National program shameful

Canada's Josh Simpson (right) fights for the ball with Guadeloupe's Thomas Gamiette during Gold Cup...

Canada's Josh Simpson (right) fights for the ball with Guadeloupe's Thomas Gamiette during Gold Cup action in Tampa, Fla. on June 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Scott Audette)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

LONDON, ONT. - It's taken a week for my blood to stop boiling.

Three times I attempted to write this column but the anger spilled out to the point where it was impossible to do anything.

Canada had been eliminated from the 2011 Gold Cup tournament with the kind of effort that can only be described as dreadful and uninspiring.

Canada played three games, scored two goals, both on debatable penalties and in general showed little in the way of football advancement.

If only Canada had a team like Guadeloupe.

Yes, it has come to that.

What's infuriating is that as football fans, we were promised so much more by this Canadian team and wound up getting dreck.

What drove some of us around the bend was the fact that despite falling flat on its face again, the Canadian men's team accepted it with embarrassing simplicity as if someone had seen something that offered us anything other than more misery for the future.

Some players even had the nerve to say they felt they were competitive and deserved a better fate in the Gold Cup.

Against the major soccer power Guadeloupe, Canada was up a man for most of the game, only managed to score one goal on a penalty and wound up giving up a tying goal in added time to be eliminated.

Get your heads out of the sand boys. You deserve what you got.

Then again, it seems this lack of reality pretty much works its way through the entire national team structure.

Check out under-17 coach Sean Fleming who has his team playing in the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Canada lost its first game.

"I don't think it was a 3-0 game," said Canadian head coach Sean Fleming. "I don't feel it was a fair result because I feel we created some great chances, especially in the first half. I feel that we were keeping the ball and creating our chances."

Funny, the standings have the result as a 3-0 loss so I guess fairness doesn't count for points.

There is no hope for Canada if the men in charge of our football program believe we are heading in the right direction.

The question most often asked is what is wrong with our national team program and you can pick among a long list. Coaching, money, dedication and open-mindedness are just a few.

The most obvious though is that we don't produce enough soccer talents.

Look at the coaching at all levels. We want to ensure our coaches have certificates that prove they can spend hours thinking about whether their team plays 4-4-2, 4-5-1, 4-3-2-1. They do this at all age levels.

This isn't a math test, it's a game.

When you take a 1-0 lead, pull out that striker and insert a defensive midfielder because you want to defend for the last half hour and not get scored on in the last five minutes.

Good teams with talent can afford to do that. Lousy teams with minimal talent like Canada, can't.

There was a time not that long ago when Canadian hockey was so results-oriented that systems were taught before skills. What suffered in the end were the results.

Give a kid a soccer ball and let him go. Give an adult a soccer ball and let him go. You may be surprised what comes of it.

twitter.com/MoDaCoatLFPress


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