Canada's best fall short of world's elite

GEORGE GROSS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:53 PM ET

Players on Canada's national soccer teams -- both men and women -- are not rated too highly by the world's experts. At least not among the sport's elite.

In a recent FIFA (Federation of International Football Association) poll of coaches from around the world, all 150 of them ignored any Canadian male player as being among the globe's top three. Included in that group was Canadian men's team coach Dale Mitchell, who voted for Brazilian star Kaka, Lionel Messi of Argentina and Ronaldinho of Brazil.

I can't argue with Mitchell's selection of Kaka, because the Brazilian superstar was voted No. 1 by the majority of the coaches. But, perhaps, he could have mentioned a Canadian player somewhere, if for no other reason than to give a boost to Canadian soccer.

While Mitchell ignored Canadian players on the men's side, so did Even Pellerud, coach of our women's team. Pellerud voted for Brazil's Marta, Smith Kelly of England and Wambach Abby of the United States.

So, what happened to Canadian sharpshooter Christine Sinclair, you may ask? Well, she did collect two third-place votes and wound up in 25th place amongst the best female players in the world. What a shame!

Argentina came in as the No. 1 team in the rankings, even though, at the FIFA Awards last month at Zurich's Opera House Gala, it was Brazil that walked out with all of the individual trophies. Brazil won the men's award (Kaka), women's award (Marta) best player of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup (Buru) and, to complete the sweep, the Presidential Award went to the great Pele.

And Canada? Well, we'll have to wait until some real experts take over the running of the Canadian Soccer Association.

RETURN OF THE LYNX

The Toronto Lynx will begin their 12th season and their second Premier Development League on May 28 at Centennial Park Stadium by welcoming the Fort Wayne Fever for the club's annual school-day matinee match at 11 a.m.

The next match, two days later, will see the Lynx returning to Varsity Centre against arch-rival Chicago Fire at 7:30. The club plans to celebrate the return to Varsity by inviting former Lynx aces and honouring its history.

The Lady Lynx will celebrate Canada Day in Maple, hosting the Cleveland Internationals at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School at 4 p.m.

The Lynx, incidentally, will remain in the Great Lakes Division of the Premier Development League, along with Cincinnati Kings, Cleveland Internationals, Michigan Bucks and West Virginia Chaos.

RANGERS KEEP IN TOUCH

Former Scottish international, Glasgow Rangers ace and Ontario all-star Sammy Cox is resting at a Stratford, Ont., seniors home. He is visited daily by his wife, Jean, and often by members of the Glasgow Rangers Fan Club.

Alex Copeland of the Scarborough Glasgow Rangers Supporters Club informs us that they will be sponsoring a night with former Ranger and Scotland star Willie Henderson on March 22. A clever after-dinner speaker, Henderson will make two more appearances at booster club events in the area.

Once a year, about 800 members of the various clubs meet in a Canadian or U.S. city, with at least one player from the current Glasgow Rangers attending the event. This year, they will meet in Calgary in June.


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