March 25th Edition

CanMNT are back and heading to Copa América!

They had us nervous for a second, but the CanMNT is headed to Copa América, and as a result, Canadian soccer fans have a LEGENDARY summer of footy ahead.

The CanWNT is in Paris for the Olympics in July, the CanMNT is at Copa in June, The U-20 men’s team will compete at the Concacaf Championship in late July, and the sixth season of the CPL will be in full swing at that point.

We will see our national teams face off against some of the best in the world in some of the biggest competitions. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Ahead in a celebratory edition of The Northern Pitch, CanMNT handles Trinidad & Tobago, CanWNT’s Olympic draw, Atlético Ottawa is moving crazy, and much more.



🇨🇦 CanMNT are Copa América bound

Photo: Concacaf

The Canadian men’s national team did the business against Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday, and as a result, they are 2024 Copa América bound in June.

It certainly wasn’t Canada’s A-game, as they struggled to find quality and composure in the attacking third against a resilient T&T side. But they kept pushing, and who else but big game bagsman Cyle Larin to open the scoring in the 61st minute.

That was the moment Les Rouges needed to open up the match, and Jacob Shaffelburg a.k.a. Maritime Messi created a moment of magic off the bench in stoppage time to secure the 2-0 W.

That means Canada unlocks a meeting with the original Messi and defending World Cup champions Argentina on June 20 at an already sold-out Mercedez-Benz stadium. That is the opening match of the 2024 Copa América, with Canada’s group, including Chile and Peru.

These are the kinds of tests that will help take this Canada team to the next level and are crucial in the build-up to 2026. We’ll see the CanMNT in action next in early June, when they take on the Dutch in a friendly.


🇫🇷 CanWNT Olympic Group draw

Photo: Canada Soccer

CanWNT’s quest to medal at a fourth straight Olympic Games was given an early boost this past week when they avoided the group of death at the 2024 Paris Games.

With only 12 teams, there are no easy opponents. But avoiding World Cup champions Spain, World Cup opponent Australia and the team they play every second match, Brazil, was definitely favourable.
Once the FIFA delegates figured out how to properly unscrew those little ball thingies, Canada was placed in Group A with hosts France, Colombia, and New Zealand.
Canada has played the hosts in all four of its previous Olympic appearances and is undefeated in those matches, including beating Brazil in the bronze medal match at Rio 2016. Les Rouges also famously beat France in the Bronze medal match in 2012 and in the quarter-finals in Rio—France’s only two Olympic appearances.

They defeated Colombia in both of their previous meetings and lost to New Zealand just once in 15 matches, all the way back in 1987.

CanWNT opens the Olympics against New Zealand on July 25 before taking on France on July 28 and Colombia on July 31—the top two teams from each group advance, plus two of the three best third-place teams.

Algeria or Canada?

 🇩🇿 Mohamed Farsi’s decision

Photo: La Gazette du Fennec

Let’s talk about Mo Farsi. This past week, the Montréal baller went viral for choosing to play for Algeria over Canada. This decision is hypothetical, as neither country has selected him. However, the internet was outraged by his comments. To that, we say, chill. Also, note that he was speaking to an Algerian publication. 

Farsi is undeniably a tremendous talent who has come out of the CPL and is now an MLS Champion—a player who deserves a call-up to the CanMNT. Moreover, calling up CPL alumni will further legitimize the league's growth. However, considering the current squad and Farsi’s position, is there room for him? TJ, Richie, Choinière, and AJ would likely occupy the right wingback position ahead of Mo. By the way, his comment is not an official confirmation. Canada can still call him up.

Also, here’s a little insight into the Montréal footy culture. Most ballers dream about playing for their family’s country of origin over Canada, mainly because the Canadian football identity is a relatively new phenomenon in Montréal. Immigrant identity in Québecois society is a unique experience in Canada. However, with the recent successes of the national team, things have been shifting.

This is not only a Montréal thing; it is also common among immigrants throughout Canada. For the same reasons stated above, Canada as a football nation is a relatively new concept for people from countries with established footballing identities. Canada’s identity has been hockey first. The soccer identity of Canada is developing, albeit at a fast pace. With the rise of the sport’s popularity, sentiments are changing. Take a quick look at the CanMNT, and you will see players of immigrant backgrounds. The future generation of ballers will aspire to be the next Phonzy and declare for Canada.

There will always be exceptions. We can hear the “uhm, actually” arguments involving names such as Milan Borjan, Atiba Hutchison, and Patrice Bernier. These players could have opted to play for other nations over Canada. But, as stated, there will always be exceptions, which are the foundations of this Canadian team.

Mo’s decision to choose Algeria over Canada is not a diss. It's just a reflection of the footy culture he was raised in. Above all, if one wants to represent another country, why should we be upset? The talent pool is growing, and many other serious talents are emerging. Also, Morocco’s keeper, Yassine Bounou, was born in Montreal, but no outrage there? Above all, why get mad? It’s spring. We survived another winter.


Photo: Sporting CP

🇵🇹 Another brace for Olivia Smith. We can just copy and paste this section of the newsletter each week as this time it was Famalicão who got the business from one of Canada’s most in-form attackers. The 19-year-old scored twice in a 4-1 W, putting her on 11 goals and 8 assists in her debut European season. Special talent.

🇪🇸 Alphonso Davies's move to Real Madrid is starting to feel real. Bayern Munich sporting director Max Eberl has approached Phonzy with an extension offer reported to be between 11-13 million ($16-19 million CAD) a year plus add-ons. Eberl has stated, “At some point in your life, you have to say yes or no.” With Phonzy’s contract set to expire next summer, Real Madrid could come in for the fullback either this summer or pick him up on a free transfer the next year if the connection with Real Madrid is indeed legitimate. How can anyone say no to Los Blancos? Or to deny becoming a galactico? Or to be the first Canadian to play for Real Madrid? We believe this move will happen. The question is how and when. ESPN seem to believe so, too.

🩻 Richie Laryea's injury update. Toronto’s own has undergone surgery on his right hamstring this past Saturday. The procedure was done in London, England, and recovery is expected to last three months. We wish him a speedy recovery.

🚌 Simcoe County Rovers are rolling deep. The League 1 Ontario champions aim to bring 2000 fans to BMO Field to face Toronto FC. At the time of writing, over 800 tickets had been sold in 24 hours to club members only. They have 925 seats allocated to the League 1 club. If they can bring the number of fans they have projected, this will make Canadian soccer history, and we’re here for it.

🍁 Amanda West makes her debut for Houston Dash. Another Canadian is on the scene in NWSL, as Amanda West made her pro debut against Racing Louisville in a 0-0 draw on Saturday. West was taken 36th overall by Houston in this year’s draft, and is one of several Canadian rookies looking to make an impact in the league this season.

Photo: Pacific FC

👏 Pacific FC dropped new kits. These new kits are so nice, even COPA 90 had to post about it. Named “the Resilience Kit,” the shirt was designed by Coast Salish artist Maynard Johnny Jr. The kit features a salmon, which is an Indigenous symbol of resilience and perseverance. For every jersey sold, $20 will be donated to an Indigenous-based organization. We encourage everyone to read the full story found here. 

🤯 Manny Aparicio joins Atletico Ottawa, which is perhaps the biggest move in the CPL off-season so far. The former Pacific FC midfielder will now apply his talents in Ottawa. For Atleti fans, this is major news. Aparicio has signed a two-year contract with an option for 2026. Atletico Ottawa's midfield will consist of Ollie Basset, Manny Aparicio, Ballou Tabla, Matteo de Brienne, Kris Twardek and Kevin dos Santos. Stacked.

✍️ Atletico Ottawa re-signed Luke Singh on loan. The Trinidad & Tobago international defender returns to Ottawa on a season-long loan from Toronto FC, his second loan stint with Ottawa. Singh joined the team during preseason training in Mexico.

🔨 Forge FC signed Jassem Koleilat. The Winnipeg club has signed a multi-year deal with the Canadian goalkeeper. The 24-year-old joins Forge from MLS Next Pro side LAFC 2. The keeper holds dual Canadian and Czech citizenship.

🦅 Moses Dyer has joined Vancouver FC on a one-year deal. The New Zealand forward joins from USL side FC Tulsa after scoring four goals and five assists in 30 games. This is his second stint in the CPL; he previously played for Valour FC for three seasons, picking up 19 goals in all competitions.

🔵 CF Montréal Youth Academy is producing again. In the last few years, CF Montréal has produced talents who are finding their way to professionalism. Notable names include Mathieu Choinière, Ismaël Koné, Jonathan Sirois, and Nathan Saliba. Tony Marinaro has reported that Matteo Schiavoni and Alessandro Biello will sign with the CFM first team. Schiavoni spent the last year at the Bologna Youth Academy. After signing with the MTL first team, he will be sent on loan with Forge. While Alessandro Biello will stay in CFM.

Photo: Hanin Mazri / DARBY

🔴 The Italians went viral for TFC again. A backheel, another one, and a third one? Leading to a chance creation!? Berna-boy-Deschi and Insigne are having fun. Toronto FC hosted Atlanta United at BMO Field, where the home side walked away with a 2-0 win. The Italian duo were the stars of the show. Creating chances, running at the opposition, and being overall ballers were a joy. It's safe to say Toronto is back.

🌊 Vancouver Whitecaps faced off against Real Salt Lake. The Caps hosted their counterparts at BC Place and started the match strong with Demir Kreilach’s goal against his former club. Despite Vancouver’s attacking creativity Salt Lake came out on top by scoring two goals in the second half. Vancouver conceded the L by losing 1-2 to the away team.


This week’s picks come from Charles Etoroma Jr. He’s a visual artist, creative strategist, and writer working at a creative agency by day, and freelance writing and designing by night. On weekends he’s watching football.

📺 What to watch

Something that caught my eye this week was a reel from Ken Sakata talking about the three things that make a football kit special. It really got me thinking about our current state of kit design, and what feelings they’re encapsulating right now. I don’t have an answer, but that’s why I think the 1990s and 2000s will always be my fav kit era. The game was more pure, and the expression felt like it had more weight design-wise.

🛍️ What to buy

The jersey I’m obsessed with currently from my collection is the Kappa x Pompeii brand long sleeve. I love the choice of colours and the subtle line work down the jersey. It was a limited drop, and I am thankful to have gotten one, but now that the weather is warming up, I definitely can’t wait to give it more shine. 

Who to follow

The homie Alex of Talkingshirt_ I love his taste in kits he shares, and his collection is literally next to none.

You can follow Charles on Instagram here.