August 14th Edition

Why isn't Canada playing more international friendlies + David to Tottenham?

Why isn’t Canada playing more international friendlies + David to Tottenham?

What a fun weekend of footy. 

European ball was back and if you are like us you were absolutely glued to your screens all weekend, trying to figure out when to mix in a little sleep with the Women’s World Cup reaching the knockout stage as well. Footy all day, what could be better?

Several Canadian players stepped back into the pitch for their club sides this week, and a couple made some big headlines across Europe.

Find out more in this week’s edition of The Northern Pitch.

Canada Soccer

It seems like we can’t get good news in Canadian soccer lately without a bit of bad news sprinkled in as well.

On Tuesday morning, in the early hours of the morning (like, legit 1 a.m.), Canada Soccer announced that CanMNT would be playing Japan in Niigata in a friendly on October 13 (Live on OneSoccer, time TBD).

This is great — Japan are a very good side who recently had a quality World Cup beating Spain and Germany, before losing to Croatia in penalties in the round of 16. Canada also recently played them, and beat them, 2-1 in the lead up to the 2022 World Cup — not to mention how helpful it will be to play in Japan and get that proper away match atmosphere.

At the bottom of the press release, however, in what might as well have been the headline given how much of the news cycle it took up was the following: “At this time, there are no international friendlies scheduled for the Men’s National Team in the September FIFA window”. As well as the following quote from interim General Secretary Jason deVos.

“Given our inability to confirm an additional high-quality opponent in the September window that met our competitive needs, as well as financial constraints, we were unable to secure fixtures for both windows.”

Ugh. No matter what the true reasoning is, missing out on an international window — not to mention only playing one match in two windows — is a huge missed opportunity. This is a team that other countries actually want to play for once, and the federation is still finding ways to mess it up.

CanMNT are preparing for an absolutely crucial pair of November Nations League matches, which will serve as qualifiers for the 2024 Copa America tournament. Yeah, it’s about to get serious, and our federation better follow suit.

Other news this week

HFX Wanderers

⚓️ Halifax Wanderers to launch a women’s team in support of the creation of League1 Atlantic. Nova Scotia is not waiting for the rest of Canada. They’re making their own path when it comes to the women’s game. The creation of League1 Atlantic is a major factor in the development of soccer in the Atlantic provinces. For the Wanderers to pursue both a men’s and women’s team in the L1 Atlantic division by 2024 is a statement. They are positioning themselves as the most important soccer institution in the Maritimes. Not only for the sake of increasing the Wanderer’s profile but for the overall growth of football in the atlantic provinces. Expect a generation of ballers coming out of the East Coast in the future.

🌊 Speaking of League1 Canada, The Vancouver Whitecaps women’s team are League1 Canada inter-provincial champs after a stunning 5-0 victory over PEF Québec (CF Montréal’s women’s team) in the final. This caps off an incredible season for Vancouver (pun intended), who won the League1 BC regular season and playoffs. It was also nice to see the quality of PEF Québec in their first season under the CF Montréal umbrella, and hopefully this is just the start of this sort of investment in the game in this country. Hey Toronto FC…time to step up and join the movement.

🇨🇦 Despite CanWNT’s early exit from the 2023 Women’s World Cup, head coach Bev Priestman was given a vote of confidence by Canada Soccer interim General Secretary Jason deVos this week, saying that she had the ‘full support’ of the federation in an interview with the Canadian Press. He also confirmed that they are looking to get friendlies for CanWNT during the October and November windows. He also said that progress has been made in various negotiations, something we will believe when we see it.

🤔 Jonathan David to Tottenham? It seems that the Spurs have been pursuing their contingency plan as Harry Kane’s transfer saga was coming to a close. The North London club need to find a striker to replace their main man. They have set their eyes on Canada’s number 9, Jonathan David. It is no secret that JD has been looking for a move to the Prem and Kane’s departure to Munich has triggered that possibility. Lille are open to selling David for the right place and if they’re able to find a suitable replacement for the Canadian international. Imagine that Son and JD link up play in a North London DARBY. Until then, we wait for Fabrizio’s “Here we go.”

🇪🇸 Montrealer Yassine Bounou wanted by Real Madrid. The Morocco international and Sevilla’s number 1 is being targeted by Real Madrid as a potential replacement to the injured Thibaut Courtois. Sevilla president, Jose Castro, has asked Real Madrid president Florentino Perez for 30 million Euros for the keeper. If the deal occurs, Yassine Bounou would be the most expensive player from Montreal. Moreover, expect to see the habibis rocking Bounou kits in Montreal’s Petit Maghreb, Saint-Laurent, Stade Saputo and every shisha spot in the city. We are about it.

🔨 Forge FC’s Woobens Pacius wanted by MLS teams. Impact legend Patrice Bernier has stated that Pacius has drawn attention from clubs in France, Portugal and within the MLS. However, the names of these clubs have not been disclosed but one can make the safe bet that CF Montréal are potential favourites among MLS clubs. Woobens Pacius is from Terrebonne, Quebec and CFM academy product. MTL love to bring back former academy players and also have a good track record with turning CPL players into absolute ballers. CFM are in need of a convincing finisher and Pacius fits that profile. The potential forward combination of Mahala, Pacius and Quioto would be a devastating thought. Above all, Stade Saputo loves to field Quebecois talents. Unless Inter Miami come knocking, cause they’re getting everyone and their mother no problem.

🏰 Everton looking to sign Canadian-born striker Daniel Jebbison from Sheffield United. Another Canadian player emerging out of the obscurity of English football. Everton have been monitoring the 19-year-old forward from Oakville, Ontario. Sheffield United have been promoted back into the Premier League after two years, but are open to selling Jebbison this season as he is on his final year of contract. A move to Everton would be a big plus for young striker. Jebbison has the possibility to play for Canada, Jamaica and England. However, Canada Soccer have been in talks with him and are trying to seal him into the CanMNT system permanently.

André Varty / DARBY Magazine

🇺🇸 Rida Zouhir has been balling out for San Antonio FC. CF MTL loanee has been making his mark for the USL side as of late. Earlier in June, he was named in the USL team of the week and has been highlighted as an integral member of San Antonio’s run this season. The Montrealer has become an overnight sensation in Texas. The 19-year-old registered a brace against El Paso Locomotive FC. Both goals being long-range bangers. This is tremendous for Zouhir who was only getting minimal playing time off the bench in MTL. This development will make the CM position competitive with Wanyama likely on the way out. A rotation of Piette, Choinière and Zouhir competiting for those positions will be good for the club and fans. The CFM faithfuls love to see their Quebecois players being featured in the starting lineup.

👎 Osaze de Rosario gets banned for testing positive for marijuana. Yes, you read that right. Osaze is banned for a month for testing positive for weed. Osaze stated that he had consumed a dessert treat without the knowledge that it contained THC. It is legal in Canada yet the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports (CCES) must uphold the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) ruling of THC as a prohibited substances. Thereby, the son of footy legend Dwayne de Rosario must serve the one-month ban. It is still baffling as THC is not a sport enhancing drug. One could get into the weeds of such arguments but all agree that marijuana does not enhance athletic performance. For Osaze, it is unfortunate and ridiculous especially as the CPL is edging closer to playoffs. One-month is a long time.

Meanwhile in the CPL, business as usual. But let’s start with the biggest matchup of the weekend, Forge versus York United. The 905 DARBY was one to watch. Despite the 3-3 draw, this game was back and forth with incredible assists, solo runs and cluch goals. This is what the Canadian football has to offer. We can go on explaining who had a banger of a game and who had howlers but we strongly encourage everyone to catch the highlights if you haven’t! On a sort of side note, Brian Wright’s solo run and goal is what we love to see.

Valour hosted second placed Cavalry FC in a Prairie DARBY match up. We love a comeback. Valour have been struggling this season but this game has showed that this club can fight. While 2-0 down to Cavalry, Valour have clawed their way to a 3-2 win over the heavyweights. Once again, watch the highlights, comebacks is why we LOVE football.

Wanderers Ground is a fortress on the Atlantic. Mess around and find out is the motto of the Halifax at home. HFX Wanderers hosted lowly Vancouver FC and thrashed them to a 3-0 win. If there’s one name to emphasise this game it’s Joao Morelli. Just look at his first goal of the game. Absolute class.

To round out the weekend, Ollie Bassett balled out against his former side AGAIN as Atlético Ottawa defeated Pacific FC 1-0 to make the CPL table just about as tight as you can get with only six points seperating sixth place and first.

DAZN Canada

Northern Picks

Gems from at home and across the pond.
This week’s picks come from Hussein Ibrahim (@hssn.brhm)

Hussein Ibrahim is the lead designer at Toronto-based streetwear brand Get Fresh Company.

📺 What to watch

I recently came across this series from 2021 on Dazn Canada called El Presidente. Basically Ronaldo [R9] becomes a club owner after purchasing a Spanish club “Real Valladolid” for 30 million. Their series really shows us the up and downs of the football business from R9’s point of view. He shares stories and experiences from his iconic career. It’s definitely worth a watch since we never really see this from legends of this calibre. Check out the first episode trust me.

🎧 What to listen to

I’ve been really enjoying the content coming out of the UK for quite some time. One of my favourite footy related podcasts is FILTHY@5 (FILTHYFELLAS). These guys are chaotic and hilarious, their content and guest list is top-tier without a doubt.

✅ Who to follow

The two biggest passions in my life are design/footy, so I’m definitely drawn to creatives or brands that blend these two worlds. I need to shoutout the local homies at “Perplex FC” I’ve always been a fan of what they were building. Good people and good product. Give them a follow for sure.

Second account you should check out is “Kitboys Club” they’re based out of Atlanta. Their aesthetic and content is super clean, with an interesting product line to match.