November 6th Edition

CanWNT Hand Brazil an L in Haligonia

CanWNT Hand Brazil an L in Haligonia

Canadian footy was on the move this week!

Some big games went down in the last seven days. CanWNT/XNT hosted Brazil in Halifax, with the women looking for revenge after losing 1-0 at Stade Saputo. Speaking of revenge, the Whitecaps hosted LAFC after losing the first leg of three-legged playoff games.

Organizations have made major announcements. Canada Soccer announced the roster for the 2023 U17 World Cup in Indonesia. CF MTL president revealed future plans for the club. At the same time, FIFA is splashing cash into the CPL.

Trials, transfers, contract extensions, and retirement. So is the life of a professional footballer, and Canadians have experienced all of these this past week. Much more ahead in this week’s edition of The Northern Pitch.

Canada Soccer

A taste of the World Cup came to Nova Scotia.

G.O.A.T.S exchanged jerseys. Before kick-off, Christine Sinclair and Marta exchanged jerseys bearing each other’s names. A Canada kit with #10 Marta and a Brazil jersey with #12 Sinclair. A proper shirt swap and a closing of a generation.

Brazil came out flying. There is a reason why Joga Bonito is the most attractive football. They dominated the first half with flair and attacking prowess. If you don’t like Brazilian football, then we question your taste unless you’re Argentinian.

CanWNT got what they wanted in Halifax. They were unable to defeat Brazil at Stade Saputo, but on Halloween, Canada took down Brazil at Wanderers Ground. Taking notes from their loss in Montréal, Bev Priestman’s team attacked with purpose and pace. Pressure was welcomed, and key passing unlocked Brazil’s defence—vital notes for the Olympics.

Speaking of chance creation, Jessie Fleming proves to be a focal point of Canada. It is without doubt Fleming’s early exit in Montreal was felt. The Chelsea #10 connects the defence with the attack. She finds pockets and creates chances under pressure. Take note of the chance creation at the 60th minute, under pressure from five players—ice in her veins.

Jordyn Huitema and Deanne Rose get the party started. Canada’s young star opened the account against Brazil with a header at the far post. Deanne broke away from the defensive line and calmly placed the ball at the far post. Class.

Sold out Wanderers Ground is a fortress on the Atlantic. It is no secret that we are admirers of massive vibes. Wanderers Ground, whether on CPL matchday, CanChamps or friendlies, is reaching the top of our bucket list to visit. Halifax showed out and turned this pop-up stadium in the shadow of the Citadel into a fortress.

The highlights can be found here.

Canada Soccer

Other news this week

🇨🇦 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.

Trevor MacMillan/Halifax Wanderers

🇮🇹 Canadian talents faced off in Serie A Femminile as Juventus hosted AS Roma. Julia Grosso faced off against CanWNT teammate Evelyne Viens in Northern Italy. AS Roma walked away, winning 3-1 over Juve. Both players scored in this match, with Viens scoring Roma’s third goal in the 57th minute. This is Viens’ sixth goal in seven games this season in all competitions. Grosso scored Juventus’ only goal in the 60th minute.

👀 Inter Milan is still interested in purchasing Tajon Buchanan. The Brampton winger’s contract with Club Brugge ends in 2025. Inter are looking to sell their current right wing-back Denzel Dumfries for a good price to a Premier League team. If this sale goes through, TJ would be the perfect replacement for the Dutchman, and Inter would look to acquire the Canadian for €15 million. If the deal goes through, New England Revolution would earn 1.6 million USD due to the 10% sell-on clause—nice likkle change. Buchanan was rumoured to have links with a loan to Atletico Madrid and a transfer to Burnley for this coming January market. Would he leave in the winter window? We have our doubts, but you never know.

🇪🇸 Real Madrid growing confident in signing Alphonso Davies. According to reports, Real Madrid are confident that they will be able to sign Davies in the summer transfer window. So far, Phonzy has yet to sign a new contract with Bayern Munich, which ends in 2025. Davies’ agent further stated that the Canadian is still very close with former Bayern and current Real Madrid star David Alaba. It appears that his agent wants Davies in Madrid. As of now, Real Madrid would have to pay £34 million for the left-back. This is a story that is not going away. This suggests that this will likely occur in the summer unless Phonzy pulls a fast one and stays in Bavaria.

⚽️ Cyle Larin finally scores a goal in the Copa Del Rey. After a 15-game drought, Larin needed a goal for his new club, and he got one. Real Mallorca visited CD Boiro in the Copa Del Rey competition, winning 4-0 over the home side. Cyle was on the starting lineup, scoring the third goal in the second half.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Vancouver FC’s James Cameron trains with English clubs. After only half a season playing in the CPL, the 18-year-old talent is on trial at Premier League side Luton Town. One of the mandates of the CPL is to offer the chance for young Canadian players to play high-level competitive football regularly but also to provide avenues for players to reach higher levels in their careers. If the CPL is not the ceiling, then Europe is the highest. For James Cameron, trialling at Luton Town is a big step towards that potential. If offered a contract in England, VFC would lose out on a major talent, but it would be a major win for Canadian football.

⛰️ Pa-Modou Kah is rumoured to be the potential coach for Colorado Rapids. The former Pacific FC head manager and current assistant coach of Charlotte FC has been shortlisted in the final four finalists for the Colorado job. Rapids interim manager Chirs Little and former TFC coach Chris Armas are among the names competing for the Colorado job. Kah, the only coach to win the CPL other than Bobby “Big Smyrda” Smyrniotis, seems to have the strongest resume. But we shall see. Fingers crossed for Pa-Modou.

😓 Vancouver Whitecaps host LAFC in the second leg playoff game. Football is life, and just like life, it can be beautiful, poetic, cruel and unfair. The Whitecaps have been Canada’s most consistent team with real potential for glory. Unfortunately, things did not go to plan for Sartini’s team to end on a negative note as they lost 1-0 to LAFC. In a three-game series, LAFC has won two out of the three. The talking point of the game was the Richie Laryea penalty incident. Did Aaron Long intentionally trip Richie, or was it a moment of sloppiness from the LAFC defender? Whatever it may be, the Vancouver faithful believed a penalty was deserved. Alas, it was not. Ending the Whitecaps relatively impressive season to an end. On the bright side, this Vancouver team is building a potential dynasty. This season is proof that something special is in the works. Also, Maxime Crépeau is proving to be the best goalkeeper in the league. Maybe the proper heir to Milan Borjan?

Northern Picks

Gems from at home and across the pond.
This week’s picks come from James Ross (@jamesr19)

He cuts, sews and supports Liverpool. James Ross is the man putting the fits together at the Montreal-based brand No Diploma. If you see a young man in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal in a vintage kit, you’ll know who it is.

📚 What to read

Currently, I am reading “The Carhartt WIP Archives”. It's about the growth of Carhartt and how it went from a brand for workwear, then evolving and getting more into the streetwear & fashion space. It is interesting to read about, as it can relate today to a lot of football brands & clubs that are expanding outside of just the football space and into different pockets of culture. In the past decade, we have seen it a lot with Ajax collaborating with Daily Paper, Real Madrid X Yohji Yamamoto and recently AC Milan X Off White. (Ring Leaders An OG of this)

📺 What to watch

Recently on Netflix I just started watching “Terim”, It's about the story of former Galatasaray player and manager Fatih Terim who also has managed the club on four separate occasions. He was the first manager to lead a Turkish club to a European Cup. It's enjoyable seeing the football world and how greatly appreciated it is in Turkey. Liverpool is my team I support, but I have always had a fascination & appreciation for Galatasaray. Seeing a match at the Galatasaray stadium in Istanbul is definitely on the bucket list.

🎧 What to listen to

For football podcasts, I suggest listening to 5ASIDE Podcast, an entertaining group of guys who shine a light on what's happening in North American football and worldwide! Met one of their members Khendrick, at the Daily Paper store in NYC last year. It's been cool seeing their growth since then and they have been getting invited to some cool football matches recently! You will see them occasionally rocking some No Diploma, so much love to them!!

✅ Who to follow

If you're into vintage football kits and photography, I suggest checking out London-based photographer Louis Bever on IG. Has a unique way of capturing iconic football kits!