CSA accepts need to restructure

GARETH WHEELER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

Change is on the way for the Canadian Soccer Association.

It might not be coming quickly, but it is coming.

It is rather a cliche to say the first step in fixing a problem is admitting there is a problem.

That's exactly what Peter Montopoli, general secretary of the CSA, has made clear within the rank and file at Canada's soccer governing body.

There has been a problem and now it's time to fix it.

Upon taking the job, Montopoli made no ifs and or buts: If the system of governance wasn't working (which it hasn't for quite some time), the CSA would reshape.

Sticking to his word, Montopoli has pushed forward to change the way soccer decisions are being made.

And as of last week, the rest of the CSA officially is on board.

The constitution committee and the board took the first step last week, agreeing changes are needed in the way decisions are made. Now, the CSA is going full steam ahead in restructuring.

BIG STEP

This is a big step for the CSA, as well as a move forward toward building a better-functioning and professional organization.

What the new CSA model should look like is up for debate.

Every Canadian soccer supporter has an opinion as to how the CSA should be run. But it is not simply a matter of taking another country's model and applying it to their own governance.

However, two models stick out in the eyes of Montopoli --those used in the U.S. and Australia.

Regardless, look for the CSA to become a professional organization -- a movement away from the volunteer-based groups that currently hold the power.

Enter Toronto FC and Canada's other professional soccer franchises.

Because of their prominence and backing from MLSEL, TFC leads this charge. Much like the relationship between the Raptors and Basketball Canada, TFC is the most important catalyst for change.

And now that BMO Field/National Soccer Stadium should have grass come 2010, there is every reason to believe Toronto will become the true home for Canadian soccer.

Clearly, from an international perspective, much like the pro level, the turf simply didn't work for anyone.

More games in Toronto speaks to the growing and mutually-beneficial relationship building between TFC and the CSA.

Not only does an advanced relationship bode well for the business side of things, the technical side is coming together as well, with TFC director of soccer Mo Johnston set on bringing more high-level Canadian internationals to his club.

Montopoli sees no reason why the two entities won't work hand-in-hand more often.

Montopoli says there will be home games on the 2010 schedule for the Canadian men's national team. And even sooner, the CSA is working on more games on foreign soil for this calendar year.

Another issue pressed to the forefront last week was the decision by up-and-coming Canadian goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to represent Bosnia, instead of Canada, at the senior level.

According to Montopoli, the CSA spoke to Begovic and let him know the plans for the CSA and how he fit into the equation.

The problem isn't that Begovic decided to play for Bosnia. It's that he received Canadian funding in the anticipation he would grow into being a full Canadian international.

"He accepted Elite Athletic Carding and you'd expect him to fulfill his commitment to the men's senior team," Montopoli said. "It's very disappointing."

De Rosario in the Grill

Tomorrow on Casino Rama Grill Room on Sun TV, I go one-on-one with Canadian international and Toronto FC striker/midfielder Dwayne De Rosario.

GARETH.WHEELER@SUNTV.CANOE.CA


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