriety at Canada Soccer. You can read the full story here.

Northern Picks

Gems from at home and across the pond.
This week’s picks come from Ararsa Kitaba (@ak.tivated)

📚 What to read

It’s the classic book you’ve seen but never actually read. If you’re looking for something new to dig into, it’s time to pick up Soccernomics (2022 World Cup Edition). It breaks down why European men and American women win, and billionaire owners are destined to lose.

📺 What to watch

Check out rapper Mister V in his latest video BOOTLEG shot in Montréal, seen donning some No Diploma gear.

🎧 What to listen to

Mike Pavela & Keith Makubuya bring a different perspective to football on the Just Offside Podcast. Check them out and stay tuned for a special episode featuring the DARBY crew coming soon.

✅ Who to follow

Black Star is a program facilitating the growth of soccer in Black American communities. Committed to cultivating Black soccer culture, they provide access to development and build fan communities through events and storytelling. Check out their page here.