🇨🇦 Canada Soccer announced the squad for the FIFA U17 World Cup Indonesia 2023. The iteration of the World Cup begins on November 10 and ends on December 2. Canada has announced their squad, which features Canadian Premier League sensation TJ Tahid of Vancouver FC. Toronto FC has the largest representation in the squad, with ten players being called up from the TFC Academy and TFC Academy II. Three from the Académie CF Montréal and two from the Vancouver Whitecaps FC academy. The full roster can be found here. Canada is in Group B along with Spain, Uzbekistan and Mali. Canada will open the campaign on November 10th against Spain at 8 AM EST.
🔵 CF Montréal President Gabriel Gervais reveals plans with the club. One statement dominated the story written by Alexandre Pratt’s story for La Presse: “We are here to stay!” In an 80-minute interview with club legend and president Gabriel Gervais, he has expressed that club owner Joey Saputo is “more connected to the club than you think.”
Gervais emphasized that the club's ownership is committed to growing the club and further investing in its future. One of the major projects is plans for renovations of Stade Saputo. With analyses completed, if this project moves forward, CF MTL will have to look for a new venue for “one or two seasons.” It's time to dust off the Big O for a little while.
Despite the performance, ticket revenue has been good for CF MTL. The club already has 10,000 season ticket holders for next year, and ratings have increased by 9% this past year. CF is gaining traction and notoriety, and the market likes the product. Moreover, with “premium seats,” the club enjoyed a significant revenue boost. Notably, 6% of premium seats generate 30% of the ticket revenue. The writing is on the wall: to generate more money, the stadium must be renovated to host more supporters.
Gervais also emphasized that the expenditure on major stars has cost the club upwards of USD 5 million and has opted to use that money for the youth academy, the women’s program and the club’s infrastructure. Montrealers have been burned many times with visions of a bright future. If the numbers are true and the business is good, CF Montréal's long-term plan has the potential to pay dividends. But will the performance reflect good business? Time will tell. However, there is one indicator: the youth academy is producing gems.
✍️ Carlos Gonzalez remains as Atletico Ottawa's head coach. Carlos Gonzalez has signed a contract extension with the Ottawa club until 2024. In his first season, Gonzalez was able to manage Atletico Ottawa from last place and finish top of the table in 2022. He also earned Atletico Ottawa to host the CPL final, losing out to Forge FC. Carlos Gonzalez earned 2022 CPL coach of the year. This past season was a little different. Ottawa finished right outside of the playoff spot by missing two points. Consistency would benefit Atletico Ottawa. Carlos Gonzalez needs more time to establish a consistent system, and that proves to be effective. The 2024 season will be a proving year for the head coach.
💰 FIFA is investing $2.7 million into the Canadian Premier League. The world governing body of football has pledged to invest 2.7 million CAD into the CPL for travel, accommodations, and match fees for league referees. The money will also go to travel and accommodations for teams. FIFA recognizes the size of Canada as a major travel cost and logistic challenge that is “unimaginable in many nations.” Moreover, FIFA understands that Canada is enjoying a footballing golden age and is motivated in investing on the growth ahead of the 2026 World Cup. FIFA and CPL’s target is for the CPL to become a fully self-sustainable league in the lead-up to 2026 and beyond. This cash injection will help make that target a reality and a greater pathway for Canadians to become professional footballers.
✌️ Halifax Wanderer legend João Morelli retires from football. The 27-year-old Brazilian has decided to hang up his boots and focus on raising his son. The late 20s is when players enter their prime. For Morelli, the string of injuries has made it evident that playing professionally may no longer be feasible. He considered retiring after a major ACL injury in 2022, leaving him out of action for 15 months. After a long recovery, João returned to the pitch in July 2023, contributing four goals and one assist. His last game occurred on September 13th. Injuries have kept Morelli on the sidelines for the last four regular season games and one playoff game. João Morelli’s impact on the CPL was immediate, earning 2021 CPL Player of the Year and the Golden Boot. He will go down as HFX Wanderer’s club legend and one of the league’s most influential players. Happy retirement João.